The Global Church’s Mission for the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

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Gavi director: Christian involvement with HIV, Ebola should inspire coronavirus engagement.

This Advent, Christian global health professionals feel deeply the longing and expectation characteristic of the season amid the preparation for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. While our world awaits the end of the pandemic and the darkness feels very present, the hope of some reprieve shifted toward realization when healthcare workers in the UK and then the US and Canada received the Pfizer vaccine in the last two weeks. Approvals of two other viable vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca are expected soon. Yet as Christian professionals work to improve health for the most vulnerable, a swirl of controversies and logistical challenges to delivering the vaccine clutter the way.

Thabani Maphosa, who oversees vaccine distribution for low- and middle-income countries around the world through his role at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, views his responsibility in light of the experiences God has seen him through. As a child growing up in Zimbabwe, Maphosa suffered from bilharzia (schistosomiasis) because of the quality of the water and also survived measles, which is a leading cause of death for children under five in Africa.

“Every time I think about how good Christ has been to me personally, I cannot ever think of how I can repay him,” he said, referencing Luke 12:48. “There is so much I can give back because of the gift of life that I have. … I do it in recognition of those around me who are still struggling through this.”

Martha Newsome, president of Medical Teams International, met Maphosa while working at World Vision in Johannesburg, South Africa. She recently interviewed him for CT about how the church can be involved as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available globally, particularly as the …

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