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Pope calls on people to get COVID vaccine, healthcare a ‘moral obligation’


VATICAN – On Monday, Pope Francis argued that being vaccinated against COVID19 is a “moral obligation,” and he chastised individuals for being influenced by “baseless information” and refusing one of the most effective ways to save lives during the pandemic.

In a speech to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, Francis used some of his toughest languages yet to appeal for people to be vaccinated. This is an annual event in which he lays out the Vatican’s foreign policy priorities for the year.

Francis, 85, has largely avoided referring to vaccination as a “moral obligation,” while his COVID-19 advisors have referred to it as a “moral responsibility.” Instead, Francis has referred to vaccination as “an act of love,” and refusing to get immunized is “suicidal.”

He went on to explain that people had a responsibility to care for themselves, “this translates into respect for the health of those around us.” “Healthcare is a moral obligation,” he stressed.

The Pope bemoaned the fact that ideological differences were increasingly deterring individuals from getting immunized.

“Frequently people let themselves be influenced by the ideology of the moment, often bolstered by baseless information or poorly documented facts,” he said, calling for the adoption of a “reality therapy” to correct 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.

Some Catholics, including some conservative U.S. bishops and cardinals, have claimed that vaccines based on research using cells derived from aborted fetuses are immoral and have refused to receive the vaccines.

The Vatican’s doctrine office, on the other hand, has stated that receiving COVID-19 vaccines is “morally acceptable” for Catholics based on research that used cells derived from aborted fetuses. Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI have received complete vaccinations from Pfizer-BioNTech.

Francis reiterated his appeal for universal access to vaccinations, particularly in areas with low immunization rates, and urged for patent restrictions to be revised so that poorer countries might produce their own vaccines.

“It is appropriate that institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization adapt their legal instruments lest monopolistic rules constitute further obstacles to production and to an organized and consistent access to health care on a global level,” he said.

This article contains materials from AP News.

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