Forget panettone, Pope giving paracetamol for Christmas

A practical pontiff who has eschewed consumerism, Pope Francis is giving Vatican employees boxes of cold and flu relief pills for Christmas this year.

A Vatican source confirmed to AFP that the unconventional gift has already begun to be sent out to the Vatican state’s 4,000 employees.

A photograph in Il Messaggero daily showed stacks of pills for cold and flu in boxes labelled “Gift of the Holy Father to Vatican employees (five boxes per employee).”

Cold and rainy weather has spread over Rome and the flu vaccine has been late in arriving this year in Italy.

Experts are concerned a surge in flu cases in January will exacerbate strains on a health care system already struggling to overcome the second wave of coronavirus cases. (AFP)