, 12 January, 2021 / 10:30 AM
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI will receive the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it is available, his personal secretary said Tuesday.
Archbishop Georg Gänswein told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, Jan. 12 that the 93-year-old former pope would be vaccinated “as soon as the vaccine is available.”
“I will also be vaccinated along with the whole household of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery,” said Gänswein, referring to the Vatican monastery where Benedict XVI has lived since resigning as pope in 2013.
Vatican City will begin vaccinating residents and employees against COVID-19 in the second half of January. Dr. Andrea Arcangeli, head of the Vatican health service, said on Jan. 2 that the Vatican had purchased a low-temperature refrigerator to store the vaccine and planned to administer vaccinations in the atrium of the Paul VI Audience Hall.
“Priority will be given to health and public safety personnel, to the elderly and to personnel most frequently in contact with the public,” he said.
In a television interview broadcast on Sunday, Pope Francis said that he had booked an appointment to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“I believe that, ethically, everyone has to get the vaccine. It is an ethical option because it concerns your life but also that of others,” he commented.
Recalling the introduction of the polio vaccine and other common childhood immunizations, he said: “I don’t understand why some say this could be a dangerous vaccine. If doctors present it to you as something that can be fine and has no special dangers, why not take it?”
At his traditional Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” blessing, the pope called for COVID-19 vaccines to be made available to the world’s neediest people.
He said: “I ask everyone -- government leaders, businesses, international organizations -- to foster cooperation and not competition, and to seek a solution for everyone: vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet.”
Last summer, Benedict XVI battled illness following the death of his older brother Georg Ratzinger. He suffered from facial shingles, a bacterial infection of the skin which causes a painful, red rash. Gänswein said in August that the condition was “subsiding.”
In December, the German archbishop denied reports that Benedict XVI had lost his voice, but said that his voice had become “very weak and thin.”
Subscribe to our Free Daily ACI Africa Newsletter
At ACI Africa, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news from Africa, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church – so that you can grow in your Catholic faith and awareness about the people of God in Africa.
When you subscribe to the ACI Africa Updates, we will send you a daily email with links to the news you need.
Use the form below to tell us where we can send the ACI Africa Updates
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa