Vatican provides covid-19 vaccine to 1,200 of Rome's poor and homeless

Vatican allows people to pay for covid-19 vaccine for a person in need.

The Vatican's charity office is ensuring that 1,200 of the poorest people in Rome have the chance to be vaccinated against covid-19, in response to Pope Francis' repeated appeals that nobody be excluded from the vaccine campaign.

The vaccinations will take place during the Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday and will be coordinated by the papal almsgiver Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who recently recovered from covid-19 after spending Christmas in hospital.

The Vatican stated that the most vulnerable and marginalised people will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the same vaccine received by the pope and employees of the Holy See.

The vaccines will be administered at a facility inside the Paul VI Auditorium by health workers attached to the Vatican's mobile health clinic in St Peter's Square as well as volunteers from Rome's Spallanzani Hospital, a specialist centre for infectious diseases which has played a central role in battling Italy's covid-19 crisis.

The Vatican statement describes the vaccine programme as a chance to "share the wonder of charity towards our poorest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters, and to give them the opportunity to access treatment and vaccination,” reports Vatican News.

In January Pope Francis said on Italian television: "I believe that ethically everyone must take the vaccine. It is an ethical duty, because you risk your health, your life, but you also play with the lives of others."

The Vatican is also giving the faithful the chance to pay for a vaccine for a person in need through an online donation scheme, via the pope’s charity account.

The Italian media is describing this initiative as a "vaccino sospeso," similar to the Neapolitan caffè sospeso tradition of a customer paying for an additional coffee to be enjoyed later by a total stranger who cannot afford it.

Cardinal Krajewski told Crux that the process of vaccinating homeless people was not easy, due to legal reasons, but added: "We have to lead by an example of love. Law is something that is of help, but our guide is the Gospel.”

Photo Vatican Media