Pope Francis urges people to get COVID-19 vaccines

"Thanks to God's grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19," the pope said in a video message made on behalf of the nonprofit U.S. group the Ad Council and the public health coalition COVID Collaborative.

Vaccines are widely available in mainly wealthier nations, but mistrust and hesitancy over the newly developed shots have meant that many people are refusing to take them, leaving them especially vulnerable as the Delta variant spreads.

By contrast, poorer nations still do not have access to large-scale vaccine supplies.

Medical experts have warned that ever-more dangerous variants might develop if the virus is allowed to circulate in large pools of non-vaccinated people.

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