Pope Francis calls on countries to ‘commit to overcoming delays’ in jab delivery

Pope’s visit to Mosul is ‘symbolic’ says reporter

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In his Easter address, the Pontiff called on rich countries to lend a hand to those in need, urging them “to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries”. On Good Friday, the Pope made a surprise visit to the Vatican’s coronavirus vaccination centre for the poor and homeless, where around 800 people have been vaccinated so far.

During his Easter Sunday Mass, delivered from St Peter’s Basilica, the Pontiff said: “The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor.

“Nonetheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened. That is today’s scandal.”

Other key points in the Pope’s speech included a possible international awareness day against anti-personnel landmines.

He denounced the use of such artefacts, labelling them “insidious and horrible devices”.

He said: “How much better our world would be without these instruments of death.

“Once again this year, in various places many Christians have celebrated Easter under severe restrictions and, at times, without being able to attend liturgical celebrations.

“We pray that those restrictions, as well as all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide, may be lifted and everyone be allowed to pray and praise God freely.”

The Pope received the coronavirus jab last year and said it was “moral” to accept one.

In an interview with Italy’s TG5 news programme, he said: “I believe that morally everyone must take the vaccine.

“It is the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.”

The Pontiff also responded to claims made by vaccine-sceptics, rebuffing rumours the jab could present adverse effects.

He said: “I do not understand why some say that this could be a dangerous vaccine.

“If the doctors are presenting this to you as a thing that will go well and doesn’t have any special dangers, why not take it? Today people must take the vaccine.”

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