SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with seven other senior leaders of the faith, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.
All three members of the First Presidency, including President Nelson, and five members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received the vaccine under the Utah rollout plan, which expanded this week to include residents over the age of 70.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Utah began with health care workers and first responders, before expanding to school districts and people over the age of 70.
In a statement, the church said President Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, received the vaccine, along with President Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, Kristen, President Henry B. Eyring, President M. Russell Ballard, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Patricia, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet, Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Mary, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife, Kathy.
President Nelson shared a photo of himself receiving the vaccine in an Instagram post. He expressed gratitude both for the vaccine and for all of the people whose hard work led to the distribution of it.
“As a former surgeon and medical researcher, I know something of the effort needed to accomplish such a remarkable feat,” he wrote. “Producing a safe, effective vaccine in less than a year is nothing short of miraculous.”
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President Nelson noted he was a young surgeon when Dr. Jonas Salk announced the development of a polio vaccine in 1953.
“I then watched the dramatic impact that vaccine had on eradicating polio as most people around the world were vaccinated,” he continued.
According to President Nelson, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to donate resources to help provide vaccines in developing countries.
“My professional and ecclesiastical experiences convince me that vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life,” he said.
President Nelson served two years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War, working on a team that helped improve the way wounded troops are treated. After his Army career, he returned to Utah and joined the faculty at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he used a heart-lung bypass machine that he built to support the state’s first open-heart surgery. In 1968, he replaced the damaged aortic valve of future church leader President Spencer W. Kimball.
Bonneville International Corporation, the company that owns KSL NewsRadio, is a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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