While other Vatican staff and visitors have an option to undergo regular Covid-19 tests to maintain their Green Pass status, all Swiss Guards had been ordered to get a jab “to protect their health and that of the others they come into contact with as part of their service,” the unit’s official Lt. Urs Breitenmoser told AP.
Three members of the Guard have chosen not to adhere to that request, voluntarily leaving the corps.
Besides the three guardsmen sent back to Switzerland, at least three others were suspended from active duty after they agreed to vaccinate but have yet to receive their jabs. The Swiss Guard is a 135-strong, all-male corps of Swiss soldiers, serving as a ceremonial unit, known for their tricolor Renaissance-style uniforms, as well as the pontiff’s personal bodyguards.
Since October 1, all residents, employees and visitors must provide a valid health certificate – the so-called Green Pass used in Italy and other EU states – to enter the city state grounds. There are no religious exemptions, except for those specifically invited to attend Mass “for the time strictly necessary for the rite.”