Pope backs Covid immunisation campaigns, warns of ideological misinformation

"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," said Pope Francis.
Pope Francis on Monday condemned "baseless" ideological misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines(REUTERS)
Pope Francis on Monday condemned "baseless" ideological misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines(REUTERS)
Published on Jan 10, 2022 06:14 PM IST
Copy Link
Reuters | , Vatican City

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.

By saying that "health care is a moral obligation" in the context of a speech supporting vaccinations, Francis appeared to be responding to Catholics and other Christians, particularly in the United States, who say they have a religion-based right of conscientious objection to vaccines.

Francis, who is fully vaccinated, called for a global political commitment "to pursue the good of the general population through measures of prevention and immunisation".

He renewed his appeal for the equitable distribution of vaccines to poor nations, saying that "monopolistic rules" regarding patents should be put aside for the greater good.

Francis also reiterated his defence of migrants, saying each country should accept as many as possible and that responsibility for their integration should be shared.

On climate change, he said the results of last year's COP26 summit in Glasgow were "rather weak in light of the gravity of the problem" and hoped that action on global warming could be consolidated at COP27 planned for Egypt in November.

He repeated calls for dialogue in areas of conflict or crisis such as Lebanon, Ukraine and Myanmar as well as his call for a ban on the possession of nuclear weapons.

The Vatican, the world's smallest state, has diplomatic relations with 183 states. 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • People wait in a line to buy domestic gas tanks near a distributor, amid the country's economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

    SL Prez inducts 8 more ministers to handle economic crisis: Key points

    Sri Lanka's embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday inducted eight more ministers in his Cabinet to handle the country's financial crisis, its worst since gaining independence from Britain's rule in 1948. The new ministers belong to the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, and its allies--the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Eelam People's Democratic Party. However, the crucial finance portfolio continues to be vacant.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses by videolink the opening plenary session, during the 51st annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday.

    At Davos, Zelensky calls for 'maximum' sanctions against Russia

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia during a virtual speech Monday to corporate executives, government officials and other elites on the first day of the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos. He said sanctions need to go further to stop Russia's aggression, including an oil embargo, blocking all of its banks and cutting off trade with Russia completely. He said that it's a precedent that would work for decades to come.

  • As cases of monkeypox are detected in Europe and North America, some scientists are baffled by the unusual disease's spread in developed nations. 

    Monkeypox virus hasn't mutated, can be contained in non-endemic countries: WHO

    The World Health Organisation on Monday said there was no evidence yet to support that the monkeypox virus had mutated. WHO's emerging diseases lead Maria Van Kerkhove said the outbreaks in non-endemic countries can be contained and human-to-human transmission of the virus stopped. The more than 100 suspected and confirmed cases in the recent outbreak in Europe and North America had not yet been severe, Kerkhove added.

  • Russian service members work on demining the territory of Azovstal steel plant during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, on May 22, 2022. (REUTERS)

    Russian diplomat resigns over Ukraine war: ‘Enough is enough…’

    A Russian diplomat, serving at the country's permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva, said on Monday 'enough is enough,' adding that he is resigning from civil service to protest against Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. Bondarev was particularly critical of President Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov, who ordered the'special military operation'on Ukrainian soil foreign minister since 2004.

  • Barriers surround a closed shopping mall in Beijing China, on Monday, May 23, 2022. Beijing reported a record number of Covid cases during its current outbreak, reviving concern the capital may face a lockdown as authorities seek to stamp out community spread of the virus. (Bloomberg)

    Beijing extends work-from-home order as Covid-19 cases rise

    Beijing on Monday extended its work from home orders after the Chinese capital reported its biggest daily tally of Covid-19 cases , sparking fears of a full lockdown. Beijing reported 99 Covid-19 cases on Monday for Sunday, which was up from a previous daily average of around 50, pushing the total caseload over 1,400 in the ongoing month-long outbreak.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 23, 2022