Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI have received their first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, confirmed the Vatican Press Office.
“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,” announced Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, on Thursday.
The Vatican began vaccinations on January 13, and has said that they would be offered to all residents over the age of 18, beginning with the oldest and most vulnerable—those at higher risk of death from the virus.
Pope Francis, age 84, stated over the weekend that he was scheduled to receive his vaccination this week. Bishop Georg Gaenswein, Private Secretary to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, recently confirmed that the 93-year-old would also be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Pope Francis has encouraged all to be vaccinated, saying it is an “ethical choice.”
“I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine. It is not an option, 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,” the Holy Father said in an interview with Italy’s Canale 5 television station last weekend.