By Easter, Vatican vaccinates 1,200 poor
Michele Raviart – Vatican City
The Papal Grace Service communiqué notes that this undertaking “will give concrete form to the repeated calls of the Holy Father so that no one is excluded from the coronavirus vaccination campaign.” Those in need will be vaccinated at the Paul VI Hall. The vaccinations will be carried out by doctors, paramedics and volunteers of the Mother of Mercy outpatient clinic, located under the Bernini colonnade in St. Peter’s Square, where more than 1200 marginalized people from 96 countries have already been treated and diagnosed with smears.
The message specifies that “to share the miracle of mercy with our most vulnerable brothers and sisters and give them access to this right” will be possible on the Internet by making a donation to the charitable account of the Holy Father, managed by the Papal Mercy Service through the website www.elemosineria.va… This is a kind of “prepaid and deferred vaccine for the poor,” similar to the famous Neapolitan tradition of caffe ‘sospeso, the communique says. This gesture is intended to confirm that everyone “should have access to the vaccine, and poverty cannot be a hindrance,” as Pope Francis has repeatedly stated.
Already in January of this year, when the vaccination campaign began in the Vatican, 25 homeless people living near St. Peter’s Square were vaccinated against coronavirus: they were taken care of by the local structures of the Apostolic Elemosinarium. The vaccine was given to men and women over 60 years of age who have serious health problems and difficulties in accessing national medical structures. Helping the homeless complements the Pope’s initiatives, which from the very beginning of the sanitary crisis were carried out through financial donations, special equipment for hospitals in Italy and around the world, medical diagnostics for many people living on the sidelines.
Vaccination against COVID-19, says Pope Francis, “is an expression of responsibility for the fellow man and for the collective well-being.” That is why, in his 2020 Christmas message, the Bishop of Rome called on heads of state, company leaders and international organizations to “foster cooperation, not competition, in finding a solution for all”. “Faced with a problem that knows no boundaries, you cannot erect barriers,” the Pope stressed, “because we are all in the same boat.”