VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations in mid-January, giving priority to its health care workers, security personnel, employees who deal with the public and older residents, employees and retirees.

In a press release Jan. 2, the Vatican’s health services department said it purchased an “ultra-low temperature refrigerator” for storing the vaccines and said it expected to be receiving enough doses to cover “the needs of the Holy See and Vatican City State.”

The Vatican’s voluntary vaccination program will begin in mid-January in the large atrium of the Paul VI audience hall, it said. Those who have a higher risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus would be given priority, it said, such as those in contact with the public, health care workers and “the elderly.”

The Vatican reported its first known case of infection in early March, and since then there have been another 25 reported cases — including 11 Swiss guards in October.

In early December, Dr. Andrea Arcangeli, director of the Vatican health service, said they would begin with the Pfizer vaccine, which was developed in conjunction with BioNTech.