The Diocese of Durham has partnered with aid and development charity Christian Aid to give people an opportunity to give thanks for their Covid-19 vaccine and help others in crisis across the world.

Recognising the deep sense of relief and gratitude experienced by many people after being vaccinated, the two organisations have come together to enable people to pass the blessing on by making a donation to Christian Aid’s Coronavirus Appeal.

Funds from the appeal are helping vulnerable communities around the world access soap, water, food and vital health information in the face of the pandemic. Many communities around the world face an uncertain wait for a vaccine as questions remain around the cost and timing of a global vaccine programme.

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, who received his first vaccination at the newly open centre in Durham said:

“The vaccine is bringing with it a deep sense of relief and hope for families across the UK and increasingly we see that many people want to express their gratitude by reaching out to others.

“While the pandemic affects all of us, it has highlighted the deep disparities in how communities and families are able to protect themselves both within our country and around the world.

“My hope is that people will give generously to the work of Christian Aid from a place of thanksgiving and a desire to see all people being able to live safely.  Whether people can give just a few pounds or a much larger sum, it will be an opportunity to share hope and love with our brothers and sisters across the world who do not have the benefits we have.”

Christian Aid partners have so far directly helped over half a million people in 27 countries including distributing food packages to nearly 60,000 people struggling to feed their families after losing work during the lockdown and the economic downturn.

Going forwards, Christian Aid will support vaccination programmes in communities by providing data on hard-to-reach populations to local health services and by working with trusted community figures to challenge misleading information about the virus and vaccination as well as any stigma faced by those who contract Covid-19.

Christian Aid’s Head of Community Fundraising and Public Engagement Chine McDonald said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that none of us is safe until all of us are safe. It has been amazing to see the speed at which the vaccines have been rolled out in the UK – every jab in someone’s arm brings us closer to the end of Covid-19.

“But the reality is that richer countries like ours are getting more access to vaccines, while the poorer countries in which Christian Aid works are left at the back of the queue. As a Christian organisation, we believe that every person is equal in the sight of God and worthy of living lives with dignity, equality and justice.

“We’re delighted to work together with the Diocese of Durham to give people an opportunity to say thanks and help protect our global neighbours while the vaccine is out of reach.”

The appeal launch comes after nearly two-thirds of people asked in a UK poll agreed that a global COVID-19 vaccine programme should be created which does not prioritise richer countries over poorer ones.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents to the survey commissioned by Christian Aid said they wanted to see countries working together to create a global COVID-19 vaccine programme that would not prioritise developed countries over developing countries. Only 11% disagreed.

You can donate to the Diocese of Durham’s appeal by visiting https://events.tapsimple.org/page/christian-aid/giving-thanks-for-our-vaccines-in-the-diocese-of-durham

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