By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, Mana: World Vision Malawi (WVM) has said Faith leaders have a role to ensure that the administration of the first consignment of the Astra Zeneca covid-19 vaccine was done smoothly.
WVM Officer In-Charge for Malawi, Catherine Omenda said this Friday during WVM and Faith Leaders interface meeting on Covid-19 vaccine at Sun Bird Lilongwe Hotel.
She said for this to happen, Faith leaders should have accurate information regarding the vaccine saying they have the duty to inform their members on importance of having it.
“We know that Faith communities and places of worship are at the centre of community life and have a central role both in guiding their members towards behaviour change, and provision of spiritual and pastoral and practical support to those in need,” the In-Charge said.
Omenda explained faith communities and leaders would continue to have that central role, but it was very important to adapt the way of working to ensure that people are safe and protected, and rapidly adjust their ways of meeting and worship in accordance with the national guidelines and stage of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“World Vision recently conducted a survey in six countries across three regions to understand the barriers to vaccine acceptance. In Bangladesh, for example, 38 percent of survey respondents reported not intending to take the vaccine due to lack of trust and or little knowledge about it, but that they would consider it if it was suggested to them by a health practitioner or faith leader,’” she added.
The Officer In-charge suggested that endorsement of the vaccine by faith leaders and community health workers was vital for community-level acceptance, promotion of accurate health information, and consequently, high vaccine uptake.
“We believe that as we respond to covid-19, may the Church rise up to uncover the deeper, often hidden, social, cultural and spiritual issues that prevent children from enjoying life in all its fullness,” she suggested.
Omenda urged faith leaders, to lead your people in making the right choices and initiating conversations that would bring meaningful change.
She appealed to the Church to rally with the government to ensure that those who deserve the vaccine are able to get it, especially the most vulnerable in the hard to reach places.
General Secretary for Prophetic Ministries Association of Malawi (PROMAM), Prophet, Dr Lex Kalolo said Churches should be in front to encourage its members to have the vaccine saying there was no danger to accept it.
He said churches should not misinterpret the Bible by relating it to the Covid-19 vaccines as the end of times saying the two are not connected.
“The Church has to accept the vaccine and it was to enlighten its members on the importance of the vaccine, In fact, the first people to take the vaccine should be health personal, teachers and faith leaders,” Kalolo said.
He said the myths that are being advanced in some church circles should not be taken as a gospel truth saying this could put many people in danger if they are threatened not accept the vaccine.