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Archbishop Lori encourages vaccinations as ‘act of charity and love’

As civic leaders hope to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks and months, Archbishop William E. Lori is renewing his call for everyone throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore to get vaccinated as “an act of charity and love.”

The archbishop took his own advice, recently receiving a vaccination at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

“I think it’s very important that we all get vaccinated because I think ultimately that’s how we are going to control this virus and that’s ultimately how we are going to restore and contribute to public safety,” Archbishop Lori said.

The archbishop said vaccinations are “an important thing to do for your family, for your coworkers (and) for the people all around you to make sure that you don’t get the disease, but also that you don’t transmit it.”

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Archbishop Lori pointed out that ethicists from the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops found it morally upright to take the available COVID-19 vaccinations. Maryland’s Catholic bishops released a statement in December encouraging the faithful to take the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as they become available. In January, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI both received vaccinations against COVID-19.

Maryland’s Department of Health points out that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep an individual from getting seriously ill even if he or she contracts COVID-19. Health officials note that those who contract the disease may develop some immunity, but it is not known how long the protection lasts. Getting vaccinated helps protect an individual by creating an antibody response without having to experience the illness.

As of Jan. 25, clergy and other essential support for houses of worship became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Phase 1C cohort of the vaccination rollout in Maryland. Phase 1C also includes workers in food and agriculture production, critical manufacturing, public mass transit, grocery stores, veterinary occupations, the media and the U.S. Postal Service. Public safety and health care workers who were not eligible in earlier phases are also included.

Earlier phases of cohorts eligible for the vaccine included licensed health care workers, teachers and school support staff. Currently, all residents age 65 and older are eligible to make appointments for vaccines. 

The Maryland Health Department has created a public web page for vaccination site listings at covidvax.maryland.gov.

Email George Matysek at gmatysek@CatholicReview.org

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