Pope Francis has said everyone must take the coronavirus vaccine to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.
During an interview with Italian television station Canale 5, Francis said, “I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine.
“It’s an ethical choice,” he added, “because you are playing with health, life, but you are also playing with the lives of others. I’ve signed up. One must do it.”
Francis went on to say: “I don’t understand why some say, ‘No, vaccines are dangerous.’ If it is presented by doctors as a thing that can go well, that has no special dangers, why not take it? There is a suicidal denial that I wouldn’t know how to explain.”
The Vatican will begin administering a vaccine to its citizens “next week, according to Francis, who added, “it must be done.”
Francis also recently criticized people who refuse to wear face masks. In his recent book entitled, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, Francis suggested anti-maskers are selfish individuals who do not care about other causes.
“You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining the demonstration because children lack water or education… they are incapable of moving outside of their own little world of interests,” he said.
Ironically, Francis himself faced mounting criticism in October for his failure to wear a mask since resuming public audiences a month earlier. Francis’ decision not to wear a mask came amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases across Italy and the rest of Europe.
According to Catholic news website, Crux, a Vatican official acknowledged that the pope is at high risk and voiced hope that Francis would wear a mask more often.
Augusto Zampini, adjunct secretary of the Vatican department for Integral Human Development, which oversees the Vatican’s COVID task force, told reporters, “We are trying to convince him” to wear a mask.
Zampini went on to say, Francis “has started to use the mask now and I hope he will use it,” adding, “We are working on that.”
The outlet also noted that Francis has been criticized for not using hand sanitiser enough, and for failing to practice social distancing, by not keeping a sufficient distance from attendees at his events.
The Vatican has reported at least 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19.