World YMCA support for Covid vaccination – in theory and in practice

Date: 05 August 2021

In early February 2021, World YMCA stated on behalf of the global YMCA Movement that every person should have the right to accurate information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, and called for the vaccine to be freely and equally available to all.

In July 2021, it carried out research among a third of its membership, to see how the statement was being enacted in practice.

It found that very nearly 50% of the national YMCA Movements were providing (or were about to provide) vaccine education, facilities for vaccination and Covid testing, and vaccine-related support services like transportation or help with online registration. A smaller percentage, some 40%, were or would be actively engaged in providing advocacy and support services for the equitable distribution of vaccines.

‘I find this research revealing and significant’, says World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee.  ‘It shows that we care passionately about vaccine equity – but that we don’t always have the capacity or even the will to put that care into practice.  In part, that’s because there are limits to what we can do on our premises, in comparison with national health services better equipped than us.

‘My biggest encouragement from the survey is that national and local YMCAs are helping and speaking about COVID vaccination to their constituencies – literally thousands of communities and millions of people, including young people and vulnerable people – and providing all the information they can.’

‘And my biggest concern revealed by the research is that YMCAs around the world are reporting that they see low vaccine turnout and increased vaccine hesitancy.’

‘We will continue to tell stories of YMCAs who are active players in making the January 2021 statement a reality, in August 2021 and beyond.’

Read the global YMCA vaccination survey here

Read how YMCAs around the world are supporting the global vaccination rollout here