Pope: Rich can’t get priority for vaccine, poor need help

Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Wednesday warned against any prospect that rich people would get priority for a coronavirus vaccine.

"The pandemic is a crisis. You don't come out of it the same — either better or worse,'' Francis said, adding improvised remarks to his planned speech for his weekly public audience.

“We must come out better” from the COVID-19 pandemic, the pope said.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the pope said, the world can’t return to normality if normal means social injustice and degradation of the natural environment.

Francis said: “How sad it would be if for the COVID-19 vaccine priority is given to the richest.”

“It would be sad if this vaccine were to become the property of this nation or another, rather than universal and for all," the pontiff added, without indicating any particular country.

He also said it would be scandalous if all the economic assistance in the works, most of it using public funds, ends up reviving industries that don’t help the poor or the environment.

“The pandemic has laid bare the difficult situation of the poor and the great inequality that reigns in the world,'' the pope said in his speech. ”And the virus, while it doesn't make exceptions among persons, has found in its path, devastating, great inequalities and discrimination," Francis said, adding “and it has increased them.