Voices from around the world speak about the Covid experience. We need vaccination for all. My Thought for the Day on BBC Scotland yesterday
Covid has changed the lives of all of us – constraints on what we can do, anxiety and, for too many, painful bereavement.
We focus on the figures and statistics – including of course the hopeful vaccination figures. But we need to hear the voices and the lived experience of people – and not just in our relatively hopeful context.
I was fortunate to travel a lot as a church leader – I have friends and contacts in many places. I listen to their voices. From Brazil, where there have been 16 million cases and nearly half a million deaths, a friend says – ‘it’s sad to hear at an increasing pace news that people we know, including friends and relatives, are dying because of the virus
Another in South Africa said, ‘We used to hear figures and now we know names’
And from a children’s HIV/Aids Hospice in Kolkata, India, which I have visited, and which people in our church support – they tell me: ‘All the children live in communal spaces meaning the spread of Covid could be severe. Every child is affected by HIV meaning they are immuno-suppressed’
I’ve now had both my jags. It was a good moment – a slight ‘lump in the throat experience – a time to be thankful for what science can do. But another voice said, ‘None of us is safe until everybody is safe’
The virus mutates and the variants spread – Kent, India and now Nepal. The policy of trying to determine which places are safe enough for us to visit on holiday is now chaotic. In those very limited terms, nowhere is 100% safe.
There is a logistical challenge about how we vaccinate the world population. It will be discussed at the G7 meeting this week. It is also a conceptual, moral and spiritual challenge. The question to Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbour’ can have only one answer in this case – it’s everyone and everywhere. It’s now also the question for us.