KYIV, Ukraine — With demand for vaccines growing after a spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths, the major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church opened Resurrection Cathedral in Kyiv as a vaccination site.

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halych, announced to parishioners at the cathedral Nov. 7 that government health workers would begin using the cathedral after he accepted a request to host vaccination clinics in churches and monasteries.

Promoting human life today, he told parishioners, includes not being afraid of the vaccine, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

“In every corner of our church in Ukraine and abroad we try to serve with all that we have at our disposal to save people’s lives and health,” he said, according to a note released by the church’s press office.

According to the Worldometer coronavirus tracker, Ukraine hit a one-day record number of new cases Nov. 4 with 27,377 new infections reported. Since the pandemic began, more than 3.2 million Ukrainians had tested positive for COVID-19 and close to 78,000 had died as of Nov. 16.

At the same time, Shevchuk’s office said, the vaccine rollout and its acceptance by the people were slow. In early November only 18 percent of the population was fully vaccinated and only 22 percent had received the first of a two-dose vaccine regime. Vaccination rates did begin to rise, though, after the spike in cases in late October and early November.