A Feb. 8 decree signed by the Vatican City State Governor says employees who choose to be vaccinated without any proven medical reason may be subject to a sanction up to and including “termination of employment.”
The directive cited the need to protect Vatican employees in the workplace, as well as guidelines issued by the Francis COVID-19 advisory commission, which said individuals have a moral responsibility to be vaccinated “given that the refusal of a The vaccine could pose a risk to others. “
The decree sparked heated debates on Thursday, as its provisions go beyond the generally voluntary nature of COVID-19 vaccinations in Italy and the rest of the world. The Vatican is an absolute monarchy in the heart of Rome that operates independently of Italian law and the protection of Italian labor.
In a statement late Thursday answering questions about the decree, the Vatican City State’s governor’s office defended the measure but denied it violated workers’ rights. He said it was issued as an urgent response to a public health crisis and reflected the need to protect individual employees and the wider community.
The statement said the reference to a 2011 norm allowing the dismissal of an employee who refuses preventive health care measures was not of a punitive nature. Rather, the statement said, it is “a tool that provides a flexible and proportionate response to the need to balance collective health care with freedom of choice, without using any repressive means against an employee”.
Some Catholics and other believers have expressed faith-based concerns about vaccines because some of those available were indirectly related to research using abortion abortion cells. The Vatican doctrine office has deemed it morally acceptable for Catholics to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, including those that rely on research that used cells derived from aborted fetuses.
Vaccines are not mandatory in Italy, where the coronavirus outbreak in Europe broke out this time last year and which has the highest number of pandemic deaths from any European country except Britain. Some doctors and nurses who have expressed anti-vaccine feelings or skepticism about the virus have been threatened with professional sanctions.
The Italian government’s bioethics committee said in November that while it could not rule out the need to seek vaccines for members of highly exposed groups, such as medical personnel, any action to mandate COVID-19 strokes should be “discussed within associations. their professionalism and is revoked as soon as there is no longer a significant risk to the collective. “
The Vatican, which has about 5,000 employees, is on its way to becoming perhaps the first country to end its adult vaccination campaign. The Holy See health service began inoculating staff members and their families in January with the Pfizer vaccine. Francis himself has received both needed doses and the Vatican has expanded its vaccine offerings to also cover homeless people in the area.
Francis has often spoken of the need to ensure that vaccines are widely available, especially to the poor and marginalized.
Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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