The Vatican has effectively made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for its employees, warning those who decline to receive the shot that they could face dismissal.
In a seven-page decree, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, head of the commission governing Vatican City State, said that getting the jab was “the responsible choice” and that those who refuse to do so could risk termination. The guideline points to a 2011 law which stipulates that employees who refuse “preventive measures” could be disciplined.
The new policy will allow people with legitimate health reasons to forgo the shot, but such personnel might be reassigned to positions that would have contact with fewer people. Their pay 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 cleared to return to his regular duties.
Pope Francis received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech drug a day after the Vatican began its vaccination program on January 13. He received his second shot in early February.