Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu , Chronicle Reporter
CHURCH leaders have urged congregants to get vaccinated for Covid-19 so that they can attend services, with a leading Bulawayo pastor saying vaccines are harmless.
Congregants who are not vaccinated are banned from attending church services.
Harvest House International Church (HHIC) leader, Bishop Dr Collin Nyathi said once all congregants are vaccinated services could be held normally.
He said in his church, congregants were being urged to get vaccinated. Bishop Dr Nyathi said there was need for people to be further educated on the matter as some were still holding onto misconceptions.
“As church leaders we are doing our part to educate people on the importance of getting vaccinated in order to counter misinformation surrounding the vaccine. As a church we are urging our congregants to fully utilise the grace period that people have been given to get vaccinated,” he said.
“We have had some viruses before of diseases that have required people to get vaccinated such as small pox and measles and the vaccines proved to be helpful rather than harmful. The challenge with the Covid-19 pandemic is that there were many theories surrounding the vaccine which instilled fear among people and they need to be countered.”
Bishop Dr Nyathi said the church could not however force people to get vaccinated as it was a matter of choice. He said putting pressure on people to get vaccinated could also lead to resistance.
Bishop Dr Nyathi said he had also encouraged leaders in his church to lead by example and get vaccinated. He said while services were being held virtually during the lockdown it was not the same as physical services
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) leader for the Western Diocese, Bishop Michael Dube said they were also emphasising on the need for congregants to get vaccinated. He said congregants had to realise that they had to get vaccinated for their safety and that of others.
Bishop Dube said there was still a lot to be done by Government to counter misconceptions around the pandemic.
“As church leaders we have led by example by getting vaccinated and now we are urging our congregants to do the same. There is some resistance but all we can do is to continue to teach the people. However, when the vaccine was introduced, it was accompanied by distorted information and Government has a lot to do to set the record straight,” said Bishop Dube.
A pastor from the Zion Apostolic Church in Central Africa Michael Ndlovu said congregants from his church were also being urged to get vaccinated. He said there was need for churches to comply with Government’s directive as the Bible also stated that the authority leaders of the country had to be respected.
Government has engaged in a massive vaccination drive in a bid to meet the target. Some of the strategies include mobile outreach vaccination exercises being conducted across the country in order to reach more communities and cover remote parts of the country.
Government has also brought on board various departments, institutions and private clinics that are also conducting the vaccination exercise. Herd immunity is achieved when most of a population is immune to an infectious disease. This provides indirect protection those who are not immune
According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care a total of people 2 836 753 have received their first dose while1 849 006 have received their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Zimbabwe’s free and voluntary vaccination programme aims to reach 10 million citizens to achieve herd immunity. — @DubeMatutu