By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Bahamas Christian Council president Bishop Simeon Hall says he is disappointed that there have been no public statements released from church groups on the issue of COVID-19 vaccines.
With so much misconception and misinformation about COVID-19, Bishop Hall said he believes the church can be instrumental in helping to inform the Bahamian people about the vaccines.
“I served the Bahamas Christian Council many years ago and I want to make clear that I do not in any way speak for that group at this time,” he said.
“I am disappointed, however, that as far as I’m concerned that no public statement has been made by any church group to give clarity and direction on the persons taking the vaccine whenever it comes.
“Perhaps a public forum should be had and should take place led by the church and to do some kind of a dialogue on the vaccines. We’re hearing a lot of information but I don’t think there’s ever been a forum where you have both sides – pro and cons.
“I heard a preacher go as far to say that the vaccine is the ‘mark of the beast’ that is epitomised in the Bible. I don’t know about that. However, personally whenever a debate takes place between faith and science, Christians should refer to the advice from their Christian leaders.
“But we have to be careful in our society and our country today and where you get the information from. I think if we can have a forum where we have both sides rather than people speaking out of their own interest and economic financial interest.”
A COVID-19 vaccine committee was established last month to advise the Ministry of Health on the country’s vaccination plan.
Committee members include health consultant to the Office of the Prime Minister Dr Merceline Dahl Regis; director of business development of Nassau Cruise Port Ltd Ed Fields; BCC president Bishop Delton Fernander, along with several others.
During a press conference earlier this month, officials said they have formed three “priority” groups, a characterisation that will determine who gets the vaccine and when.
Group one includes healthcare workers, uniform branch workers, and elderly care providers.
Group two includes people with disabilities, people living in congregate settings, critical workers in high-risk settings, other essential service workers, people with co-morbidities and underlying chronic conditions and sea, air and ground persons.
Group three includes all other people.
Yesterday, Bishop Hall said: “I am 73 years of age and I’m being told that you can’t get your vaccine until you’re in the second or third batch on persons so I’m interested in knowing more about that … and I think the church can play a role to do that kind of community outreach but that will have to come under the auspices under the ministry of health. I think it can work together for the betterment of the people.”