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Maine’s bishop: Support ‘common good,’ get COVID-19 vaccine

“Should I receive it when it is available to me? My answer is a resounding ‘yes,’” Bishop Robert Deeley said.

PORTLAND, Maine — The bishop of Maine’s Roman Catholic diocese is calling on all Christians — and everyone else — to get the coronavirus vaccine when it’s available to them.

Bishop Robert Deeley of the Diocese of Portland said he has been fielding questions from Christians in the state about his perspective on the vaccine. He said Thursday he unequivocally supports vaccines for everyone.

“Our first response must be to give thanks to God for the scientific advancement and talent that helped to create such lifesaving vaccines,” Deeley said. “I have already been asked several times: should I receive the vaccine when it is available to me? My answer is a resounding yes.”

Deeley said he is concerned about enough people using the vaccine in Maine because the state has had lower than average rates of vaccine uptake in the past. That has led to resurgences of diseases such as whooping cough in the state. He said it’s imperative for Catholics to “care about the common good.”

“Catholics care about the common good,” Deeley said. “The Gospel calls us to care for each other. Even before COVID-19, Maine had one of the lowest rates of immunization in the country. There has been an increase in cases of whooping cough and other communicable diseases.”

Early data suggests the two U.S. frontrunners -- one vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech and another by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health -- offer strong protection. The Food and Drug Administration is poring over study results to be sure the shots are safe before deciding in the coming days whether to allow mass vaccinations, as Britain began doing with Pfizer's shots on Tuesday.


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