Biden urges religious leaders to tell people to not be 'fearful' of the COVID-19 vaccine: 'It's about protecting people'

  • Biden urged faith leaders to tell members of their community to get vaccinated. 
  • “When they’re in your sanctuaries, you can talk to them about what we have to do,” Biden said.
  • Polling has shown white Evangelical Christians are especially skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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President Joe Biden on Thursday called on religious leaders to urge people within their communities to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“We need you to spread the word. Let people in our communities, in your communities know how important it is to get everyone vaccinated when it’s their turn,” Biden said during a weekly call with faith and community leaders. “And soon, they’ll just be able to just line up and just get their name on a list. And that’s how we’re going to defeat this virus. And that’s how we’re going to come together again in our communities, in our houses of worship, in my view.”

Biden said he’s concerned people are becoming too “cavalier” about COVID-19 as states across the country see spikes in cases.

“We’re not finished with this,” the president warned, going on to say that while some people see COVID-19 protocols as an “imposition on people’s freedoms” he sees adhering to public health recommendations as “a goodly thing to do.”

“Protect your brother and sister. That’s what this is about. It’s about protecting people. It’s a patriotic duty I think we have,” Biden added. 

The president told faith leaders that their congregants would be more likely to listen to them on these issues, imploring them to use that influence to get people to go get vaccinated.

“When they’re in your sanctuaries, you can talk to them about what we have to do, what’s available, and not to be fearful — not to be fearful getting the vaccine,” Biden said.

Though the US has administered more doses of COVID-19 vaccines than any country in the world — roughly 29% of the population — there’s still some hesitancy surrounding the vaccine. Polling has shown Republicans and white Evangelical Christians are particularly skeptical of the vaccine. The Biden administration has expressed concern that the ongoing hesitancy will hurt the country’s ability to reach herd immunity.  

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