ROME — The Vatican is opening a three-day health conference featuring a star-studded lineup. It includes Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is leading the U.S. coronavirus response, soprano Renee Fleming, the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna and the lead guitarist of Aerosmith.
The conference is addressing COVID-19 and other global health threats, and how science, solidarity and spirituality can address them. Fauci says the key to overcoming current vaccine hesitancy is pairing the right medical message with the right messenger.
“You have someone who’s a deeply religious person who will listen to their clergy. That’s different than me with a suit going into an area telling people to do something,” he said.
Organizers say the conference, which runs Thursday through Saturday, has taken on more relevance amid a growing appreciation of the need for global access to health care, advances in vaccine technology and greater understanding of mental health during the pandemic.
Pope Francis sent a special message of prayer to India amid its coronavirus surge. Francis says he is thinking especially of all those who have lost loved ones, and praying for “perseverance, strength and peace” for hospital workers, ambulance drivers and others tending to the sick.