The Vatican has warned its officials that they risk losing their jobs if they refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 without serious health reasons.
A decree by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, essentially the governor of the Vatican City, said the vaccine was a “responsible choice” as there was a risk of infecting and harming other people.
The Vatican City, which covers an area of about 0.4 square km. is the smallest state in the world, has several thousand employees, most of whom live in Italy. It’s vaccination program began last month, and Pope Francis, 84, was among the first to receive the vaccine.
The seven-page decree stipulates that those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons may be transferred to another post, where they are supposed to come in contact with fewer people but receive the same salary, and even the new position is degraded.
The decree, however, stipulates that those who refuse to get the vaccine without good reason will be subject to a special provision of a 2011 law concerning the rights and obligations of workers.
This article from 2011 law stipulates that employees who refuse “precautionary measures” are likely to be subject to “consequences of varying degrees that may lead to dismissal”.
The decree was signed on February 8 and then posted on the government website.
Pope Francis is in favor of vaccines as a means of stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
“It is a moral choice because you risk his health, your life, but you also risk the lives of others,” he said in an interview with an Italian television station last month.
The Vatican has made vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for journalists accompanying Pope Francis on his trip to Iraq next month.