Top Church of England cleric: Getting vaccinated a moral issue

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said Tuesday that getting a COVID-19 vaccine and booster dose are a moral issue, during an interview with ITV News.

Welby was asked during the interview if he believed that getting vaccinated was a moral issue. He said that "a lot of people won't like," his answer, but that he agreed that it was.

"It's not about me and my rights to choose. It's about how I love my neighbor," Welby explained. "Vaccination reduces my chances-doesn't eliminate-but reduces my chances of getting ill and reducing my chances of getting ill, reduces my chances of infecting others. It's very simple."

Welby also added, "To love one another as Jesus said, get vaccinated, get boosted."

"Go and get boosted, go and get vaccinated it's how we love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor is what Jesus told us to do. It's Christmas, do what he said."

Welby's comments on the vaccine come as the U.K. battles a surge in coronavirus cases before Christmas. The omicron variant, first discovered in South Africa, has spiked in the country.

Welby also said that he was "puzzled" by anti-vaccine protests.

"I don't understand it because it seems to me... I'm not a scientist. I do know some of the scientists doing this. They're not evil people, you know, this is not a conspiracy... it's not a plot. They are not bad people... What I think is that they know what they're doing better than we do."

Welby joins other religious leaders who have pushed for their communities to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Pope Francis was vaccinated in January of 2021, and has spoken largely about the benefits and cruciality of getting the jab.

Francis said: "It is an ethical choice because you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others."

Francis also stated that he found vaccine skeptics' beliefs to be "strange" because of humanity's "history of friendship" with vaccination.

In August of this year, Francis also participated in a public ad campaign and called getting vaccinated "an act of love," adding, "vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable. Thanks to God's grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19," Francis added.

"They grant us the hope of ending the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we work together."

In March, 2021, the Dalai Lama also got vaccinated against COVID-19 and encouraged others to do, touting its benefits.

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