The Vatican has effectively made the Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for its employees, warning those who refuse to receive the vaccine that they could be made redundant.
In a seven-page decree, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, head of the commission governing the Vatican City State, said receiving the blow was “The responsible choice” and that those who refuse to do so risk being made redundant. The directive refers to a law of 2011 which stipulates that employees who refuse “preventive measures” could be sanctioned.
The new policy will allow people with legitimate health reasons to forgo the vaccine, but such staff could be reassigned to positions that would have contact with fewer people. Their salary would remain the same even if the new assignment is a demotion.
Bertello himself tested positive for Covid-19 in December and was quarantined in his apartment until he was allowed to resume his usual duties.
Vatican City State, the world’s smallest independent nation state, has around 800 people but employs over 4,000 people.
Pope Francis has been a strong supporter of global vaccination campaigns against the virus. In an interview last month, the pontiff said the shooting was a “Ethical choice” because “You are playing with your health … [and] also play with the lives of others.
However, none of the vaccines currently on the market have been studied to show that they prevent transmission or slow the spread of the virus.
Francis received his first dose of the drug Pfizer-BioNTech a day after the Vatican began its vaccination program on January 13. He received his second injection in early February.
Pope criticized apprehension of Covid-19 vaccines as “Suicidal denial” and suggested that it is everyone’s duty to take the hit. Some Catholics opposed the shot because tissue from aborted fetuses was used in their development, but the Vatican has insisted the shots are still “Morally acceptable.”
The head of the Catholic Church has been equally outspoken about his support for the controversial lockdown measures. In January, he berated people who were traveling overseas during the holiday season to escape Covid-19 restrictions, accusing them of being irresponsible and just thinking about ‘having fun’.
Many other countries around the world have made it clear that people who refuse to be vaccinated will face retaliation. In Israel, for example, the government has said that those who refuse the jab will be limited to “Supermarkets and pharmacies”.
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