NIH director pleads with evangelicals to 'look at the evidence' on vaccines

NIH director pleads with evangelicals to 'look at the evidence' on vaccines
© Greg Nash

The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made a plea on Saturday to unvaccinated evangelical Christians to “look at the evidence” on COVID-19 vaccines and get the jab.

CNN anchor Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaLofgren: Many Jan. 6 panel witnesses are former Trump officials CNN's Acosta labels Tucker Carlson Jan. 6 series 'Proud Boy porn' Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE asked NIH Director Francis Collins during an on-air interview about his message to evangelicals and other religious communities who have cited their faith as the reason not to get the vaccine.

Collins has previously stated that he is an evangelical Christian. Acosta noted that the NIH director received pushback over his faith and "how it might factor into your role as a man of science” when he first started his position.

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“If you are a Christian, or if you're anybody who has not yet gotten vaccinated, hit the reset button on whatever information you have that's causing you to be doubtful or hesitant or fearful and look at the evidence,” Collins replied. “The evidence is overwhelming, the vaccines are safe, they're effective, they can save your life.”

The comments from the NIH director come after he announced earlier this week that he would be stepping down from his post after decades of service.

He told Acosta that it was “truly heartbreaking” people were losing their lives to COVID-19 unnecessarily with vaccines at Americans’ disposal.

Some Christian communities have objected to the COVID-19 vaccine because fetal cell lines have been involved in some vaccines' testing or development. According to The Associated Press, those cells used today are clones and not the original ones taken from fetal tissue. 

Fetal cell lines are also not present in the vaccines. 

Rev. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas told The Associated Press in an email interview earlier this year that "there is no credible religious argument" against getting the COVID-19 vaccine. He claimed that if people wanted to object to the COVID-19 vaccine, they should refrain from using other medication that had also used fetal cell lines.

“Christians who are troubled by the use of a fetal cell line for the testing of the vaccines would also have to abstain from the use of Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Ibuprofen, and other products that used the same cell line if they are sincere in their objection,” Jeffress, a supporter of former President TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE told the AP.