The vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in the Vatican began on Wednesday, with both Pope Francis and ex-Pope Benedict receiving their first doses of the vaccine.

“I can confirm that as part of the vaccination program of the Vatican City State, as of today, the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has been administered to Pope Francis and to the Pope Emeritus”, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office.

Francis, 84, and Benedict, 93, are considered vulnerable to contracting the virus because of their age. Francis had a part of one of his lungs removed following an illness when he was young, while Benedict is suffering from a number of ilnesses related to old age, such as arthritis.

Pope Francis on Sunday announced that he planned to receive the vaccine this week, and added that everyone should get a jab. “It is an ethical choice because you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others”, he said during an interview.

There have been fewer than 30 cases of coronavirus in the Vatican City, most of them among the Swiss Guard, who live in a communal barracks.


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