Pope Francis Orders COVID Passport For Vatican Vistors

(Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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The Vatican announced in a decree Monday that a health pass showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required starting Oct. 1 in order to enter the city-state.

The decree will require Vatican City residents and employees, along with visitors, to carry the “Green Pass” certificate that is already used in surrounding Italy, the Holy See said in a statement. Italy’s health ministry announced the “Green Pass” in early August for visitors who have been vaccinated, tested negative or recently recovered from COVID-19.

Italy has mandated the “Green Pass” for indoor activities, such as dining at a restaurant, and domestic travel. The Italian government also said last week that all public and private sector workers must have the digital vaccine pass by mid-October.

The new vaccine requirement in Vatican City does include an exemption for those participating in liturgical celebrations, but only for “the time strictly necessary for the rite,” the Holy See noted. Those attending services such as Mass will not be required to show the “Green Pass,” but must observe social distancing and mask requirements during the duration of the service.

The measure was issued by the Pontifical Commission, the legislature of Vatican City, in response to a request made by Pope Francis during a Sept. 7 audience.

Pope Francis said in a statement that the measure would ensure “the health and well-being of the working community while respecting the dignity, rights and fundamental freedoms of each of its members.” He also called on the Vatican legislature to “adopt every suitable measure to prevent, control and counteract the health emergency.” (RELATED: EU Health Agencies See ‘No Urgent Need’ For COVID-19 Boosters Among Fully Vaccinated)

Pope Francis has called getting the vaccine “an act of love” and said in a video release Aug. 18 that vaccination is a “simple yet profound way to care for another, especially the most vulnerable.”

Vatican City, the smallest nation in the world by landmass and population, has reported just 27 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths throughout the pandemic, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.