ROME- Pope Francis suggested Monday that the Coronavirus vaccine was a “moral obligation ,” and he lamented how people had rejected one of the most effective ways to save lives due to “baseless information”.
During his annual speech to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, in which he assesses the state of the world and spells out the Vatican’s foreign policy goals, Francis made his strongest and most direct appeal for vaccination to date.
Although his COVID-19 advisory body has referred to vaccination as a “moral responsibility,” Francis has referred to vaccination as an “act of love,” and refusing to get inoculated as “suicidal”.
In an interview on Monday, he said individuals have a responsibility to take care of themselves, which translates into respect for the health of others.
“Health care is a moral obligation,” he said.
In his view, ideological divides are increasingly preventing people from getting vaccinated.
“Frequently people are influenced by the ideology of the moment, often bolstered by incomplete or inaccurate information,” he said, calling for the adoption of a “reality therapy” to change this distortion.
“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 added.
In the United States, some conservative Catholics, including some bishops and cardinals, claim vaccines based on research using aborted fetuses are immoral and refuse to take them.
It is, however, considered “morally acceptable” by the Vatican’s doctrine office for Catholics to receive vaccinations using cells derived from aborted fetuses based on research carried out on them.
Pope Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI have both received full vaccination from Pfizer-BioNTech.
Francis reiterated his call for universal access to vaccines, especially in regions with low vaccination rates, and called for revisions to patent rules that would allow poorer countries to develop their own vaccines.