Rome, December 27: Pope Francis, the religious authority who commands the highest respect among faithful Catholics, has welcomed the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine in Italy. In a statement issued from a library in Vatican on Sunday, the Pope said he appreciates the steps taken to launch the vaccination drive in the country.
The Pope, while briefly mentioning that he welcomed the arrival of vaccine, stressed on the role played by medics during his press address. He lauded the role played by COVID-19 frontline workers, particularly the nurses and doctors who risked their own lives to save those infected with the contagious disease. EU Begins COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout, Historic Day in Fight Against Virus Across Europe.
The Pope called upon the faithful to pray for "the doctors, nurses and health care professionals on the front lines, whose commitment to fight the coronavirus has had important repercussions on family life.”
The Vatican, meanwhile, is yet to reveal the plans on inoculating the Pope with the vaccine against coronavirus. The revered religious figure has so far not disclosed whether he would be receiving the doses.
The Vatican, however, would launch its own vaccination campaign next month. All citizens, employees and their families would be inoculated with the shots from January onwards. Children under 18 would be exempted, as the vaccine has not been cleared for minors.
The first vaccine shots in Italy were provided to three nurses at Rome’s Spallanzani hospital at 7 am today. The country has so far approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and is expected to clear the Moderna candidate in the days to come.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is also hopeful of regulatory clearance by the European Medicines Agency shortly. Along with Italy, the vaccination drive began today in all parts of Europe. Top officials of the EU said the rollout of vaccine could mark the start of the "end of pandemic".