The JCC encourages vaccinationThursday, August 26, 2021
The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) notes the vibrant debate which has ensued due to concerns about vaccinations. This debate has unfortunately divided us once again into contending camps with the attendant incivility and disingenuity surrounding the discourse.
While we affirm the right of all people to their opinions and freedom of expression, the council nonetheless encourages decent and respectful conversations which are undergirded by truth on all matters of national interest, especially the present and urgent concern regarding vaccinations.
The council, therefore, takes this opportunity to state its position and to provide pastoral guidance on the deployment of vaccinations in our nation. This is rooted in our understanding that science is a gift from God and is an indispensable component of our nation's capability to ensure a good quality of life for its people and the ordering of our society.
The experts in epidemiology — Jamaica has been blessed with several accomplished, world-class, and highly respected practitioners — tell us that the most effective way to overcome the present distresses with the novel coronavirus pandemic is for the majority of the population to be vaccinated. The experts tell us further, that all of the vaccines which have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are safe and effective in combating the COVID-19 disease. The scientific data, which have been garnered by these experts from around the world, as well as from the Jamaican experience, indicate, with a high level of certainty, that the people who are at greatest risk of severe sickness and/or death are the unvaccinated.
We therefore implore, beseech, and encourage all Jamaicans who have not yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as it is possible, sparing no effort or cost. In addition, we encourage continued adherence to the long-established protocols of mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand sanitisation as they continue to prove to be effective and useful for the preservation of life.
Our understanding of the sanctity of life demands that we work in personal and communal settings to preserve life. Indeed, scripture tells us that it is God's will that we “have life, and have it abundantly”. (John 10:10)
We also affirm the social ethic of the Bible which, among other imperatives, urges us to always act in ways that serve the common good. “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)
Rev Newton G A Dixon
Jamaica Council of Churches