The Vatican Director of Health and Hygiene, Dr. Andrea Arcangeli, announced that coronavirus vaccines are scheduled to arrive in Vatican City next week.
According to Dr. Arcangeli, the Vatican has purchased a low-temperature refrigerator to store the vaccine and expects to begin administering vaccinations in the second half of January in the atrium of Paul VI Hall. Health and public safety personnel will be given priority as well as the elderly and those who are frequently in contact with the public. (Read: LOOK: Doctors Warn About Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccine)
Dr. Arcangeli added that the vaccine doses expected to arrive in the second week of January will cover the needs of the Holy See and the Vatican City State. The Vatican, the world’s smallest independent state, has a population of around 800 people. However, when counted together with the Holy See, it employs almost 5000 people. (Read: Three Fascinating Facts about the Vatican)
In the first months of 2021, Dr. Arcangeli said that the Pfizer vaccine will be made available to Vatican City residents, employees, and their family members over the age of 18.
“We believe it is very important that even in our small community a vaccination campaign against the virus responsible for COVID-19 is started as soon as possible,” he said.
“In fact, only through widespread immunization of the population can real benefits in terms of public health be obtained to gain control of the pandemic.” (Read: What Is ‘Herd Immunity’ and How Can It Beat the Pandemic?)
The vaccinations will be provided on a voluntary basis. However, it was not disclosed whether Pope Francis will be administered the vaccine.
COVID-19 in the Vatican
Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, a total of 27 people have tested positive in the Vatican. Among them, at least 11 members of the Swiss Guard tested positive for the coronavirus. (Read: 167 Catholic Priests Succumb to COVID-19 Since February)
Pope Francis has repeatedly appealed to international leaders to grant the poor access to vaccines against the coronavirus which has claimed more than 1.8 million lives worldwide as of January 2.