Vatican City to start coronavirus vaccinations in January

Vatican City to start coronavirus vaccinations in January

A view of St. Peter’s Basilica from Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. PHOTO BY JOHN LUIS GUADES, CMF

By Courtney Mares

Catholic News Agency

December 16, 2020

VATICAN— Vatican City will begin to offer coronavirus vaccinations in January, according to the Vatican director of health and hygiene.

“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,” Dr. Andrea Arcangeli, head of the Vatican health service, told Vatican News.

“In fact, only through widespread and widespread immunization of the population can real benefits in terms of public health be obtained to gain control of the pandemic.”

The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be made available to Vatican City residents, employees and their family members over the age of 18 in the first months of 2021.

Arcangeli said that the Pfizer vaccine was chosen because it is the only vaccine currently in the process of obtaining approval by the European and American health authorities. He added that later other vaccines produced by different methods may be introduced after evaluating their effectiveness and safety.

“It is understandable that there may be fears for a vaccine that has been developed in such a short time, but very rigorous safety tests have been carried out and there are assurances given by the world health authorities that before granting marketing authorization they conduct very rigorous studies,” he said.

Vatican City State, the world’s smallest independent nation-state, has a population of only around 800 people, but together with the Holy See, the sovereign entity that predates it, it employed 4,618 people in 2019.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, a total of 27 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Vatican City State. Among them, at least 11 members of the Swiss Guard tested positive for the coronavirus.

In October a person living at the pope’s residence in Vatican City, Casa Santa Marta, tested positive and was placed in isolation.

Italy has recorded the most coronavirus deaths in Europe, with 65,011 COVID-19 deaths recorded by the Italian Ministry of Health as of Dec. 14.

Nearly 29,000 people have died of coronavirus in Italy since Sept. 1.

The average age of Italy’s victims is around 80, according to AP, which noted that 65% of Italy’s coronavirus dead had three or more other health problems before testing positive.

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