Vaccine for needy, weak first: Pope

Vatican City, December 25

Pope Francis made a Christmas Day plea for authorities to make Covid-19 vaccines available to all, insisting that the first in line should be the most vulnerable and needy, regardless of who holds the patents for the shots.

“Vaccines for everybody, especially for the most vulnerable and needy,” who should be first in line, Francis said in off-the-cuff remarks from his prepared text, calling the development of such vaccines “light of hope” for the world.

He called on the leaders of nations, businesses and international organisations to “promote cooperation and not competition, and to search for a solution for all”.

Amid a surge of infections this fall in Italy, Francis broke with tradition for Christmas. Instead of delivering his “Urbi et Orbi” speech — Latin for “to the city and to the world” — from the central loggia of St Peter’s Square, he read it from inside a cavernous hall at the Apostolic Palace, flanked by two Christmas trees with blinking lights. — AP

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