Vatican City has issued a stern warning to workers that they risk losing their jobs if they refuse to get a Covid-19 vaccination without legitimate health reasons.
Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, effectively the governor of Vatican City decreed that getting a vaccine was “the responsible choice” because of the risk of harming other people.
Vatican City, a city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy, which is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, has several thousand employees, most of whom live in Italy.
Its vaccination programme began last month and Pope Francis, 84, was among the first to get the jab.
The seven-page decree says that those who cannot get vaccinated for health reasons may be given another position, presumably where they would have contact with fewer people, but will receive the same pay even if the new post is a demotion.
But the decree said those who refuse to get a vaccination without sufficient reason would be subject to a specific provision in a 2011 law on employee rights and duties which says employees who refuse “preventive measures” could be subjected to “varying degrees of consequences that could lead to dismissal”.
The decree was signed on Feb. 8 and later posted on the website of the governor’s department.
The Vatican has also made a COVID-19 vaccination obligatory for journalists accompanying Pope Francis on his trip to Iraq next month.
Bertello, who signed the decree, tested positive for coronavirus in December and went into self-isolation.
There have been fewer than 30 cases of coronavirus in the Vatican City, most of them among the Swiss Guard, who live in communal barracks.
This comes amid fears that COVID-19 vaccination could become the new passport or visa for travelling from one country to another.