Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement that he “was able to confirm that under the Vatican City State’s vaccine program, to date, the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine has been given to Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus.”
The statement did not say when 84-year-old Pope Francis or his 93-year-old predecessor were vaccinated. The Vatican began its vaccination program on Wednesday at a medical center located in the main auditorium, where the pontiff often holds weekly audiences. Both men are at higher risk of contracting the virus due to their age.
“I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine. This is not an option, but an ethical choice, because you are betting on your health, with your life, but you are also betting on the lives of others,” the pontiff said in an interview with Italian channel Canale 5. broadcast on Sunday night.
“I ask all those responsible for countries, companies, international bodies … to promote cooperation, not competition, and to seek a solution for all, vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy in all regions of the world,” he said. the pope during his traditional message Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) in the Vatican.
On Saturday, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported that Francis’s personal physician Fabrizio Socorsi had died as a result of “complications due to Covid”.
Francis chose Socorse as his personal physician in 2015, the newspaper writes.
Socorse, 78, was hospitalized in Rome on December 26 for a previous cancer, according to the Italian Episcopal Conference newspaper, Avvenire. It is not clear when he last came into direct contact with Pope Francis.