Amidst an ongoing pandemic, the First Presidency of the Church advises individuals to get vaccinated and wear face masks in public gatherings where social distancing isn’t possible.

On Aug. 12, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a message to members throughout the world, advising them to take the necessary precautions to fight the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

“We find ourselves fighting a war against the ravages of COVID-19 and its variants, an unrelenting pandemic. We can win this war if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders.”

The First Presidency urged individuals to get vaccinated for the protection of themselves and those around them.

“We want to do all we can to limit the spread of these viruses. We know that protection from the diseases they cause can only be achieved by immunizing a very high percentage of the population … To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated.”

According to his biography on the Church website, President Russell M. Nelson, the President of the Church, is an internationally renowned heart surgeon and medical researcher. President Nelson, alongside the two other members of the First Presidency, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring, say the vaccines are safe.

The First Presidency also invites members to wear face masks in public when they aren’t able to social distance.

“To limit exposure to these viruses, we urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible.”

Prior to this announcement, other church leaders also stressed the importance of face masks. In December 2020, Elder Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, described wearing face masks as a sign of Christlike love and encouraged individuals to wear them for the protection of those around them.

“Sadly, responses to the pandemic have been politicized and contentious,” Elder Renlund said. “Ours, need not be. These steps demonstrate our love for others, and provide us a measure of protection. Wearing a face covering is a sign of Christlike love for our brothers and sisters. COVID-19 is serious. Its consequences are not yet fully understood.”

The First Presidency closed their message by expressing their love and concern for all children of God.

“Please know of our sincere love and great concern for all of God’s children.”