After testing negative for COVID-10 this week, Pope Francis gave his traditional Christmas message urging political and business leaders not to allow market forces to overtake the priority of making COVID-19 vaccines available to all.
"I beg everyone, heads of state, companies and international organizations to promote cooperation and not competition, to find a solution for everyone - vaccines for all - especially for the most vulnerable and needy in all areas of the planet," said the Pope.
In his Christmas address known as Urbi et Orbi, or message to the world, Francis noted that health is an international issue.
"At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters," he said.
He said, "We are all in the same boat" and urged making vaccine treatment for all in an apparent criticism of what the World Health Organization chief Tedros Ghebreyesus has called "vaccine nationalism."
Usually, at Christmas, Pope Francis addresses tens of thousands of people from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica as he did in 2019.
But this year he spoke from a podium inside the Vatican due to the rampaging novel coronavirus.
Earlier in December, Britain was the world's first county to start giving residents a fully trialled and tested COVID-19 vaccine under supervision.
Nations such as the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Qatar,, Israel, Serbia and other followed. Russia said it had been been innoculating people before the United Kingodm.
"May the Son of God renew in political and government leaders a spirit of international cooperation, starting with health care so that all will be ensured access to vaccines and treatment," said Pope Francis in his message.
"In the face of a challenge that knows no borders, we cannot erect walls. All of us are in the same boat."
The Pope spoke up for people strongly affected by the outbreak.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
"May the Child of Bethlehem help us, then, to be generous, supportive and helpful, especially towards those who are vulnerable, the sick, those unemployed or experiencing hardship due to the economic effects of the pandemic, and women who have suffered domestic violence during these months of lockdown," the Pope said.
He also spoke about world conflict issues and called for peace and reconciliation in conflict areas like Syria, Yemen, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Sudan, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Iraq.
He specifically highlighted the plight of children caught up in war, DW reported citing AFP and Reuters.
"On this day, when the word of God became a child, let us turn our gaze to the many, all too many, children worldwide, especially in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, who still pay the high price of war," he said.
"May their faces touch the consciences of all men and women of goodwill so that the causes of conflicts can be addressed and courageous efforts can be made to build a future of peace."
Francis also asked to comfort those suffering in humanitarian crises or natural disasters in Burkina Fasso, Mali, Niger, the Philippines, and Vietnam.