Church of England bishops have joined with other church leaders to encourage communities to combat misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine. The leaders have been releasing videos as part of the NHS-backed #GiveHope campaign, urging people to encourage one another to take up offers of vaccines and to hold conversations about the scientific facts.
While the government is on track to hit its vaccination targets, uptake amongst many ethnic minority groups has been disproportionately low.
Those featured in the video include Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London - who leads the Church of England's recovery group - Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, Rt Revd Philip North, Bishop of Burnley and Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro, among others.
"We are all followers of Jesus Christ, and while our churches may look different, there is one thing we all agree upon - we have to everything in our power to give hope and to stop Covid," Cottrell says in the video.
Bishop Mullally added that most have "experienced fear and loss" as a result of the virus, noting that Covid-19 has "revealed the inequalities in our society".
"One thing we can all do is to ensure that we take the vaccine when it is offered," added Bishop Hudson-Wilkin.
The leaders addressed the fact that many appear to be hesitant about taking the vaccine; they reminded viewers that it is entirely safe and suggested that those who are unsure can always ask medical professionals to inform them of the scientific evidence.
"They've been robustly tested by some of the world's best scientists and healthcare experts," said Bishop Mountstephen.
"If you're uncertain, don't just refuse the vaccine, but ask your GP and pharmacist," added the Bishop of Loughborough, Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani. "They will give you the evidence about the vaccines," added Bishop Mullally.
"This is one of the best and fastest routes out of this terrible pandemic," assured the Bishop of Dudley, Rt Revd Martin Gorrick.
Archbishop Cotrell concluded: "By taking this vaccine, we hasten the day when we can be together again."
"It's an act of love for our neighbours," added Paul Butler, Rt Revd Bishop of Durham.
"I believe, as a Christian, that God has given wonderful gifts to scientists and those who work with the technology...to those who have managed the programmes to make sure these vaccines are safe," said the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft. "All these gifts come from God, and they are for the healing and wellbeing of humankind."
The bishops then personally committed to taking the vaccine when it is made available to them.
"When my turn comes, I will certainly be taking the vaccine," said the Bishop of Buckingham, Rt Revd Alan Wilson.
Bishop Hudson-Wilkin added: "If the vaccine is good enough for her majesty, then it is good enough for us."