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A French sign reads "wearing a mask is mandatory" A French sign reads "wearing a mask is mandatory" 

Covid-19: Vaccination and border controls under spotlight

France and Germany are stepping up controls at their common border, while the Bishops of Ireland call on people in the country to join the vaccination campaign against COVID-19.

By Vatican News Staff reporter

From new border controls in Europe, to good news on the single jab vaccine front: eradicating COVID-19 continues to be a priority for governments and pharmaceutical companies alike.

Border controls

In order to contain a spike in Coronavirus infections, France on Thursday announced it was bringing in new COVID-19 restrictions for the area around its common border with Germany.

This means that cross-border workers, who had exemptions until now, will need to show negative PCR tests to get through if travelling for reasons unrelated to their jobs.

Both countries also said that joint police patrols could be stepped up.

Single dose vaccines

While restrictions continue, so does the development of effective vaccines.

A review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published on Wednesday found the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to be safe and effective, paving the way for emergency use.

The FDA's panel of independent experts was due to meet on Friday to decide whether to approve the jab.

Irish Bishops’ appeal

Meanwhile, the Bishops of Ireland are once again calling on people to join the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

In a statement, they reiterate that safe and effective vaccination is essential for prevention and should be done not only to protect oneself, "but also to protect the lives and health of the most vulnerable and for the common good of humanity."

The Bishops write, “The development and provision of the vaccines is already providing reassurance for those who are most vulnerable to the virus and will help us to return to normality in terms of work, education, religious practice, and sporting and leisure activities as soon as possible.”

They also appeal to the Ministry of Health and health authorities to give priority to chaplains working in social-health facilities and to priests who have to celebrate funerals.

25 February 2021, 13:05