COVID Vaccination Challenges: Ethical Imperatives and Local Realities

Black man in scrubs flicking a syringe

February 24, 2021
4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. EST RSVP Required
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

As implementation of national and global COVID-19 vaccination campaigns moves into higher gear, there is much to learn from lived, ongoing experience of religious communities. These lessons have applications from very local to global situations, reaching from agendas of communities and congregations to the G20 leadership, placing new demands for cooperation and partnerships. Issues of equitable allocations and access, practical mechanisms to meet urgent and complex logistic challenges, communications about needs and process, and addressing doubts and fears are playing out in real time, as are relationships between government entities and religious communities. Religious roles are interwoven into each challenge, drawing on religious leaders as trusted messengers and on practical options such as offering vaccination sites.

This event linked local experiences to the broader COVID-19 emergencies. It focused on how local experience can give rise to global solutions, drawing on representative experiences in Washington, DC (home of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University), and in the western United States, a base of the G20 Interfaith Forum. It built on ongoing explorations of faith responses to the COVID-19 emergencies, highlighting the importance of faith engagement especially in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Mohamed Elsanousi, part of a U.S. nationwide interreligious coalition focused on the urgent COVID-19 vaccination campaign, outlined that effort. Sharon Eubank, who leads Latter-day Saint Charities, highlighted local dimensions of the crisis in the western United States and how this has led to links with global humanitarian operations. Close to home Berkley Center Senior Research Fellow Rev. Gerard McGlone, S.J., spoke to the experience of Georgetown's Jesuit community. The discussion explored both emerging lessons and how they might apply globally, in a context where "no one is safe until everyone is safe." Berkley Center Senior Fellow Katherine Marshall moderated the conversation.

This event was co-sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University; G20 Interfaith Forum; International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University; Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose, Giovanni XXIII; World Faiths Development Dialogue; and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities.

This event was recorded and a captioned video will be posted to this page soon.

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Participants