VATICAN CITY. – Pope Francis on Monday urged the international community to step up Covid vaccination and said “reality therapy” was needed to battle “baseless information” putting people off getting jabbed.
The pontiff, who has previously described getting vaccinated as “an act of love”, urged governments to ensure everyone around the world had access to vaccines.
“Frequently people let themselves be influenced by the ideology of the moment, often bolstered by baseless information or poorly documented facts,” he told members of the Vatican’s diplomatic corps.
“The pandemic, on the other hand, urges us to adopt a sort of ‘reality therapy’ that makes us confront the problem head on and adopt suitable remedies to resolve it,” the 85-year old said.
While vaccines were “not a magical means of healing” they were “surely… the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease,” Francis said.
But he pointed out the plan for everyone in the world to have equal access to vaccines currently remained “an illusion”.
Meanwhile, more than half of people in Europe are on track to contract the Omicron coronavirus variant in the next two months if infections continue at current rates, the World Health Organisation said yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference, regional director Hans Kluge warned that the Omicron variant represented a ‘new west-to-east tidal wave sweeping across’ the European region.
‘At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) forecasts that more than 50 percent of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks,’ Kluge told reporters.
The WHO’s European region comprises 53 countries and territories including several in Central Asia, and Kluge noted that 50 of them had confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.
According to the WHO, 26 of those countries reported that over one percent of their populations were ‘catching Covid-19 each week,’ as of January 10, and that the region had seen over seven million new virus cases reported in the first week of 2022 alone. — AFP-CGTN