Pope Francis’ personal doctor has died from Covid complications aged 78. Fabrizio Soccorsi, who was chosen as the pontiff’s personal medic in 2015, was hospitalised on Boxing Day for a previous oncological disease.
It is not known when he was last in close contact with the Pope before his death on Saturday.
It comes as Pope Francis revealed he plans to have the Covid-19 vaccination next week when the Vatican begins its roll-out of the jabs.
The city state is set to shortly launch its own vaccination campaign and expects to receive enough doses to inoculate all 450 residents and workers.
The Pope, 84, confirmed he will be among those given a dose. He told TV station Canale 5: ‘I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine.
“It is an ethical choice because you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others.
“Next week we will start doing it here, in the Vatican, and I have booked myself in. It must be done.
“There is a suicidal denial which I cannot explain, but today we have to get vaccinated.”
Others first in line at Vatican City, the world’s smallest independent country in the world, to be given the shot will be health and public safety personnel, the elderly and staff in frequent contact with the public.
Pope Francis had part of one lung removed when he was a young man in his native Argentina, making him potentially vulnerable to the disease.
The Pontiff’s announcement followed one from Buckingham Palace confirming the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have received the vaccine.
It is believed the 94-year-old monarch decided the information should be allowed to be made public but refused to say if they had taken the jab by Oxford University/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech.