Vicar's campaign to 'share hope' by getting vaccines to poorer countries
- Credit: TIM ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY
Across the globe, the coronavirus pandemic has affected millions in unprecedented ways.
So, when news of a vaccine was announced, the world could breathe a sigh of relief for the immediate future.
But one woman from west Norfolk, who was prompted by a worrying news report, decided she wanted to help further afield.
King’s Lynn vicar, the Rev Becca Rogers, was inspired to set up a fund-raising campaign to help people in low-income countries access the Covid-19 vaccine.
The 39-year-old, of North Lynn, explained how important it was.
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“I knew that there had been a lot of talk about the importance of keeping the cost of the vaccine low so everyone can access it.," she said.
“I heard in a recent news report, the director-general of the World Health Organisation, warning of a ‘catastrophic moral failure’.
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"He warned that in the scramble for the vaccine, poorer countries were missing out. I looked into this more and discovered that just 14pc of countries owned 53pc of available vaccines.
"I’m sure, like me, you are hugely grateful that your loved ones will be receiving the Covid vaccine soon.
"Some already may have had it. What is sure, is that by the end of the year, everyone in the UK will have been offered this potentially life-saving treatment, so that we can go back to doing the things we love.
"Tragically, this is not true for millions of people in the world.”
Inspired by a desire to help fill the gap of inequality, she decided to set up a JustGiving page urging others to donate the cost of a vaccine.
Currently, the Astra-Zeneca vaccine costs between £5 and £10 for two doses.
The initial target was to raise £2,000, a goal which she described as “ambitious”, but the amount has now exceeded £5,500 which could fund a potential 550 vaccines.
She added: “I know how much hope the vaccine is bringing to our country, and I wanted to share that hope around the world.
"I loved the idea that we can build on people’s positivity about the vaccine, and awareness that we are so privileged to have it so soon, to invite people to donate and enable others to access it too.
“I started discussing this with others locally, over Facebook. One friend said ‘I would happily pay for my vaccine as I’m fortunate enough to be able to do so’, and the idea sprang from there.
"We could ask people to consider donating when they receive their vaccine, or in thanks for someone close to them receiving it.”
St John the Evangelist church, and North Lynn Methodist church, in King’s Lynn, welcomed Rev Rogers as their new priest back in 2015 when her family moved to Norfolk from Liverpool, where she combined her role as a curate at a lively family church with University Chaplain. Prior to this, she was at a theological college in Cambridge.
Previous roles have also included working as a teaching assistant at a school for teenagers with learning difficulties.
“The pandemic has been really hard,” she said.
“At the church, we are so good at getting people together and bringing people together, but through these times we’ve had to think of new ways to keep each other connected and engaged.
“We used to host events such as weekly services and community cafes but we’ve had to launch church services online and do weekly deliveries of letters – there are still a lot of people who aren’t online.
“So, we’re trying to do as much as we can to help.”
As well as thriving in her position serving the community, she is also keen as an individual to help better the world, which is why she is grateful for the support of others during her recent fundraisers.
“It’s quite a wonderful thing when you think about it.”
She is also a keen walker and enjoys exploring the Norfolk coast with her husband Tim, a self-employed photographer and videographer, and their Patterdale terrier, George.
To donate visit the JustGiving page.