Pope Francis added his voice and support to COVID-19 vaccination through a public service video message released Wednesday.
“Getting the vaccines that are authorized by the respective authorities is an act of love. And helping the majority of people to do so is an act of love,” said the pontiff, who was vaccinated this year, along with Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. “Getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable. I pray to God that each one of us can make his or her own small gesture of love.”
Pope Francis worked with the nonprofit Ad Council to create the public service video, which is in Spanish with English subtitles and features other Catholic Church officials from the United States, Mexico, Brazil and other countries, according to The New York Times.
“Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19,” the pope said in the ad. “They bring hope to end the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we collaborate with one another.”
Pope Francis shared the video on Twitter with his nearly 19 million followers along with the words, “Vaccination is a simple way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable.”
The pope’s public service ad comes after several prominent religious leaders, including the dalai lama, the archbishop of Canterbury, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many others have been vaccinated, often documenting it publicly, according to KSL.com.
“Pope Francis has made it very clear that it is morally acceptable to take any of the (COVID-19) vaccines and said we have the moral responsibility to get vaccinated,” a July 30 memo from the Archdiocese of New York said.
In the U.S., the worst-affected country in terms of COVID-19 deaths, the vast majority of new fatalities and serious cases are among the unvaccinated, according to CBSnews.com.