Pope Francis confirmed in an interview with an Italian broadcaster that he has an appointment to get the anti-COVID vaccine when the Vatican starts its vaccination program next week.
In an interview with Italian television channel Canale 5, the pontiff also said that everyone should get the vaccine, calling it an "ethical option, because you are playing with your health, life, but also with the lives of others".
Excerpts from the sit-down interview were released by Mediaset on Saturday, a day before it is scheduled to be aired.
It is the first confirmation that the 84-year-old pope who is missing part of one lung will get the vaccine, although the Vatican had already announced it would begin administering the vaccines later this month.
"Next week, we will start doing it here [in the Vatican] and I've made an appointment, it has to be done," he said in the interview, which is due to be broadcast on Sunday evening.
"When I was a child, I remember there was the polio epidemic, which left many children paralysed and we were desperately waiting for a vaccine... When the vaccine came out, we gave it with sugar," the Pope said. "Then we grew up in the shade of the vaccines, against measles, against this, against that, the vaccines that we used to give to children".
The Vatican has previously said that it’s “morally acceptable” for faithful to receive COVID-19 vaccines whose research used cell lines from tissue obtained from abortions. Vatican City has had at least 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
"I don't know why someone says, 'No, the vaccine is dangerous', but if doctors present it as something that can be good, that doesn't present any particular risks, why not do it," he added.