Three Vatican Swiss Guards who refused vaccination against COVID-19 at the behest of the Holy See have left the storied corps to return to Switzerland
Vatican City – Three Vatican Swiss Guards, who have refused vaccination against COVID-19 on orders from the Holy See, have voluntarily left the storied corps to return to Switzerland, a Swiss Guard official said on Sunday.
“Three members of the Guard have voluntarily opted not to comply with that request by leaving the corps,” Breitenmoser said in a statement.
He said three other guardsmen have been temporarily suspended from duty awaiting vaccination.
The main duty of the all-male corps, with its colorful uniform and feathered helmet, is to protect the pontiff. Members guard various entrances to papal ceremonies as well as the small, free-walled city state near Rome’s Tiber River. During the pandemic, guards on duty wear protective surgical masks.
Pope Francis, who has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has repeatedly emphasized the philanthropic and health value of getting shots during the pandemic.
Breitenmoser noted that last month the head of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City state issued an ordinance requiring people entering Vatican areas to either be vaccinated or have recently tested negative. This includes tourists wishing to see Vatican treasures, including Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.