Director of the Vatican health service Dr. Andrea Arcangeli announced coronavirus vaccinations would be offered beginning in January.

In a statement, he highlighted the necessity of vaccination in controlling the pandemic:

“We believe it is very important that even in our small community a vaccination campaign against the virus responsible for COVID-19 is started as soon as possible. Only through a widespread and capillary immunization of the population will it be possible to obtain real advantages in terms of public health to achieve control of the pandemic. It is important to educate everyone that the vaccine is not only to protect one’s own health, but also that of other people.”

To that effort, he announced the Vatican City State has a duty “to offer all residents, employees and their families the opportunity to be immunized against this dreaded disease.”

Arcangeli said the Pfizer vaccine was chosen because it is the leading candidate for approval in both the United States and Europe, is being used in England already, and has a 95% efficacy rate.

“It is understandable that there may be fears for a vaccine that has been developed in such a short time, but very rigorous safety tests have been carried out and there are assurances given by the world health authorities that before granting marketing authorization they conduct very rigorous studies. Other vaccines produced with different methods may be introduced after evaluating their efficacy and full safety.”

Vatican employees were told these vaccinations would begin sometime in January, excluding anyone under the age of 18, as “studies including this age group have not yet been carried out.”

The announcement comes a day after the USCCB weighed in on the Pfizer vaccine, who said it was “morally permissible” to receive it.

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