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President Joe Biden encourages Americans to get vaccinated in Easter message

April 4 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden delivered a message of hope on Easter Sunday as they encouraged Americans to get vaccinated.

In a video posted to his Twitter account, the president said the White House echoes the sentiments of Pope Francis who described getting vaccinated as a moral obligation and stressed the importance of widespread inoculations to resuming traditional Holy Week activities in the future.

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"By getting vaccinated and encouraging your congregations and your communities to get vaccinated, we not only can beat this virus, we can also haste the day when we can celebrate the holidays together," Biden said.

Vice President Kamala Harris also issued a video statement declaring there is "always reason for hope" amid the Easter holiday.

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"Today, we are celebrating hope and our faith in renewal. Hope in the number of people now vaccinated, now safer from this virus," she said. "Hope in the children who are going back to school for the first time in a year. Hope in the grandparents who are able to hug their grandchildren for the first time in a year. Hope for a brighter tomorrow for us all."

Harris added she and the first lady were looking forward to resuming the White House's annual Easter Egg Roll in the future, as it was canceled for the second consecutive Easter this year due to the pandemic.

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Biden, who is spending the holiday at Camp David, also lamented how the pandemic has hampered Easter gatherings.

"The virus is not gone and so many of us still feel the longing and loneliness of distance," he said. "For a second year, most will be apart from their families, friends, full congregations that fill us with joy. Yet as the Gospel of John reminds us, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it."

Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump attended church services at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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"We always welcome everyone to join us at Christ Fellowship in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus," senior pastor Todd Mullins said in a statement to local outlet WPTV. "This year, perhaps more than ever, we hope that Jesus' message of hope and salvation spreads widely and brings joy to all who hear it."

Trump, who remains banned from most major social media platforms, also issued his own Easter message through his Save America political action committee in which he continued to share unsubstantiated claims of fraud related to the 2020 presidential election.

"Happy Easter to ALL, including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election and want to destroy our Country!" Trump wrote.

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