SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints urged its members to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's their turn, while announcing Tuesday that eight top leaders and most of their wives received their first doses.
Church President Russell M. Nelson, 96, and the others are over the age of 70. They received the shots in Utah, where the state's plan has shifted to getting seniors vaccinated after first delivering shots to health care workers and first responders.
The faith acknowledged that people must make their own decisions, but encouraged members to get vaccinated in a news release Tuesday.
“As appropriate opportunities become available, the church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization,” the church said in a statement.
Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor to Nelson and a member of a top governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve, was among those getting the vaccine. The 88-year-old said he's hopeful the widespread distribution of vaccines will help the world “get ahead of this awful pandemic.”