Pope Francis denounced “baseless” ideological falsehoods concerning COVID-19 vaccinations on Monday, endorsing national immunization efforts and describing health care as a fundamental imperative.
Francis addressed the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican in his annual address, dubbed the “State of the World” address since it offers a wide assessment of the world situation.
His remarks to ambassadors from over 200 nations were the closest he’s ever gone to endorsing vaccination requirements, which have sparked debate in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.
“We have realized that in those places where an effective vaccination campaign has taken place, the risk of severe repercussions of the disease has decreased,” he stated.
“It is therefore important to continue the effort to immunize the general population as much as possible”
Francis advised against making ideological comments about vaccines, which took up nearly a fifth of his six-page presentation.
“Regrettably, we are rapidly discovering that we live in a society marked by sharp ideological differences. People are frequently swayed by current ideologies, which are sometimes supported by false information or badly recorded facts “he stated
“Vaccines are not a magical means of healing,” he told the diplomats assembled in the Vatican’s frescoed Hall of the Benedictions, “but they certainly represent, in addition to other treatments that need to be developed, the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease.”
Francis looked to be reacting to Catholics and other Christians, notably in the United States, who claim they have a religion-based right of conscientious objection to vaccines, by stressing that “health care is a moral obligation” in the context of a speech endorsing vaccinations.
Francis, who is fully immunized, called for a global political commitment to “to pursue the good of the general population through measures of prevention and immunization”
He reiterated his call for equitable vaccine distribution to developing countries, arguing that “monopolistic rules” surrounding patents should be set aside for the greater good.
Francis also defended migrants, stating that each country should admit as many as it can and that responsibility for their integration should be shared.
He said the outcomes of last year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow were “rather weak in light of the gravity of the problem” and hoped that action on global warming could be cemented at COP27, which will be held in Egypt in November.
He reiterated his appeals for discussion in places of war or crisis, such as Lebanon, Ukraine, and Myanmar, as well as a moratorium on nuclear weapons ownership.