Pope Francis, ex-pope Benedict get virus vaccines: Vatican
(FILES) This handout picture released on February 15, 2018 by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis (L) greeting Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Both Pope Francis and his predecessor, former pope Benedict XVI, have received the coronavirus vaccine, the Vatican said on January 14, 2021.
AFP/OSSERVATORE ROMANO, Handout

Pope Francis, ex-pope Benedict get virus vaccines: Vatican

(Agence France-Presse) - January 14, 2021 - 8:17pm

VATICAN CITY, Holy See — Both Pope Francis and his predecessor, former pope Benedict XVI, have received the coronavirus vaccine, the Vatican said on Thursday.

"I can confirm that, as part of the Vatican City State vaccination programme to date, the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus," spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

It had already been reported that Francis, 84, had received the jab on Wednesday, the first day of the Vatican's vaccination drive, but officials declined to confirm the news.

The Vatican News portal said Benedict, 93, was given a dose on Thursday morning. 

The former pontiff, who stepped down in 2013 and now lives in a converted monastery in the Vatican gardens, is increasingly frail.

In an interview broadcast at the weekend, Francis urged people to get the vaccine.

"There is a suicidal denial which I cannot explain, but today we have to get vaccinated," he told Canale 5.

The Argentine is known for his love of being among his flock and has often been pictured without a mask.

But he has limited his interaction with the public since the virus first swept Italy early last year.

There were concerns about how he would cope if he became infected, given both his age and his history of lung problems.

The pope almost died when he was 21 after developing pleurisy, according to biographer Austen Ivereigh, which caused him to have part of one of his lungs removed.

He recalled the incident in a recent book, "Let Us Dream", saying: "I have some sense of how people with coronavirus feel as they struggle to breathe on ventilators."

Media reports suggested Pope Francis received the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which was authorised for use in the European Union on December 21.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS POPE BENEDICT XVI POPE FRANCIS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 20, 2021 - 8:31am

Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said on July 29, 2020, that they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France's Sanofi in partnership with the UK's GSK and is subject to a "final contract."

This thread collects some of the major developments in the search for a vaccine to ease the new coronavirus pandemic. (Main photo by AFP/Joel Saget)

January 20, 2021 - 8:31am

Mexican authorities are investigating the theft of several coronavirus vaccines from a public hospital, the army said Tuesday, underscoring the challenges of distributing the shots across the crime-plagued country.

Mexico, which has one of the world's highest COVID-19 death tolls, has deployed the military to guard the vaccines and prevent them falling into criminals' hands.

The army said that the stolen vaccines were under the control of a public health institution in a hospital in central Morelos state whose security is overseen by a private company.

"This theft could have been a dishonest act of self-interest by a member of the hospital's vaccination team," it said in a statement. — AFP

January 16, 2021 - 7:37pm

Serbia becomes one of the first European countries to receive a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday when one million doses of a jab produced by Sinopharm arrived at Belgrade airport.

President Aleksandar Vucic posted a picture of himself on Instagram, standing next to the plane carrying the vaccine.

"We are proud of our friendship with China," he was quoted as saying by Beta news agency, telling reporters that he hoped to be inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine in six or seven days. — AFP

January 14, 2021 - 7:41pm

Both Pope Francis and his predecessor, former pope Benedict XVI, have received the coronavirus vaccine, the Vatican says on Thursday.

"I can confirm that as part of the Vatican City State vaccination programme to date, the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has been administered to Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus," spokesman Matteo Bruni says. — AFP

January 13, 2021 - 1:25pm

President Joko Widodo receives the first COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia.  The shot, from China's Sinovac, kicks off the massive immunization campaign in the country dealing with one of most number of cases in the region.

Indonesia opted to secure millions of doses from the Chinese pharmaceutical company whose lack of transparency about its vaccine sparks concerns. While the Philippines ordered 25 million doses, Indonesia secured 125.5 million from Sinovac.

Indonesia is also expecting 50 million doses from Astrazeneca, 150 million from American biotech firm Novovax, 60 million from Sinopharm and 20 million from CanSino, making it the third territory in the world with the most number of confirmed doses after Europe and the United States. (Handout photo)

January 13, 2021 - 7:17am

The Chinese-developed Coronavac COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated a 50 percent efficacy following tests in Brazil, the organization in charge of its production in the South American country says.

Coronavac has been given to frontline health care workers in close contact with coronavirus patients.

The Butantan Institute repeated its claim from last week that the vaccine is 78% effective in preventing mild cases that needed treatment and showed 100% efficacy in staving off moderate to serious cases. — AFP

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