Jan. 11, 2022 -- Pope Francis came out in support of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday in some of his strongest language yet, suggesting that getting vaccinated was a “moral obligation.” He also criticized people who spread misinformation about the coronavirus.

In the annual speech to Vatican ambassadors about the church’s foreign policy, the Pope said people should take care of themselves “and this translates into respect for the health of those around us. Healthcare is a moral obligation,” The Associated Press reported.

Francis has previously avoided using such strong language about the vaccine, The Associated Press said. In a message last August, Francis had said that getting a vaccination was “an act of love,” as was helping other people do the same.

On Monday, he also criticized the politicization of vaccinations and the spread of misinformation.

“Frequently people let themselves be influenced by the ideology of the moment, often bolstered by baseless information or poorly documented facts,” he said.

“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 said.

Some Catholics have rejected the vaccines, saying they’re based on research that uses cells from aborted fetuses. The Associated Press reported that the Vatican’s doctrine office says it’s “morally acceptable” to receive vaccines based on that research.

The Pope, who is vaccinated, repeated his call for wider access to COVID vaccines and urged a change in patent laws so poor nations with low vaccination rates could develop 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.

Show Sources

The Associated Press. “Pope on COVID vaccines says health care a ‘moral obligation’”

Vatican News. “Pope Francis urges people to get vaccinated against Covid-19”

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