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Pope Francis walks in the Paul VI hall as he arrives for his weekly general audience on Wednesday in the Vatican. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli /AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis is encouraging people around the world to get the COVID-19 vaccine in a new public service advertisement.

What he's saying: "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," Francis says in the ad, which features other Catholic church leaders from the U.S. and Latin America.

  • "Getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable," he adds.

The big picture: The pope worked with the nonprofit Ad Council to produce its first campaign outside the United States, per the New York Times. The ad will start circulating online and on television on Wednesday.

  • The campaign comes as vaccine hesitancy for some members of religious communities persists, but may be waning, per the NYT.
  • Vaccine acceptance among Hispanic Catholics in the United States rose to 80% in June, up from 56% in March, according to a June survey of more than 5,000 adults by the Public Religion Research Institute and Interfaith Youth Core nonprofit groups, the Times noted.
  • Acceptance for white Catholics jumped to 79% from 68%, per the same survey.
  • About 56% of Hispanic Protestants and white evangelical Protestants said they accepted the vaccine, however.
  • Other leaders from different faiths have initiated their own campaigns to encourage people to get vaccinated.

The bottom line: "Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19,” Pope Francis says 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."

Go deeper: Pope Francis urges vaccine distribution to poor countries

Go deeper

Oct 26, 2021 - World

Moderna to sell African countries up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses

A nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine at the Oltepesi Dispensary in Kajiado, Kenya. Photo: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna announced Tuesday it agreed to sell up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses to African countries, saying it's prepared to deliver 15 million doses in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Why it matters: The additional doses will help African Union member nations that are lagging behind vaccination targets set by the World Health Organization because of vaccine shortages, though the sale comes after Moderna faced criticism for not doing enough to vaccinate the world.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 26, 2021 - Health

FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-to-11-year-olds

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel Tuesday endorsed a two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5–11. The final vote was 17 members in favor, with one member abstaining.

Why it matters: While not binding, the decision is a long-awaited step toward getting COVID vaccines in the arms of some of the youngest Americans potentially in time to get many fully vaccinated in advance of the holiday season.

Oct 25, 2021 - World

U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign travelers will be allowed entry to the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 if they can provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a shot authorized by the World Health Organization and a negative test within three days of departure, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: The updated guidance, which exempts children under the age of 18 from the vaccine requirement, is intended to provide further clarity for airlines and foreign nationals who have been restricted from traveling to the U.S. since early 2020.