Tanzania, home to 66, 744 baptized members of Kanisa la Mennonite Tanzania, less than one percent of the population has received vaccination protection against COVID-19.
Mennonite World Conference is calling on its members around the world to love their neighbours by donating to UNICEF’s campaign to share coronavirus vaccinations around the world.
While some countries are removing health restrictions, allowing vaccinated citizens to resume economic and leisure activities, others like Tanzania do not have enough supply to vaccinate their health care workers. This leaves the population vulnerable to illness and risks health care worker shortages. Some data models project it could take until 2024 to vaccinate the entire world population.
“The world has a lot of COVID-19 vaccines, but currently less than 1 percent of global supply is reaching people in low-income countries,” UNICEF reports. UNICEF aims to distribute 2 billion doses in more than 180 countries before the end of 2021. Through the global agreement known as COVAX, UNICEF, in collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, has been entrusted to lead vaccine delivery.
Donations to UNICEF cover costs of purchasing and distributing the vaccines, including transportation, cold chain protection, health worker training and safe disposal of waste.
In Canada, more than 70 percent of adults have received at least one vaccine dose. Aware of their privilege, leaders at Hagerman Mennonite Church, in Markham, Ont., created a vaccination project to help multiply funding for more vaccinations worldwide.
“Our first step is to encourage our congregation to make personal donations,” says Andrew Reesor-McDowell, church member. These donations are matched both by Hagerman Mennonite and the Government of Canada.
“We felt it was important to try [to] contribute where we can to this vaccine gap between Canada and poorer countries,” says Andrew Reesor-McDowell.
Mennonite World Conference joins with other faith-based organizations to call its members to share vaccines around the highly interconnected world by donating to the UN’s vaccination program through UNICEF.
“The story of Cain and Abel teaches us about the deep relationship of brotherhood and sisterhood that exists among all human beings (Genesis 4:7-10). The shepherd and the farmer, though they express different ways of relating to God, are relatives,” says César García, MWC general secretary. “This global pandemic challenges God’s invitation for us to take care of all humanity: are we going to consider the wellness of others over our interests?”
To join this effort, find a link to donate in your country. Where available, select Mennonite World Conference as your affiliated organization.
—Updated Aug. 30, 2021