Vatican to vaccinate 1,200 people in need during Holy Week

By Courtney Mares for CNA

Papal almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski with homeless people awaiting vaccinations in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican Jan. 20, 2021. Credit: Vatican Media.

CNA Staff, Mar 26, 2021 / 09:50 am (CNA).- The Vatican plans to vaccinate 1,200 people living in poverty during Holy Week with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The Office of Papal Charities is offering doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, purchased by the Holy See and offered by the Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital through the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, to “the poorest and most marginalized people who, because of their situation, are the most exposed to the virus,” according to a statement released March 26.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski oversees the Office of Papal Charities, the Vatican department that offers charitable assistance to the poor on behalf of the pope. Krajewski himself was hospitalized with COVID-19 for 10 days in December but recovered.

The papal almoner has also set up a webpage where people can sponsor the vaccination of a person in need through an online donation to the Office of Papal Charities.

The vaccine will be administered to the poor by volunteer medical workers in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, where Pope Francis and Vatican employees were vaccinated beginning in 2021.

This is the latest step in the Vatican’s efforts to respond to Pope Francis’ appeals to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine against COVID-19 during the pandemic.

When Vatican City State first began its vaccination campaign in January, the pope requested that homeless people residing at the shelter owned by the Office of Papal Charities be among the first to be vaccinated.

Both Pope Francis, 84, and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, 93, have received the two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

At his traditional Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” blessing, the pope called for COVID-19 vaccines to be made available to the world’s neediest people.

The pope said: “I ask everyone — government leaders, businesses, international organizations — to foster cooperation and not competition, and to seek a solution for everyone: vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet. Before all others: the most vulnerable and needy.”

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