Pope Francis delivers the Angelus Prayer to the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, 7 February 2021 | Photo: ANSA/VATICAN MEDIA HANDOUT
Pope Francis delivers the Angelus Prayer to the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, 7 February 2021 | Photo: ANSA/VATICAN MEDIA HANDOUT

On Saturday morning a group of refugees at the Centro Astalli, the Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome, will get their first dose of the COVID vaccine in the Vatican.

A group of refugees at the Centro Astalli, accompanied by workers of the Jesuit service, are set to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at the behest of Pope Francis.

Father Camillo Ripamonti, the president of Centro Astalli, said "it is an important sign for the lives of the refugees that we host, among whom many are vulnerable, victims of torture and intentional violence.

"It is a sign of closeness to the last ones, to those who the pandemic has made invisible and therefore more fragile and more exposed to the risk of becoming sick."

The appeal to Italian institutions

"Pope Francis's gesture is one that recognises in the poor, in the marginalised, in the migrant, the sense of acting in a way that puts the most fragile as the focus, because only in this way can the entire community become stronger, more solid, safer," Ripamonti said.

"It is a gift that is filled with meaning on the eve of the second Easter of the pandemic," he said.

Centro Astalli is calling on Italian institutions to replicate the pontiff's gesture and include in the national vaccination strategy the homeless, migrants who live in makeshift shelters or in occupied buildings, and in medium-sized and large reception centres.

Vaccinations in Vatican

On Wednesday afternoon in the atrium of Paolo VI Audience Hall in the Vatican, a first vaccine dose was administered to a group of over 100 people being hosted at the Missionaries of Charity dormitory at San Gregorio al Celio and residing in other Roman facilities. The papal almoner Konrad Krajewski welcomed them in the audience hall designed by Pier Luigi Nervi.

In the coming days, other groups of people will receive the vaccination, accompanied by volunteers from the Community of Sant'Egidio, Caritas Roma, the Missionaries of Charity and other associations.

In recent days it has been reported that in view of Easter, doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine purchased by the Holy See and offered by Spallanzani Hospital through the Vatican COVID-19 Commission would be allocated by the Office of Papal Charities to vaccinate 1,200 of the poorest and most marginalized people, who through their condition are the most exposed to the virus. The objective is to make concrete the various appeals by Pope Francis that no one be excluded from the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

In addition, it is also possible to make an online donation for a "suspended vaccine," through the pope's charity account managed by the Office of Papal Charities https://www.elemosineria.va/

 

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