Pope Francis has joined the global effort to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations by taking part in a video public service announcement.
The PSA features the pope and six Cardinals and Archbishops from North, Central and South America, the Ad Council said in a statement.
To reach global audiences, specifically communities disproportionately affected by the virus, versions of the video will be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese "reminding viewers that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and save lives," the Ad Council said. The campaign is part of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.
Globally, nearly 4.5 billion vaccines doses have been administered, according to the World Health Organization. There have been nearly 4.4 million deaths among the over 207 million worldwide COVID-19 confirmed cases.
More than half of the U.S. is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 200 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose, according to NBC News.
"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 video "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."
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Noticias Telemundo and NBC News NOW will also stream a virtual event on digital platforms Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. ET hosted by anchor José Díaz-Balart, who will be joined by top medical experts, community leaders and actress Eva Longoria.