December 13, 2021


Ambassador Dacio Castillo, Chair, The General Council

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General

The World Trade Organization

Centre William Rappard

Rue de Lausanne, 154

Case postale

1211 Genève 2


Dear Ambassador Castillo and Dr. Okonjo Iweala:

The undersigned religious organizations wish to express our deep concerns over the year-long delay in approving the temporary TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organization. Waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines should be treated as an urgent matter. Approving TRIPS waiver would remove a critical barrier to enabling widespread manufacturing of vaccines on a scale needed to quell the pandemic, lower costs and ensure equal access. We join South Africa, India, and more than 100 countries to call for its immediate approval. Our lives are intertwined. Making COVID-19 vaccines accessible to all should be regarded as part of a race to save all of humanity. This is the humane and moral step to take without further delay.

The Omicron variant demonstrates again that we cannot defeat COVID-19 until people on every continent worldwide are vaccinated, and the virus can no longer readily adapt, mutate, and spread. Therefore, we must fulfill the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the total global population by the end of next year. To do so, we urge members of the World Trade Organization to prioritize human lives over profits and take every step necessary to approve the TRIPS waiver to facilitate the mass production of vaccines globally. Additionally, we call urgent distribution of the new COVID-19 medication and other diagnostics tools worldwide. There is no reason to delay acting immediately. The cancellation of the WTO Ministerial due to the emergence of the Omicron variant should act as a clarion call to action

Almost two years after its emergence, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, taking the lives of over five million people, straining human and material resources, and causing pain and suffering on every continent. COVID-19 is impervious to borders, wealth, or level of development. Ending the COVID-19 pandemic requires that we shun historical practices that marginalize low-income countries while giving access to high-income countries. Most nations where many citizens cannot access vaccines—including multiple countries in Africa, Asia and South America—are largely home to people of color. Rich nations that have vaccinated more than half of their populations should not rest easy until we as a global community are all equally protected. The hesitation to make the vaccine available impacts everyone. The failure to make vaccines accessible to all has already generated the Omicrom and Delta variants making it impossible to sustain the gains made with vaccines. The current inflation taking place in countries such as the US is just one sign that the slow-paced response to COVID-19, including the refusal to share and transfer vaccine technology, is detrimental to the global economy

To save millions of lives and stop the unfolding economic catastrophe, we urge you to approve the TRIPS waiver which will allow more companies to manufacture life-saving vaccines globally. As a global faith community concerned about the health of vulnerable people worldwide, we support immediate approval of this temporary waiver as a life saving measure. We know that the few companies producing vaccines cannot manufacture enough vaccines in time to protect billions of people, but if we share the information required for production, more companies can be equipped to create vaccines that will reach more people. Vaccines donations alone will not end the pandemic.

We represent diverse faith communities with the shared value that the lives of all persons — young or old, all colors and genders, indigenous or migrant, laborer, or CEO — are equally beloved and that it is our responsibility to ensure the preservation and dignity of all equally. Furthermore, as people of faith, we believe it is our moral responsibility to save all lives and that such action is within your grasp.

Sincerely, the undersigned:

AbibiNsroma Foundation

ACT Alliance

All Africa Conference of Churches

Africa Faith and Justice Network

American Friends Services Committee, Africa Region

All Africa Conference of Churches

Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT)

Alliance of Baptists

American Friends Service Committee, US Office

Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (USA)

Awen Publications

Barnes Findley Foundation, Inc.

Braun's Casting

Bread for the World, USA

Calvary Baptist Church

Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)

Center for Health and Hope

Center for Values in International Development

Centre Afrika

Child Way Uganda

Christian Aid

Christians for Social Action

Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

Church Women United DC Unit

Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Comboni Missionaries

Comite Interreligioso de Honduras (CIH)

Common Spirit Health

Congregation de Notre Dame

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Conseil National des Religions pour la Paix/RDC

COREM- Council of Religions of Mozambique

Council of Religions for Peace in Mozambique


Église du Christianisme Céleste de Côte d’Ivoire

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Executive Minister of Connected Engagement, Baltimore Washington Conference, The United Methodist Church

Faith in Public Life

Federation of Jain Associations in North America - Jaina

Focsiv Italian federation christian organisations voluntary international service

Freedom Road, LLC

Friends in Solidarity, Inc. (with South Sudan)

Friends of Canon Gideon Foundation (FOCAGIFO)

Friends Revival Ministries


Gandhi Development Trust

Ghana Conference of Religions for Peace

Ginter Park Presbyterian Church

Global Justice Institute of Metropolitan Community Churches

Hyattstown Christian Christian Church

Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences

Indonesia for Global Justice

Interreligious Council of Albania

Islamic Centre of Myanmar

Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

Islamic Supreme Council of Zambia

Juba Foundation

Judson Memorial Church

Justice and Peace Team, Edgewood United Church, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

La Iglesia del Pueblo-Kairos Center

Lake Oconee Community Church

Le Regroupement pour la Responsabilité Sociale des Entreprises (RRSE)

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Mishkan Shalom

Muslim leader, Sacred Justice

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Council of Churches USA

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

NC Conference of the United Methodist Church


North Carolina Council of Churches

Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment

One More Percent

Pax Christi USA

Phoenix Settlement Trust

Plateforme de la Diaspora Tchadienne en Amerique (PDT-America)

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Ravensworth Baptist Church

Religion for Peace - Bénin

Religions for Peace Bangladesh

Religions for Peace Pakistan

Religions for Peace Philippines

Religions for Peace South Africa

Religions for Peace USA

Religions For Peace South Africa

Religions for Peace UK

S Lipson Counseling

SCIAF (Caritas Scotland)

Self employed Christian

Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth

Socially Responsible Investment Coalition


Sophia House

Tabernacle United Church

The Grail in the US

The Grail/Academy of Literacy

The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society

U.S. Catholic Mission Association

Uganda Friends Church

United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

University Presbyterian Church

Uplifting women in East Africa

World Council of Churches

CC: Heads of Delegations, The World Trade Organization