Music

Eric Church Encourages Fans to Get Vaccinated: 'You've Got to Get Needles in Arms'

Eric Church performs on an outdoor stage during the CMT Music Awards show on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Eric Church used the cover of Billboard magazine to encourage fans to get their COVID-19 vaccinations and speed up the return of live music.

"I view [the vaccines] as a Godsent miracle," the country star told Billboard. "It became very clear to me that the only way to really get back to normal is through vaccinations. You've got to get needles in arms."

The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year hopes to play songs from his triple album project Heart & Soul to full audiences once his fall arena tour launches. For that to happen, he'll need country music fans' help to put the coronavirus pandemic in his rear-view mirror.

"If you believe you shouldn't, I don't have a problem with it. I'm a liberty guy, too. I get it," Church said of the percentage of Americans against getting vaccinated. "But I view this a little differently than most other things. We've never encountered this.

"I just want to play shows. Politics' job is to divide -- that's how you win elections,' Church continued. "Those things that unite us are music and sports. The times when, whether you're a Democrat or Republican or whatever, you throw your arm around the person next to you."

Read More: Dolly Parton Gets the COVID-19 Vaccine Shot She Helped Fund

Billboard reports that Church's conversations with epidemiologists, venue managers and Nashville insiders initially made it sound like large-scale live shows might not return until early 2023. However, vaccines have shortened that timeline, allowing for the recent slew of summer and fall festival announcements.

The Super Bowl tops the short list of major events from the past year with any sort of live audience. Church sang the National Anthem at the big game alongside Jazmine Sullivan.

Church will also appear with Darius Rucker and Ashley McBryde in an Ad Council PSA for vaccines which will debut during the 2021 ACM Awards broadcast (airing April 18 on CBS).

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Eric Church Encourages Fans to Get Vaccinated: 'You've Got to Get Needles in Arms'