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By Rumbidzayi Zinyuke
Senior Health Reporter
Leaders of a range of churches yesterday took their first jabs of the Covid-19 vaccine and urged all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated.
The first batch of clergy vaccinated where a large group of Catholic priests and nuns on Thursday, led by Archbishop of Harare Robert Ndlovu, Zimbabwe’s senior Catholic prelate.
Yesterday’s group of church leaders went to Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital for their jabs after joining President Mnangagwa in the Special National Day of Thanksgiving at State House.
Some of those vaccinated were: Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi of the Zion Christian Church, Apostle Andrew Wutawunashe of Family of God Church, Bishop Kozanai Chikoshana from Zion Apostolic Church Muisa and Madzibaba Spenlodge Madenyaka of the Johane Masowe Yechishanu sect.
Speaking after receiving his jab, Bishop Mutendi urged Zimbabweans to take up the vaccine, which is offered for free by the Government.
“I urge everybody to get the jab because prevention is better than cure,” he said. “We all have to be vaccinated.”
Apostle Wutawunashe said people should not be misled by falsehoods being peddled on social media since the word of God did not prohibit the use of vaccines, hence there was no excuse for Christians not to take it.
“This is to inspire others to be vaccinated, especially those who are being misguided by falsehoods that it is ‘unChristian’ and against the word of God to be vaccinated,” he said. “I keep saying the first vaccination was in Exodus 15:26 when Moses was given a tree to vaccinate the water.”
Bishop Peter Mukwena from the Family of God Church said many Zimbabweans had survived the Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccine would ensure that many more were safe.
“The good news is that we have received thousands of vaccines so I encourage all Christians to take it,” he said.
“There is nothing wrong in taking a vaccine because it is a preventative measure against the disease just like washing your hands, eating good food and wearing masks that we have already been doing. There is nothing wrong biblically or scientifically with getting the vaccine.”
Leaders from the apostolic groups lined up for the first vaccination, a move that might inspire thousands of their followers to follow suit. Bishop Kozanai Chikoshana said people in the rural areas were not getting enough information on the vaccine, adding that there was need to increase education in the communities.
“When we are in the rural areas, we will be lying to each other that if you get the vaccine you might die,” he said. “As a leader, I saw it fit to lead by example so that my congregation will follow. We are urging everyone to follow suit and get this vaccination.”
Madzibaba Spenlodge said life was precious and needed to be preserved, in this case through vaccination.
“Life is important so we should always protect ourselves,” he said. “That is why I came here, so that when I tell my followers to also get the jab they will believe me instead of following social media. Apostolic sects are well known for not going to clinics, but us as Johane Masowe, we encourage our members to do it. That is why I am here.”
President Mnangagwa this week launched the second stage of phase one of the national vaccination programme targeting the elderly, teachers, the clergy and those in the hospitality industry, among others who have to spend a lot of time with a lot of people.
Almost 55 000 people have received the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine so far, the one being administered in the country, obtained from China. Government targets to vaccinate 10 million people to achieve head immunity.