Pope Francis said on Wednesday he was puzzled why so many people, including some cardinals in Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, have refused to get inoculated against Covid-19.
"It is a bit strange because humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines," he said aboard the plane returning from Slovakia, responding to a question from a reporter about the reasons for vaccine hesitancy.
"As children (we were vaccinated) for measles, polio. All the children were vaccinated and no one said anything," he said.
Francis, who has been vaccinated against Covid, has often urged others to get inoculated for the common good.
On the plane, he said perhaps some people were afraid at first because there were various vaccines available and some turned out to be "little more than distilled water".
He did not name any vaccines.
"Even in the College of Cardinals there are some vaccine negationists," he said. "But one of them, poor thing, has been hospitalised with the virus. These are the ironies of life."
Cardinal Raymond Burke, a conservative and a vaccine sceptic, was hospitalised in the United States last month after contracting the virus.
Some conservative anti-vaccine bishops, particularly in the United States, have said Catholics should have the possibility of claiming conscientious objection to the vaccine on religious grounds.