Pope Francis, along with other leading Catholic clergy, is urging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in a new public service announcement produced in part by the US-based Ad Council.

"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 new video that was launched on August 18. 

"Getting the vaccines that are authorized by the respective authorities is an act of love. I pray to God that each one of us can make his or her own small gesture of love, no matter how small, love is always grand."

Elsewhere in the new video are endorsements from Archbishop José Horacio Gomez Velasco (Los Angeles, CA, USA), Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes (Mexico City, Mexico), Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga (Tegucigalpa, Honduras), Cardinal Cláudio Hummes (Sao Paolo, Brasil), Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez (San Salvador, El Salvador) and Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte (Trujillo, Perú).

The new creative, made in cooperation with the Vatican's Dicastery for Integral Human Development, is a part of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, which is described as "a massive communications effort to educate the public and build confidence around the COVID-19 vaccines."

Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council, said: “The role of trusted messengers to educate and inspire their networks is undeniable – and has been a core element of our COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative since the beginning.

“To the world’s billion-plus Catholics, the Pope is one of the most trusted messengers and holds unparalleled influence. We are extremely grateful to him and the Cardinals and Archbishops for lending their voices and platforms to help people across the globe feel more confident in the vaccines.”

John Bridgeland, co-founder and CEO of the COVID Collaborative, said: “Faith-based leaders and institutions play such a significant role in reminding us of our common humanity.

“With these powerful words from Pope Francis and the Cardinals and Archbishops from across the globe, their message will inspire millions to take action to ‘love thy neighbor’ during this pandemic.”

The newly-released video is one of the Ad Council’s “It’s Up To You” campaign’s tentpole collaborations with trusted messengers, delivering 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. 

A National Faith Steering Committee was formed at the onset of the COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative to inform elements of the overall strategy, serve as trusted voices in their communities, help develop resources for other faith leaders nationwide, and participate in virtual events. 

Fr. Manuel Dorantes of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who serves on the Faith Steering Committee, helped identify and implement this opportunity with Pope Francis to extend the Ad Council’s work on a global scale.

“Faith-based leaders and institutions play such a significant role in reminding us of ur common humanity,” said John Bridgeland, Co-Founder, and CEO of the COVID Collaborative. 

“With these powerful words from Pope Francis and the Cardinals and Archbishops from across the globe, their message will inspire millions to take action to ‘love thy neighbor’ during this pandemic.”

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