Pope appears in advertisement promoting COVID vaccinations
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When each individual makes a small act of charity, like getting the COVID-19 vaccine, every gesture added together can transform the world, Pope Francis said in a global ad campaign.
“Being vaccinated with vaccines authorized by the competent authorities is an act of love. And contributing to ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love — love for oneself, love for one’s family and friends, love for all people,” he said in a public service announcement released Aug. 18 in Rome.
The video message was part of a global effort by the U.S.-based nonpartisan, nonprofit Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative’s “It’s Up To You” campaign to increase people’s confidence in COVID-19 vaccines by reminding them that the vaccines are safe, effective and save people’s lives. The Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development also cooperated with the educational initiative.
The three-minute video in Spanish with English, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles features Pope Francis and six cardinals and archbishops from North and South America. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is among them.
The “It’s Up To You” campaign has been inviting “trusted messengers” to deliver “fact-based and life-saving information to populations hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccines, helping them to make informed decisions for themselves and their families,” it said in a joint news release with the Ad Council.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise worldwide, especially in North, Central and South America. Some nations are still showing very low rates of individuals who are fully vaccinated, such as Honduras with only 5.5% of the adult population and El Salvador with 30%.
While access to vaccines is a challenge, “confidence in the vaccines also presents a hurdle,” the news release said.
In his message, the pope said, “Thanks to God and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19. They grant us the hope of ending the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we work together.”
Getting inoculated “is an act of love” for oneself, family, friends and all people, he said.
“Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable,” the pope said.
Also offering messages encouraging vaccination were: Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico; Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, retired archbishop of São Paulo; Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador; and Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, Peru.