Cookstown grandmother flags up injustice of Covid-19 vaccines

Soap and water are among the few defences that people in low income countries have against the spread of Covid-19 until vaccines become more widely available.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 11:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 12:56 pm

Cookstown grandmother and Christian Aid supporter Nora Gibson recently got her vaccine jab and made a point of being pictured with her vaccination card and bar of soap to illustrate the gap between rich and poor.

So far, over 100 countries have not started the vaccine roll out, including nine of the 10 African countries in which Christian Aid works.

A recent Savanta ComRes poll carried out for Christian Aid found that nearly two-thirds of people in Northern Ireland want poorer countries to be prioritised equally by a global coronavirus vaccine programme.

Christian Aid supporter Nora Gibson with a bar of soap and her vaccine card.

Nora, a grandmother of five, has been a member of the Cookstown Christian Aid Committee for many years.

She and her husband Tom are semi-retired farmers from Tullyweary, near Cookstown and they attend Brigh Presbyterian Church. In a normal year, Nora would be taking her turn to help organise the Lent soup lunches held in the town to raise funds for the charity.

The lunches and other fundraising events enable the Cookstown committee to raise around £8,000 per year but coronavirus restrictions have meant a steep decline in fundraising.

Nora is worried: “Last year, only three of the six Lent lunches took place before lockdown was introduced and this year they’ve all been cancelled. Last year’s house-to-house collection was cancelled too and although the hope is that it can go ahead this year, restrictions may still be in place in May.

“But coronavirus and climate change are making poverty even worse for millions of people, so I would ask everybody to give what they can to help.”

Christian Aid Ireland’s Chief Executive, Rosamond Bennett said: “This is not a time to hoard but a time to share. It is very worrying that as richer countries secure enough doses to vaccinate their citizens several times over, developing countries are at the back of the queue for the roll-out. Vaccines must be made available to everyone, everywhere, free of charge.”

Christian Aid has responded to the coronavirus pandemic in 27 countries which are also coping with extreme poverty.

As well as raising awareness of how to keep safe from coronavirus, Christian Aid has handed out soap to around 250,000 vulnerable people to help keep them safe from the virus.

The charity has also given food packages to nearly 60,000 people struggling to feed their families after losing work following lockdown.

To support Christian Aid’s work while vaccines remain out of reach for the world’s poorest people, please call 028 9064 8133 or visit www.caid.ie/coronavirus-appeal

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