SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 28 January 2022, Friday |

Pope backs Covid immunization campaigns, warns of ideological misinformation

Pope Francis on Monday condemned “baseless” ideological misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, backing national immunisation campaigns and calling health care a moral obligation.

Francis spoke in his yearly address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, sometimes called his “State of the World” address because it is a broad survey of the global situation.

His words to diplomats from nearly 200 countries marked the closest he has ever come to a de facto backing of vaccine mandates, which have become controversial in Italy and other European countries.

“We have realised that in those places where an effective vaccination campaign has taken place, the risk of severe repercussions of the disease has decreased,” he said.

“It is therefore important to continue the effort to immunise the general population as much as possible”.

Francis, who dedicated about a fifth of his six-page address to the pandemic, warned against ideological statements regarding vaccinations.

“Sadly, we are finding increasingly that we live in a world of strong ideological divides. Frequently people let themselves be influenced by the ideology of the moment, often bolstered by baseless information or poorly documented facts,” he said.

“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 told the diplomats gathered in the Vatican’s frescoed Hall of the Benedictions.