'An act of love': Pope urges people to get COVID shots

Pope Francis and President Obama

Pope Francis, a vaccine activist who earlier called for more COVID-19 shots to be made available worldwide, now says taking the experimental shots is a good thing because it’s “an act of love.”

He explained, “Getting the vaccines that are authorized by the respective authorities is an act of love… Love to oneself, and love for one’s family and friends.”

In online videos, he said, in a message recorded in Spanish, that “thanks to God’s grace and the work of many we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19.”

Of course, that was only partly accurate, as many experts as assessing the vaccines as offering very little help in fighting off the new variants of COVID-19 that have become prevalent around the world.

According to Politico, Francis has “significant” influence over the 1.3 billion Catholics around the globe. He earlier had lobbied for shots to be made available to more people, especially those in the developing world.

At the time, he said, “They bring us hope that the pandemic may end, but only if they are available to all and if we collaborate with one another.”

Politico explained Francis’ messaging “comes amid ongoing debate, especially in more conservative or religious communities, over the efficacy and safety of vaccines. In Poland, an overwhelmingly Catholic-majority country, local church authorities have sent mixed signals over vaccines and government public health efforts.”

Among the concerns is the fact that many of today’s vaccines are developed using fetal tissue, a fact that is offensive to Christians worldwide.

And while the virus, which likely escaped from a lab experimenting on those diseases in Wuhan, China, has killed millions around the globe, there also have been deaths reported from reactions to the shots.

A recent online commentary explains that using “religious appeals” is “particularly effective at converting the hesitant and facilitating vaccination.”

The commentary is from Robert P. Jones, founder of Public Religion Research Institute, and Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core.

“There is a ray of light in the doomsday sky. Our recent PRRI/IFYC Religion and the Vaccine Survey found clear progress in vaccine uptake, even among many hesitant groups, between the first wave of the survey in March and the second wave in June,” the reported. “Vaccine acceptance is up (from 58% to 71%), and vaccine hesitancy has been cut in half (from 28% to 15%). Today, only 13% are vaccine refusers.”

They pointed out of the 11 groups that had the highest proportion of adherents who were either vaccine hesitant or refusers, five were religious. But they said, “Today, each of these groups is majority vaccine acceptant.”

“Among Americans who are vaccinated and regularly attend religious services, about one-third (32%) report that faith-based interventions made them more likely to get vaccinated. Vaccinated Hispanic Protestants (54%) and Black Protestants (42%) who regularly attend religious services were particularly likely to say that faith-based interventions helped persuade them to roll up their sleeves,” they explained.

They lobbied for money for groups doing vaccinations, and cite the Delta variant as a wild card for school reopenings and more. In fact, that variant seems capable of infecting the vaccinated as easily as the unvaccinated.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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