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Latter-day Saint Church president Russell M. Nelson, other senior leaders receive first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints receives his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Posted at 10:28 AM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 12:33:06-05

SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Wendy, received COVID-19 vaccine doses Tuesday morning.

"We are thankful for the countless individuals who performed the work required to make this possible. We have prayed for this literal godsend. Receiving the vaccine is part of our personal efforts to be good global citizens," a tweet from Nelson said.

Nelson and seven other senior leaders of the Latter-day Saint Church received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Salt Lake City Tuesday, a news release from the church says.

"These leaders qualify for the vaccine in Utah because they are over the age of 70. Health care workers, first responders and other high-priority recipients in the state had the opportunity to be vaccinated in recent weeks," the release says. "Receiving the vaccine were all three members of the First Presidency and five members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and most of their spouses: President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy; President Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, Kristen; President Henry B. Eyring; President M. Russell Ballard; Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Patricia; Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet; Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Mary; and Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife, Kathy."

The Latter-day Saint church's first presidency released the following statement on vaccinations Tuesday:

In word and deed, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported vaccinations for generations. As a prominent component of our humanitarian efforts, the Church has funded, distributed and administered life-saving vaccines throughout the world. Vaccinations have helped curb or eliminate devastating communicable diseases, such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox and measles. Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life.

As this pandemic spread across the world, the Church immediately canceled meetings, closed temples, and restricted other activities because of our desire to be good global citizens and do our part to fight the pandemic.

Now, COVID-19 vaccines that many have worked, prayed, and fasted for are being developed, and some are being provided. Under the guidelines issued by local health officials, vaccinations were first offered to health care workers, first responders, and other high-priority recipients. Because of their age, Senior Church leaders over 70 now welcome the opportunity to be vaccinated.

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. Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination. In making that determination, we recommend that, where possible, they counsel with a competent medical professional about their personal circumstances and needs.