Pope Francis challenges vaccine skeptics

Pope Francis challenges vaccine skeptics
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisRetired pope says he hopes to soon join friends in 'the afterlife' Religion and the G-20: With faith, we can move mountains The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE on Wednesday questioned those skeptical of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, pointing to what he referred to as humanity's "history of friendship with vaccines," The Associated Press reported.

“Even in the College of Cardinals, there are some negationists,” Francis said while on a plane headed back to the Vatican from Slovakia.

The pope, 84, got vaccinated in January. Apart from his age, the pope is considered to be immunocompromised due to having a lung removed when he was a young man.

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During his remarks, Francis also appeared to reference U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was hospitalized after contracting the coronavirus and placed on a ventilator in August, referring to a "poor guy" who went to the hospital with COVID-19.

“It’s a bit strange, because humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines,” Francis said when asked about people who are still opposed to getting a COVID-19 shot. The pope attributed this "virulence of uncertainty" to the variety of COVID-19 vaccines that are available, the speed at which they were approved and the divisive debates surrounding the medicine.

When addressing people who are still afraid of getting vaccinated, the pope advised that “they have to clarify that and talk with serenity.”

The AP noted that Francis did not make mention of religious opposition to getting vaccinated. Some people have claimed religious objection to getting vaccinated, citing an indirect connection to a line of cells derived from aborted fetuses.

Francis has repeatedly spoken out in favor of COVID-19 vaccines, saying in a public service ad released last month that getting vaccinated is “an act of love."

“Being vaccinated with vaccines authorized by the competent authorities is an act of love. And contributing to ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love," he said. “Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable.”