ZURICH (Reuters) – Three members of the Vatican Swiss Guards, the elite colourfully dressed corps that protects the pope, have decided to resign rather than be vaccinated against COVID-19, Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneva reported.
Following the Holy See’s implementation of new COVID-19 measures, three Swiss guards have departed on a “voluntary” basis, a spokesperson for the corps said, according to the paper. Three other recruits, hitherto unvaccinated, had decided to get a shot but were temporarily suspended until they were fully inoculated, the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for the Swiss Guards did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
A health certificate showing proof of immunity to COVID-19 has been required to enter the Vatican since Oct. 1.
The so-called Green Pass – originally conceived to ease travel among European Union states – shows that someone has been vaccinated, tested negative or recently recovered from the coronavirus.
However, the Swiss Guards, who together with the Vatican’s gendarme work in close vicinity to the Pope on a daily basis, have been required to show proof of full vaccination, as opposed to a negative test.
Nearly all of the guard are single men who live in barracks just inside the Vatican gates. Commanders and married members live in separate apartments. All members have Swiss nationality.
Four of them tested positive for COVID-19 in October last year.
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Philip Pullella; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)