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The Pope Is in a New PSA, With an Urgent Message

Francis urges people to get vaccinated against COVID as 'an act of love'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2021 6:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – In facing the COVID conundrum around the world, the "strength of faith" can help—but most of all, everyone who can should get vaccinated. That's the message of a new PSA featuring six cardinals and archbishops from North, South, and Central America, as well as one especially big name in the Catholic arena: Pope Francis. In the three-minute promo from the Ad Council and a Vatican administrative department, available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, the pope praises the efforts of researchers and scientists in developing the vaccines, and implores those watching to get vaxxed. "Getting the vaccines that are authorized by the respective authorities is an act of love," Francis says in the ad. "And helping the majority of people to do so is an act of love." The half-dozen clergy members that co-star with the pope in the ad, hailing from the US, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, promote similar messaging.

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"We want to spread help to all without exception," says Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, the archbishop of Mexico City. Vaccine hesitancy and misinformation within the religious community at large has been a roadblock in getting more people inoculated, reports the New York Times, which adds that pastors, Orthodox Jewish rabbis, and Muslim groups have been publicly endorsing the shots to convince the faithful. Catholics especially have been wary, expressing concern that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a cell line from aborted fetal tissue in its research and production, per USA Today. The Vatican, however, has said it's "morally acceptable" to receive such vaccines, a message underscored by the PSA. "Getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable," Pope Francis, who was vaccinated earlier this year, says in the ad. "I pray to God that each one of us can make his or her own small gesture of love." (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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