Church Encourages Missionaries To Get COVID-19 Vaccine
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Missionaries and prospective missionaries have been encouraged to safeguard themselves and others by getting a COVID-19 vaccine. In a release, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said those who do not will be assigned to serve in their home countries.
The Missionary Department of the Church sent a message to members Friday as COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available in many places worldwide.
“Under the direction of their mission leaders, mission medical coordinators are monitoring the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in their mission and informing missionaries when they may receive it,” officials said. “Young missionaries in the United States who will travel to a mission outside their home country on or after Aug. 1, 2021, should be vaccinated before traveling. Senior missionaries may travel to their assigned mission, where visa and travel conditions permit, after they have been vaccinated.
The Missionary Department of the Church is encouraging all missionaries and prospective missionaries to safeguard themselves and others by being vaccinated against COVID-19. Click the link to read the full message.
— The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (@Ch_JesusChrist) April 23, 2021
“Missionaries who have begun a COVID-19 vaccination series should complete it before traveling,” the release said.
KSL-TV spoke with three friends from Northern Utah all making final preparations for their missions.
Sam Gibby was headed to France for his mission.
“I was super stoked when I received the call. I couldn’t really believe it,” he said,
Eli Langeveld is headed to South America.
“I’m so excited to be able to go and serve the people in Argentina,” he said.
Jett Child won’t be quite as far south.
“Panama, actually,” he said.
Each of them planned to do whatever is required to make it to their assigned countries.
“I’m thinking with this new announcement that missionaries have to be vaccinated, that will help open up the borders for all of these countries and that we’ll be able to go and serve the people that we were called to serve,” Langeveld said.
He and Gibby have already been given their first doses. Child was making arrangements for his.
“I don’t think there can be any harm from it. I think it’s almost a necessary thing for us as we go into people’s houses and encountering with so many people,” Child said.
Officials said missionaries who choose not to receive their required immunizations, which now includes COVID-19 vaccines, will be assigned to a mission in their home country, in accordance with existing Church policies.
“As the COVID-19 vaccination becomes more widely available in other countries, these missionaries will be asked to be vaccinated before leaving their home country,” they said.
The Church has recognized the importance of vaccinations and immunization for decades.
“We urge members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to protect their own children through immunization,” the First Presidency said in 1978.
Members of the First Presidency received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses on Jan. 19, along with five members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and most of their wives.
The First Presidency urged Latter-day Saints to be “good global citizens” and help slow the spread of the virus by getting immunized.
“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,” they said. “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.”
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