By Vatican News staff writer
As the world continues to adopt measures to combat the ongoing health emergency, the Office of Papal Charities, in response to Pope Francis's numerous appeals that no one be excluded from receiving the Covid-19 vaccines, is taking action to accompany the most vulnerable.
A statement released on Friday said that during Holy Week, 1200 of the poorest and most marginalized people will have the opportunity of getting vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – the same vaccine administered to the Pope and the employees of the Holy See.
The vaccines will be administered in a specially designed facility inside the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. The medical doctors and health workers involved in the process include volunteers who work in the “Madre di Misericordia” mobile health clinic located under the Bernini colonnade, employees of the Vatican’s Directorate of Health and Hygiene, as well as volunteers from the Medicina Solidale Institute and Rome's Spallanzani Hospital.
The doses of the vaccines were purchased by the Holy See and are offered by the Spallanzani Hospital through the Vatican Covid-19 Commission.
Online donation to help someone get vaccinated
The statement further informs of an opportunity “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.”
The faithful can pay for the vaccine for a person in need via an online donation through the Holy Father’s Charity account, managed by the Office of Papal Charities at www.elemosineria.va
Equal access to vaccines for all
Pope Francis has repeatedly encouraged people to get vaccinated because “it is a way of exercising responsibility for one’s neighbour and the collective wellbeing,” the statement notes.
At the same time, as vaccination campaigns kick off in many countries, the Pope has reiterated the importance of equal access to vaccines, regardless of status.
In his 2020 message on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, the Pope appealed: “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!”
“In the face of a challenge that knows no borders, we cannot erect walls. All of us are in the same boat,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis’ closeness to the poor
In January, when the vaccination campaign began in the Vatican, the Holy Father requested that fifty needy people be among the first to be vaccinated. Many of them were among the homeless who live around St. Peter’s Basilica and are assisted by the residential facilities of the Office of Papal Charities.