The provincial Health Department recently vaccinated willing homeless people at the Sea Point Methodist Church. File Photo: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
The provincial Health Department recently vaccinated willing homeless people at the Sea Point Methodist Church. File Photo: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Faith groups launch campaign to vaccinate 70% of their flock

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Sep 28, 2021

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Cape Town - Religious bodies across the spectrum have launched a movement called the #VaxuMzansi Campaign in an effort to vaccinate up to 70% of their congregations against the Covid-19 virus.

Coming together as the Religious Forum Against Covid-19 (RFA) the campaign involves an interfaith collaboration of religious communities uniting to play their part by encouraging their congregations to urgently vaccinate.

At the same time, the RFA wants to debunk conspiracy theories about the vaccines in order to provide assurance and increase vaccine uptake.

The group includes the Muslim Judicial Council, the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, the Union of Orthodox Synagogues; the SA Council of Churches, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and the Council of African Independent Churches.

In a joint statement, the RFA said that among the activities they would promote were the continuous sharing of Covid-19 and vaccine information with their congregations and communities.

They would also co-ordinate vaccine drives and assist in closing the vaccine access gap among members of their congregations.

Business for SA (B4SA) steering committee chairperson Martin Kingston said his organisation was fully in support of the #VaxuMzansi campaign.

“Campaigns like this really set an example for the rest of society. The goal of vaccinating at least 70% of South Africa’s adults will not be achieved without an all-of-society approach.”

Meanwhile, following the recent directive issued by the Department of Employment and Labour expressly permitting employers to implement a mandatory vaccination policy, the Dear South Africa (Dear SA) campaign has commissioned law firm Hurter Spies to provide a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the move.

Hurter Spies said that while opinions vary, there was an emerging consensus that some form of balance had to be achieved when weighing up an employer’s obligation to provide a safe and secure working environment, vis-à-vis, an individual’s rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

In the meantime, Dear SA managing director Rob Hutchinson has invited the public to comment on, object to, or support mandatory vaccinations and vaccine passports for Covid-19 in a poll on the Dear SA website. By the time of writing, the website had logged over 57 000 comments.

“This is an opportunity for you to immediately influence this decision before it becomes law,” said Hutchinson.

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Cape Argus

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