The Catholic Health Association (CHA) is urging Americans to “love thy neighbor” by getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Sister Mary Haddad wrote in an editorial published in Modern Healthcare, published on September 3, 2021.

Sister Mary is CEO and President of CHA.

“Some may suggest that there are moral and religious concerns to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” Sister Mary observed. “We strongly affirm the position of the leaders of the Catholic Church: the vaccines are morally acceptable and getting vaccinated is “an act of love.” she asserted.

CHA launched a portal on the act of love, featuring lots of science-based articles and features to bolster health literacy on the topic of vaccines, vaccinations, and public health.

“We also believe that broader acceptance of the vaccine is critical to our individual and collective health and well-being, allowing us to attend family gatherings, visit friends and worship together safely,” she shared in the editorial.

The “love they neighbor” website includes social assets to share, starting with the Twitter hashtag, #LoveThyNeighbor as shown in the first graphic. The social media assets include badges, example tweets, stories and images that can be used to bolster the #LoveThyNeighbor vaccination message. CHA also recommends use of a second hashtag, #CatholicCares.

This first image was captured from CHA’s short video on the campaign. Here’s a view on that wonderful colorful video…

CHA represents the largest group of not-for-profit health care providers in the U.S. Based on their geographic target markets and missions, CHA hospital members have served patients facing the coronavirus since the emergence of the pandemic in early 2020. They have treated more than their “fair” share of patients who earn lower incomes, people of color, and folks presenting with higher risks of social determinants of health challenges.

Interviewed in the Jesuit magazine America in August 2021, Sister Mary was quoted to say, “I do believe that we need to mandate the vaccine.”

The article in America explained that, as a “collective,” CHA must be cautious, risk-managing potential litigation and union backlash. Nonetheless, Sister Mary stated, “I’m at the point of saying, ‘I don’t care. I’m human; we’ve got to get control of this [pandemic].”

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Sister Mary told America that the Catholic Church has not been, in her words, “well-served” by certain bishops in the U.S. who have been anti-vaccine in the COVID era.

“Religious exemptions are just driving me mad. There’s no grounds for this, at least in the Catholic faith. We’ve been very clear [and] the Vatican has been very clear that these [vaccines] are morally acceptable, and people should be getting these vaccines.”

The Vatican wrote up a message on the moral acceptability of vaccines on 20 December 2020, which you can read in full here.

As for the Vatican, I happened upon a fascinating video we shared with one particular friend in Spain who has been hesitant to get vaccinated. This video features Pope Francis and colleagues all imploring their brothers and sisters to get vaccinates….as an act of love. You can see the co-branding with the Ad Council’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. Speaking of trusted messengers!

Amen and amen.