Even Pope Francis Has Absolutely Had It With Anti-Vaxxers

by Julie Scagell

He spoke about a cardinal in the US who refused a vaccine and is now hospitalized: “The ironies of life”

As continued frustration mounts over millions in the U.S. still refusing the COVID vaccine, even the Pope is weighing in on the ridiculousness of the situation.

Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, is over people’s refusal to get vaccinated. After calling the anti-vax movement “suicidal denialism,” earlier this year, he spoke again this week, saying he didn’t understand why people would refuse an option that would protect themselves and others from continuing to get sick and die during this pandemic. “Humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines,” he said, noting specifically that vaccines have been successful in eradicating things like polio, measles, mumps, and, “and no one said anything.”

He did admit some in his circle have been critical of the vaccine. “Even in the College of Cardinals, there are some negationists,” he said, seemingly talking about U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, calling him a “poor guy” who was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator last month after contracting COVID. He then added, “The ironies of life.” That’s Pope for, “What the heck did you think would happen?”

He also talked about the “virulence of uncertainty” surrounding the vaccine, noting it was likely because of the multiple COVID-19 vaccines available, the quick approval time, and the many other “arguments that created this division.”

The Pope isn’t the only one speaking out and urging people who can get vaccinated to do so immediately. President Joe Biden spoke last week, saying that, “Despite having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months, free vaccines have been available at 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot.” Clearly frustrated, he asked, “What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We’ve made vaccinations free, safe, and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval, over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and the refusal has cost all of us.”

The denial of science and refusal to get the vaccine by many Americas comes as 667,000 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic. Now, with the more contagious Delta variant ripping through the country and affecting those unable to get the vaccine (namely kids under 12), the risks associated, including overwhelming ICUs seems like a gamble no one should take.

Pope Francis noted that the Vatican has already vaccinated its residents, staff, and their families “with the exception of a very small group,” and “they’re studying how to help them.” For those who are still fearful of the vaccine, he said: “They have to clarify that and talk with serenity.”

Previously, the Vatican stance on the COVID vaccine is that it’s “morally acceptable” for Catholics to get vaccinated, including those that use cells from aborted fetuses.