Pope Francis received the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 this morning, informed Vatican sources told America, but the Vatican press office has not yet confirmed this officially. The 84-year-old pope will receive the second dose in about three weeks.
The director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, told the press in a statement that “the campaign of vaccination against Covid-19 began this morning in the atrium of the Paul VI audience hall.” He said this was done “in accordance with what was already communicated by the Health and Hygiene Direction” of the Vatican City State. He did not give any further information.
The Vatican made photos available to the press of the specially prepared atrium where Vatican first responders, employees and their family members, as well as retired cardinals and officials, will receive the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine.
In an interview broadcast on Italian television last Sunday, Pope Francis announced that he had registered to receive the vaccine and said, “I believe that everyone should receive the vaccine; it is an ethical option because your health, your life is at stake and also you are putting at stake the life of others.” He added: “Next week we will begin to do it in the Vatican, and I have reserved a place. I will receive it.”
Three Vatican cardinals have been infected with the Covid-19: Cardinals Luis Tagle, Giuseppe Bertello and Konrad Krajweski. Other Vatican officials, both clerics and lay people, have also been infected, as well as members of the Swiss Guards, but their names have not been revealed for reasons of privacy. Italian cardinals have also been infected including Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti (now fully recovered) and Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe.