The heads of several faith-based organisations have endorsed the Government’s national coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme.
In a show of support for the undertaking, several leaders from the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Church of God, Pentecostal, and Seventh-day Adventist denominations, among others, participated in the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ recent press conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, during which an update on the National Vaccination Implementation Plan was provided, and the role of faith-based organisations in the process outlined.
All the religious representatives indicated that they have been fully vaccinated and encouraged all Jamaicans to take the vaccine for the well-being of the nation.
Addressing the issue of vaccine hesitancy, Head of the Anglican Church in Jamaica, the Most Rev. Howard Gregory, expressed the view that there is no inherent contradiction and conflict between science and religion.
The Lord Bishop argued that science is fundamental to the practice of healing.
“As a Diocese, we are committed to spreading that message to lend credibility and support to the effort to deal with the vaccination programme and generally to address the virus. We need to think seriously about inaction and the consequences of this for our children. We need to think also of the consequences for others,” he maintained.
Bishop Gregory committed the use of Anglican church halls as vaccination sites for ease of access.
Pointing out that the Christian body represents a significant number of the population, Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Jamaica, Archbishop Kenneth Richards, said vaccination of this segment of the population would be a decisive factor in achieving herd immunity.
“It is estimated that 67 per cent of our population here in Jamaica are Christians. If Christians are vaccinated, we can establish the herd immunity that is desired for normality to be restored for socio-economic, educational, and religious activities,” he said.
Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, thanked the leaders for their support and reiterated the important role of these organisations in the national vaccination drive, particularly as the Ministry seeks to increase its community outreach in its vaccination drive.
“The church community endorses the vaccination programme and encourages all of Jamaica, including the membership of the church, to take the vaccines as an effective part of the COVID response. As a government, we are appreciative of that partnership and collaboration around the greater good,” he said.