The Ecumenical Patriarchate was visited on 22 May, 2021, by Her Excellency Dr. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Member of the European Parliament and Co-Chairman of the Board of COVAX, an abbreviation for COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, an initiative begun in April 2020 by the WHO, the European Commission and the government of France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVAX coordinates international resources to enable low-to-middle-income countries equitable access to COVID-19 tests, therapies and vaccines.
Ms. Zacharopoulou was warmly received by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with whom she had a long discussion on issues related to world health and in particular the mechanism for equal access to vaccination to protect citizens from poor countries. In this regard, she expressed the belief that a joint appeal by Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and other religious leaders to the heads of states and governments of the G-20 countries to raise awareness would be useful.
His All-Holiness congratulated Ms. Zacharopoulou on this important initiative, stressing, at the same time, that a similar statement has already been recently signed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the central message “no one is safe until we are all safe”. Present also at the meeting was His Eminence Senior Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon.