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The Vatican’s Office of Papal Charities administer COVID-19 vaccinations to 1,200 of Rome’s poor during Holy Week, beginning on March 26. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines were purchased by the Vatican or donated by Rome’s Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital.
The news was announced in a statement from the office’s head, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, which said the operation would take place in the atrium of the Vatican’s St. Paul VI audience hall, where Vatican employees have been vaccinated since mid-January.
Cardinal Krajewski’s office also called on people to make a donation online at www.elemosineria.va to fund more vaccinations of “our poorest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters.”
Before any vaccines had been developed, Pope Francis advocated vaccinating the poorest members of society first.
In a video address to the United Nations in September he urged rich countries not to hoard the vaccine, and to find ways to get it to the poor across the world.
“If anyone should be given preference, let it be the poorest, the most vulnerable, those who so often experience discrimination because they have neither power nor economic resources,” he said.
At his traditional Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” blessing, the pope again called for the neediest to be prioritized: “I ask everyone — government leaders, businesses, international organizations — to foster cooperation and not competition, and to seek a solution for everyone: vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet. Before all others: the most vulnerable and needy!”
In January, both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI received first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, along with Vatican City residents, employees and their families. On January 20, the Vatican’s charitable agency vaccinated a group of 25 homeless people.
The Vatican’s vaccination program will be operated by docors and health care workers from the “Madre di Misericordia’ mobile health clinic for the poor, the Vatican health service, and Rome’s Lazzaro Spallanzi Hospital, according to a Catholic News Agency report.
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