During his Wednesday morning general audience last week, Pope Francis spoke on the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine, saying we should “plan the treatment of viruses by prioritizing those who are most in need.”

“On the one hand, it is essential to find a cure for this small but terrible virus, which has brought the whole world to its knees. On the other, we must also cure a larger virus, that of social injustice, inequality of opportunity, marginalization, and the lack of protection for the weakest.”

His comments come after a World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus warned that some countries may hoard vaccines last Tuesday.

Pope Francis lamented that it would be “sad” if the priority for the vaccine was given to the “richest”, or if it became “the property of this nation or another.”

He instead called for a potential coronavirus vaccine to be made “universal and for all.”

“What a scandal it would be if all the economic assistance we are observing – most of it with public money – were to focus on rescuing those industries that do not contribute to the inclusion of the excluded, the promotion of the least, the common good or the care of creation. There are criteria for choosing which industries should be helped: those which contribute to the inclusion of the excluded, to the promotion of the last, to the common good and the care of creation. Four criteria.”

He ended his address with a prophetic message, saying if coronavirus “were to intensify again in a world that is unjust to the poor and vulnerable, then we must change this world.”

If we don’t change the world, he said, “we will come out of the crisis worse.”

“May the Lord help us, and give us the strength to come out of it better, responding to the needs of today’s world.”

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