By Michele Raviart & Linda Bordoni
A statement released on Wednesday by the Holy See Press Office said that 25 homeless persons were inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said those vaccinated Wednesday morning are part of a group of people who regularly receive assistance from the Office of Papal Charities. He added that other poor people will receive the vaccine in the coming days.
“Thank you Pope Francis!”
One of those who received the first dose of the vaccine was Mario, who told Vatican News’ Michele Raviart that he feels that now he has “extra security.”
Pope Francis had affirmed his desire that a part of the vaccinations available for the vaccination campaign in the Vatican be offered to those most in need.
"We thank the Pope for this gift," said Mario, also on behalf of the other 24 people present on Wednesday morning in the Paul VI Hall.
The people who have been given this possibility are those who receive shelter and assistance in various Church-run facilities close to the Vatican. They are men and women aged 60 and over, both Italian citizens and foreigners, many of whom struggle with serious health difficulties.
"No one is saved alone"
Coordinating the initiative, Carlo Santoro of the Sant Egidio Community said it is in line with Pope Francis’ belief that “No one is saved alone.”
The Rome-based Sant Egidio Community, which is dedicated to the service of the poor, has been a first-hand witness of the many extra difficulties experienced by the poor since the pandemic began.
Santoro highlighted how Covid has affected even the simplest things like “receiving charity or a simple sandwich from shops that have closed.”
The role of the Office of Papal Charities
The Office of Papal Charities, led by the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, is on the ground accompanying the people being vaccinated in the Vatican.
The Office has been bringing the Pope's help to the neediest and the most vulnerable people since the beginning of the pandemic. Last Christmas, 4,000 Covid-19 swab tests were provided for the homeless in Rome, while medicines, masks and respirators have been donated worldwide.