A Texas-based evangelist with ties to President Donald Trump came under fire this week after video re-surfaced of her telling followers that they don't need to get a flu shot because "Jesus himself gave us the flu shot."
Gloria Copeland, a member of the president's faith advisory council, posted the video last Wednesday, but it began to gain traction this week after a number watch groups re-posted it on social-media channels.
"Listen, partners, we don't have a flu season," Copeland, 75, said in a Facebook video posted Jan. 31. "We've got a duck season, a deer season, but we don't have a flu season."
"And don't receive it when somebody threatens you with, 'Everybody is getting the flu,'" she added. "We've already had our shot. He bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases. That's what we stand on."
A devastating flu outbreak has killed dozens since October. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 14,676 people have been hospitalized with influenza since the flu season began in October, double the number from all of last year and the highest ever recorded. The agency urges those who haven't been vaccinated to get a flu shot.
At least 53 children have died from the flu this season, including 16 just last week, according to the CDC.
Copeland, a co-founder the Fort Worth, Texas-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries, went on to pray for those who were already displaying flu-like symptoms, telling them to protect themselves by declaring "I'll never have the flu."
"That's great — that's the way it's supposed to be," she continued. "Just keep saying that 'I'll never have the flu. I'll never have the flu.' Inoculate yourself with the word of God. Flu, I bind you off the people in the name of Jesus. Jesus himself gave us the flu shot. He redeemed us from the curse of flu."
The video received more than 8,000 reactions and nearly 4,000 shares on Facebook as of Wednesday morning. Although some Facebook users agreed with the minister, others accused her of being "reckless and irresponsible."