The next day, the Vatican’s makeshift vaccine centre administered coronavirus jabs to a group of refugees.
Father Camillo Ripamonti, the president of Centro Astalli, the Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome, said vaccinating refugees was at the Pope’s request.
He said: “It is an important sign for the lives of the refugees that we host, among whom many are vulnerable, victims of torture and intentional violence.
“It is a sign of closeness to the last ones, to those who the pandemic has made invisible and therefore more fragile and more exposed to the risk of becoming sick.
“Pope Francis’s gesture is one that recognises in the poor, in the marginalised, in the migrant, the sense of acting in a way that puts the most fragile as the focus, because only in this way can the entire community become stronger, more solid, safer.
“It is a gift that is filled with meaning on the eve of the second Easter of the pandemic.”