Pope unveils strongest language yet on vaccination
Pope Francis has shared his strongest views on the Covid vaccine, describing it as a "moral obligation", simultaneously denouncing those who have been persuaded by "baseless information" to refuse a life-saving measure.
Francis shared his views for the first time in a speech to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See: an annual event that discusses the Vatican's foreign policy goals for the upcoming year.
Pope Francis, 85, has previously held back from sharing views on the vaccine, though his Covid-19 advisory body has referred to it as a "moral responsibility".
Now however, he has deemed vaccination as "an act of love" and that refusing to get jabbed was simply "suicidal".
During his speech, he said that individuals had a duty of care to consider which "translates into respect for the health of those around us".
“Health care is a moral obligation,” he said.
“Frequently people let themselves be influenced by the ideology of the moment, often bolstered by baseless information or poorly documented facts,” he said, calling for the adoption of a “reality therapy” to correct this distortion of human reason.
“Vaccines are not a magical means of healing, yet surely they represent, in addition to other treatments that need to be developed, the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease,” he added.
Some Catholics, including conservative US cardinals and bishops, have claimed that vaccines were immoral and have refused to get the jab, based on research that claims vaccines used cells derived from aborted foetuses.
However, the Vatican's doctrine office has said that is "morally acceptable" for those in the Catholic faith to get the jab.
Francis repeated his call for universal vaccines and health care availabilities for all, especially in parts of the world with low vaccination rates, while also calling for governing bodies to let these countries develop their own vaccines.
“It is appropriate that institutions such as the World Trade Organisation and the World Intellectual Property Organisation adapt their legal instruments lest monopolistic rules constitute further obstacles to production and to an organised and consistent access to health care on a global level,” he said.
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