"Quick Prayer and a Jab": St. Stephen's Cathedral Vaccination Street Opens

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: August 11, 2021; 14:54 ♦ (Vindobona)

The City of Vienna has opened another COVID-19 vaccination street, and this time it is at St. Stephen's Cathedral, Austria's most famous church. The offer is part of Vienna's ongoing effort to vaccinate as many people as possible.

"The symbolic offer of vaccination in the most important church in the country is a sign of cooperation and centuries of good understanding between the city and the church." - Mayor of Vienna Michael Ludwig / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Bwag / CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

The City of Vienna, with the support of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and Steffl landlord cathedral priest Toni Faber, has chosen one of Austria’s most iconic buildings, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, for its newest COVID-19 vaccination site.

It is now possible to say a prayer and get a COVID-19 vaccine at the Barbara Chapel in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. With the vaccination campaign in the cathedral, the City of Vienna is expanding the range of low-threshold vaccination offers. Vaccinations are offered in the Barbara Chapel from Thursday to Sunday daily from 10:00 to 21:00 - also during church services. Registration is not necessary.

“Vaccinating is an act of self-protection and solidarity and charity, because by vaccinating, others are also protected,” stressed Mayor Michael Ludwig, at the opening of the vaccination center in the Cathedral. “In addition to the free tests, vaccination is the best remedy against the pandemic,” Ludwig said. The symbolic offer of vaccination in the most important church in the country, he said, is a sign of cooperation and centuries of good understanding between the city and the church. Together with Cardinal Schönborn, Mayor Ludwig is one of the patrons of the association “Unser Stephansdom” (“Our St. Stephen's Cathedral”), which is committed to preserving the Gothic church.

Cardinal Schönborn and Steffl landlord Cathedral priest Faber welcomed the City of Vienna's push for a vaccination station in the cathedral, which is now the 19th offer of free protection against coronavirus. Schönborn reminded that Pope Francis supported vaccination as a means against the pandemic. The church wants to be prepared for the challenges of the times, which includes making the place of worship available for the vaccination campaign, Schönborn said.

Faber assured that the vaccinations would not disrupt the ongoing operations in the church with visitors and services. Vaccinations will also take place during Mass - “in some circumstances even with choir accompaniment.”

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” said Health Councillor Peter Hacker. The vaccination in St. Stephen's Cathedral is part of the city of Vienna's strategy to use the summer to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to as many people as possible, he added. That's why vaccinations are given in Vienna where people can be reached particularly well, directly and at a low threshold - “that's swimming areas, during leisure activities and also in places like churches,” Hacker said. Through the numerous vaccination offers without an appointment, around 50,000 Viennese have been reached so far in addition to the vaccinations in the municipal vaccination centers. Hacker appealed to all Viennese, “No matter for what reason, whether out of selfishness, charity or solidarity - go get vaccinated. It is important that as many people as possible get vaccinated to end the pandemic.”

The vaccination in the Church will be administered by vaccination teams of the Order of Malta and St. John. The majority of the vaccines will be from Johnson&Johnson, but people under 18 will receive the Biontech-Pfizer vaccine. Up to 220 people can be vaccinated per day at this location.

City of Vienna