Vatican City, the world’s smallest sovereign state, plans to vaccinate its residents and employees against Covid-19 in the second half of January. This is noted in a statement by the Holy See, the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Reuters.
“It is likely that the vaccines could arrive in the state in the second week of January in sufficient quantity to cover the needs of the Holy See and the Vatican City State,” the statement said.
The Vatican said it had bought an ultra-cold refrigerator to store the doses, suggesting it will use the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which must be stored at about minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit).
"Vaccinations will start in the second half of January, with priority given to health and public safety personnel, the elderly and staff in frequent contact with the public," the Vatican said.
Shots will be administered on a voluntary basis.
84-year-old Pope Francis had part of one lung removed during a surgery when he was a young man in his native Argentina, making him potentially vulnerable to the disease. The Vatican did not comment on the Pope's vaccination.
According to data collated by worldometers.info, 27 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Vatican City so far, and no deaths. Two Vatican cardinals tested positive last month.
Meanwhile, a new strain of coronavirus, which was first recorded in the UK, has already been found in 33 countries.
This strain is considered to be more contagious and is associated with a sharp increase in the number of infections in Britain.