Pope Francis and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth on Saturday became the latest high-profile figures to join the global vaccination campaign against the coronavirus, as the UK reported it had surpassed more than 3 million cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago.
Almost 1.9 million people worldwide have now died from the virus, with new variants adding to soaring cases and prompting the re-introduction of restrictions on movement across the globe — even as some countries begin mass inoculation campaigns.
Pope Francis urged people to get the vaccination, calling opposition to the jab “suicidal denial” and saying he would get inoculated against the virus himself next week when the Vatican would begin its campaign.
“There is a suicidal denial which I cannot explain, but today we have to get vaccinated,” the pontiff said in segments from an interview with Canale 5 due to be broadcast in full on Sunday.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip received their Covid-19 vaccinations on Saturday, Buckingham Palace said, in a rare public comment on the private health matters of the long-serving monarch.
A source told the domestic Press Association news agency that the queen, 94, and Philip, 99, were given the injections by a royal household doctor at Windsor Castle.