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Jamaica – Church enters vaccine battle

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Jamaica (Observer) –

A number of the island’s church leaders will this morning appear at a news conference with Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton at which the religious community’s response to the controversial issue of COVID-19 vaccination will be discussed.

The health and wellness ministry yesterday gave notice of the event in a press advisory saying that the religious leaders will include those from the Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal, and Church of God faith who will give remarks regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and their respective church communities.

“We will be encouraging persons to weigh the evidence and consider taking the vaccine,” Reverend Dr Peter Garth, senior pastor of Hope Gospel Assembly and one of the country’s foremost church leaders, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The church leaders’ participation was welcomed by Minister Tufton, who said it was an important meeting to build national consensus around the vaccine programme.

“The church’s influence is known and respected and the support of its leadership is critical to overcoming some of the myths around vaccination. We have to have all hands on deck,” Tufton told the Observer.

The meeting and news conference come a day after Tufton confirmed that the highly contagious Delta variant of the novel coronavirus is in Jamaica.

Tufton, in a video release on the development, reminded that he and other public health officials had previously said that they had assumed the Delta variant was here in Jamaica. The confirmation, he said, is based on test results they received yesterday from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago.

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