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Pope Francis urges people to get vaccinated, calling it 'an act of love'

"Being vaccinated is an act of love," Pope Francis said in a video message. "To ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love."
/ Source: NBC News

Pope Francis delivered a call to action for the world: Get vaccinated.

"Being vaccinated is an act of love," he said in a public service announcement released Wednesday. "To ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love."

The pontiff and six other church officials from North, Central and South America called getting inoculated a moral obligation.

"Thanks to God and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19," Francis said. "They grant us the hope of ending the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we work together."

He continued: "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; no matter how small, love is always great. Contribute with these small gestures for a better future.”

The Vatican in December declared that taking the vaccine was “morally acceptable.” Both Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict, have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The pope joins a growing list of leaders and celebrities urging the public to get vaccinated, including former U.S. presidents, first ladies and pop singer Olivia Rodrigo. The messages are part of an ongoing campaign to help curb the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 around the world, particularly in the U.S.

In the U.S. alone, the country has logged a total of more than 37 million cases and 625,000 deaths as of Tuesday — the highest of any country in the world, according to an NBC News tally.

There have been nearly 4.3 million deaths worldwide among the over 208 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.