Pope on Christmas: Vaccines for all; needy, vulnerable first

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Pope Francis holds up a chalice of wine as he carries out the communion rite during a Christmas Eve mass to mark the nativity of Jesus Christ on December 24, 2020, at St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has made a Christmas appeal to nations to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are available for all.

In his annual Christmas message on Friday, he urged that the vulnerable and the needy be first in line to get the vaccine shots. Francis said the laws of the markets and patents can’t come before the “laws of love and health of humanity. ”

Francis lamented that the pandemic has “only worsened” grave economic and social imbalances in the world.

Amid a surge of coronavirus infections in Italy, Francis gave his speech from inside the Vatican instead of from his traditional perch on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

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