Pope Francis fronts Ad Council campaign urging followers to take the Covid-19 vaccine
Pope Francis has added his voice to those of health and government officials calling on people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in a bid to convince waverers and doubters to place their faith in science and encourage richer nations to send more vaccines to the poorest.
Why has Pope Francis got involved?
Arguing that receiving the vaccine isn’t just in your own best interest, but also humanity’s, Pope Francis is harnessing his moral authority to boost take-up and bring the pandemic to an end sooner rather than later.
In a video address delivered on behalf of the Ad Council and the Covid Collaborative, Pope Francis said: “Thanks to God’s grace 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.
“Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable. I pray to God that everyone may contribute their own small grain of sand, their own small gesture of love.”
The authoritative intervention comes amid an explosion of anti-vaxxer falsehoods and misrepresentations propagating on the internet, which have hit vaccination drives by sowing doubt and mistrust among the population.
This prompted the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative to seek ways to counter this narrative by issuing public service announcements across television, websites and social media.
The call comes amid alarm from health experts that allowing Covid-19 to circulate uncontrolled in the general population will only increase the risk of a new and more deadly variant emerging.
Leading by example, Pope Francis was himself vaccinated in March, describing the procedure as an ethical obligation for all.
Past efforts to combat anti-vaxxers have focused on the stick, with Facebook banning all anti-vaxxer ads – but not related content.