Pope Francis and his predecessor vaccinated against Covid-19
Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI have been administered the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine coronavirus vaccine, the Vatican announced on Thursday.
The Argentine pontiff, 84, previously emphasised the importance of getting vaccinated against the deadly virus.
Under the Vatican's vaccination programme launched on Wednesday, “the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has been administered to Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
In an interview broadcast at the weekend, Francis urged people to get the vaccine. “There is a suicidal denial which I cannot explain, but today we have to get vaccinated,” he told Canale 5.
The Vatican in December said it was "morally acceptable" for Catholics even where the vaccines had been developed using cell lines from aborted foetuses.
In his Christmas message last year, Francis urged, “Vaccines for all, especially the most vulnerable and most in need in all regions of the planet.”
The Argentine has been forced to limit his interaction with the public since the virus first swept Italy early last year, switching his weekly Wednesday audiences online.
Francis admitted that his landmark trip to Iraq, planned for March, could be in doubt due to the pandemic. “I cannot in all conscience encourage gatherings.”
Francis’ vaccination is being welcomed by all, considering his age and his history of lung problems, as he had almost died at 21 after developing pleurisy, according to biographer Austen Ivereigh, and had part of one of his lungs removed.
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