Cardinal Sean O’Malley
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BOSTON – Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston announced Monday that he received the first of two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 24 at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton.

In a statement, the 76-year-old O’Malley said Dr. Joseph Weinstein, chief physician executive of Steward Health Care Network, had noted “that I qualified for the COVID vaccine” and offered to facilitate the inoculation.

“With recognition of the importance that all persons be vaccinated when possible I was very happy to receive this invitation,” the cardinal said. “I am grateful to have been in line for the vaccine and encourage all people to be vaccinated as the opportunity is presented, as an important action of care and concern for our loved ones, our communities and our nation. With the help of God and the excellent medical care provided at St. Elizabeth’s and many other hospitals, we will make our way through and beyond the pandemic.”

The archdiocese said O’Malley is scheduled to receive the second dose in January.

The ongoing first phase of vaccination has been limited to health care workers and long-term care residents and staff. Asked about O’Malley’s eligibility, an archdiocese spokesman said, “The Cardinal was invited by and encouraged to receive the vaccine from the highly skilled medical professionals at St Elizabeth’s Medical Center. Principally because of his age, 76, and his frequent and regular exposure to possible infection, even with a more remote based schedule. There is also a need for people in leadership positions to send the message of both the importance of being vaccinated as well as, for our faith community, the moral legitimacy of the vaccine and obligation to accept it when possible to protect and save lives and promote the common good.”