Vatican walks back 'No Jab, No Job' decree after criticism
By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Thursday moved to clarify a decree that implied employees could lose their jobs if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination without legitimate health reasons, after criticism on social media. A Feb
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Thursday moved to clarify a decree that implied employees could lose their jobs if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination without legitimate health reasons, after criticism on social media.
A Feb. 8 decree by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the governor of Vatican City, said getting a vaccine was "the responsible choice" because of the risk of harming other people.
Vatican City, at 108 acres the world's smallest state, has several thousand employees, most of whom live in Italy. Its vaccination programme began last month and Pope Francis, 84, was among the first to get the vaccine.
The decree said that those who cannot get vaccinated for health reasons may be given another position, presumably where they would have contact with fewer people, but will receive the same pay even if the new post is a demotion.
But the decree said those who refuse to get a vaccination without sufficient reason would be subject to a specific provision in a 2011 law on employee rights and duties.
The article in the 2011 law says employees who refuse "preventive measures" could be subjected to "varying degrees of consequences that could lead to dismissal".
After news stories about the decree on Thursday, many Italians took to Twitter to criticise it, with some saying it was contrary to Pope Francis' general call for mercy.
On Thursday night, Bertello's office issued a statement saying that "alternative solutions" would be found for those who do not want to get the vaccine.
It said the reference to the article in the 2011 law which specifically mentioned the possibility of dismissal should not be seen as "sanctioning or punitive" and that "freedom of individual choice" would be respected.
Pope Francis is a big supporter of vaccines to stem the spread of the coronavirus and the Vatican has made a COVID-19 vaccination obligatory for journalists accompanying the pope on his trip to Iraq next month.
There have been fewer than 30 cases of coronavirus in the Vatican City, most of them among the Swiss Guard, who live in a communal barracks.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Gareth Jones and Jonathan Oatis)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.