Vatican City, Oct 27, 2021 / 07:30 am (CNA).
Vatican City is providing a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with priority given to the vulnerable and those over 60 years of age, a press release said Wednesday.
The city state’s health and hygiene office started administering the third dose in the second half of October, according to a Vatican statement.
The Vatican has provided the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine to its residents and employees since January, beginning with the elderly, health and safety personnel, and those in frequent contact with the public.
Pope Francis and Benedict XVI received two doses of the vaccine in early 2021. The second dose was administered in February.
Pope Francis and Benedict, both well over the age of 60, may be among the first group to receive a third dose of the vaccine, though Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni declined to confirm this deduction Wednesday.
On Oct. 1, the Vatican City State introduced a system requiring all employees, officials, and visitors to the territory to show they have been vaccinated, have recovered from the coronavirus, or have tested negative for the disease within 48 hours.
Employees who do not comply will be considered absent from work and will not be paid.
Vatican City State, the world’s smallest independent nation-state, has a population of around 800 people. But together with the Holy See, the sovereign entity that predates it, it employs more than 4,000 people.
The Vatican also administered free doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to people living in poverty; over 1,000 needy people were vaccinated during Holy Week.
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