Cardinal Parolin Extends Vatican’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
The restrictions were extended to the end of May, according to a decree from the Vatican’s secretary of state.
VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Pietro Parolin has extended the Vatican's COVID-19 restrictions through the end of May, despite the governments of Italy and other European countries lifting most or all measures to contain spread of the virus.
In a decree issued May 6, the Vatican secretary of state said the measures would be prolonged as the “current pandemic situation calls for specific extraordinary and exceptional measures to counter it and to ensure the safe conduct of activities, including by way of derogation from existing legislation.”
The decree follows an April 20 decree in which the cardinal had ruled that the restrictions, which apply to staff, consultants and visitors, would remain in place until the end of April.
News of Cardinal Parolin’s decree comes just a week after the EU declared an end to the coronavirus emergency. It also follows a steady lifting of COVID-19 restrictions worldwide and the elimination of all measures in some countries.
In spite of no deaths from COVID-19 on Vatican territory being recorded since the emergency was declared in Italy in March 2020, the Vatican implemented some of the strictest anti-COVID-19 rules in the world at the end of last year.
Since Dec. 23, all staff, external collaborators and visitors have had to show a “Super Green Pass” to enter Vatican territory, meaning they must either be vaccinated (with a booster shot) or have recently recovered from COVID-19. Negative tests are not permitted.
Failure to obtain a Super Green Pass is considered an “unjustified absence” from work resulting in suspension of pay. Limited medical exemptions are granted on a case-by-case basis, but religious exemptions are not allowed. Medical-grade FFP2 (N95) masks are mandatory in all enclosed spaces on Vatican territory.
Vatican liturgies and papal audiences are not bound by such restrictions, but visitors to the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Gardens, the papal villas and the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo still need to show a basic “Green Pass” (similar to the Super Green Pass, but permitting negative tests) to enter.
Vatican sources have told the Register that officials had been planning until a few days ago to align their policy with Italy’s, which has removed the Super Green Pass entirely, but instead decided to retain the restrictions until the end of the month. Italy still requires a basic Green Pass for hospitals and retirement homes.