SALT LAKE CITY — Eight of the top leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as the church issued a statement in support of the worldwide vaccination effort.
According to The Church, the immunizations were administered Tuesday morning to the Church’s leaders that are over the age of 70.
All three members of the First Presidency and five members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and most of their spouses received the vaccine. That includes 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 First Presidency has also released a statement on vaccinations and immunization against preventable diseases. It stated: “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.”
In March 2020 as the pandemic spread across the world, the Church canceled meetings, closed temples, and restricted other activities.
The statement concluded: “Now, COVID-19 vaccines that many have worked, prayed, and fasted for are being developed, and some are being provided…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.”
The Bear River Health Department reports vaccines are being offered to healthcare providers, first responders, K-12 teachers and staff, and individuals 70 years of age and older. They indicate that demand for vaccine still outpaces supply.