- The group will use a congregational model approach to directly mobilize members to take up the COVID-19 vaccines at the nearest health facility.
- Religious leaders are the most influential people in society since they nurture the spiritual, emotional and social well-being of the people.
The Interreligious Council of Kenya in partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF have launched COVID-19 vaccination drives in Marsabit County.
Religious leaders from the region are leading the vaccination drives through activities that help in improving the attitude and perception of faith-based communities.
The group will use a congregational model approach to directly mobilize members to take up the COVID-19 vaccines at the nearest health facility.
Religious leaders are the most influential people in society since they nurture the spiritual, emotional and social well-being of the people.
During the launch, religious leaders urged their congregants to shun myths and misconceptions associated with the vaccine and get jabs for their own protection.
Speaking during the Idd celebration, Muslim leaders led by Sheikh Mohamednur Kuli said vaccination remains a powerful tool in the preservation of health and life in line with the doctrines of Sharia law.
He emphasized that based on science, the good of the vaccine outweighs the negative.
"Vaccination is not meant to destroy humanity. There is evidence that when you are immunized it reduces the severity of the disease," he said.
While urging residents to heed the Ministry of health call to get vaccinated, he pledged that they will continue to walk the talk and work with the government to promote vaccination campaigns.
He said vaccination against COVID-19 is voluntary.
"It is manifestly clear that the mass vaccination of the entire population is our primary tool as religious leaders to defeat this terrible pandemic," said Sheikh Mohamednur.
While echoing vaccination drives, pastor William Godana of AIC said their role as religious leaders is to stand at the forefront of the battle against the virus and save lives.
"The virus affects both men and women indiscriminately. The role of the religious leaders is to give stability, comfort, guidance and hope to faithful and communities," said pastor William
He said the virus infected millions of people and is causing a serious economic and social crisis with enormous mental and educational damage to the population.
He reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against COVID-19 and announced their openness to any initiative of medical assistance and religious advice aimed at fostering the widest interreligious corporation in the fight against the virus.
"Getting the vaccines is an act of love and is a simple yet profound way to care for one another," he said
He appealed to residents to get vaccinated saying COVID-19 is real and it has claimed lives all over the world.
Pastor William said the initiative by the religious leaders is to demystify misleading myths that make people shy away from being vaccinated.
"We are glad that the religious leaders have been prioritised in the drive and we hope to support the government's initiatives to vaccinate," he said
He noted that there are a lot of misconceptions among the community about the COVID-19 vaccine hence there is a need for proper awareness creation.
He lauded the efforts by the government in involving the religious leaders in the mobilization of the members saying this will go a long way in ensuring that the government achieve its targets of the population being vaccinated.
Interreligious Council of Kenya's coordinator in Marsabit and Isiolo counties Rosemary Mwangi expressed concern about the low uptake of the vaccine in the county.
She warned that COVID-19 was still a threat and that the vaccine was aimed to boost immunity against the virus in case of any future outbreaks.
She cautioned those spreading false information about the vaccination, assuring that the government and religious leaders could not mislead people about the vaccine's importance.
She emphasized that the vaccine was crucial in boosting a person's immunity against COVID-19 and safe for all individuals aged 12 and above.
She urged members of the public to turn out in large numbers to get vaccinated.
She added that all the vaccines are free of charge, encouraging individuals to visit health facilities nearby to get vaccinated.
She also urged the elderly and those with illness to take up the COVID-19 vaccination to boost their immunity in addition to helping curb the spread of the disease.
Youth leader Abdiaziz Boru encouraged young people to get vaccinated as well as promote vaccination amongst their peers.