Twenty-five homeless people have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Holy See Press Office said on Wednesday, January 20.
Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, said that more of the poor will be inoculated in the coming days. He added that currently, they are prioritizing residents of shelters for the homeless around Rome.
According to the Vatican, the members of the first group to receive the vaccine are residents of Palazzo Migliori— the newest shelter in the City. They are men and women over the age of 60, who are vulnerable to COVID-19 due to serious health problems.
“We thank the Pope for the gift he’s given us,” Mario, a resident of the Palazzo Migliori, told Vatican News. “Now I have added security.”
Help for the Homeless
Pope Francis has always been very vocal about his desire to have everyone, including the poor and the homeless, vaccinated against COVID-19. (Read: Caritas PH Joins Pope Francis’ Call for COVID-19 Vaccine ‘for All’) This is why as early as January 13, the Vatican has already rolled out its mass vaccination efforts for residents and employees.
Carlo Santoro, who has been coordinating the vaccination initiative for homeless people, has witnessed the positive effect of the inoculation for the poor first-hand.
“Even if the importance of this gesture was not immediately clear to all of them, it will be a liberation for them because the only hope for getting out of this pandemic is to be vaccinated,” Santoro said. (Read: Task Force Names Priority Areas for COVID-19 Vaccination)
He also added that while many of the residents were afraid of the vaccine and of needles, they also know there have been cases of COVID-19 in the shelters.
Office of Papal Charities
The Office of Papal Charities, led by the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, has been on the ground assisting the people being vaccinated in the Vatican.
Over the course of the pandemic, the Office has been actively bringing the Pope’s help to the neediest of the poor. As a matter of fact, in Christmas alone, the Office provided 4,000 Covid-19 swab tests for the homeless in Rome. Medicines, masks, and respirators were also donated worldwide. (Read: Vatican donates 700,000 masks to China amidst coronavirus outbreak)