Jerusha Malini a nurse at KNH is being vaccinated against Covid-19 on March 5, 2021. Image: Fredrick Omondi
 
In Summary

• Anyolo said it must be understood that those doctors cannot and should not purport to speak in the name of the Catholic Church.

• The Catholic Doctors Association took issue with the Astrazeneca vaccine due to its use of genetically modified organisms and use of lab-grown cells that descend from cells taken in the 1980s from the tissue of aborted foetuses.

Catholic Bishops have now distanced themselves from claims that the Covid-19 vaccine is unnecessary.

In a statement to newsrooms, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops led by Rev Philip Anyolo said the recent statement by Kenya Catholic Doctors Association was made by the doctors in their own capacity.

Anyolo said the remarks dos not, therefore, reflect the stand of the church. "It must be understood that those doctors cannot and should not purport to speak in the name of the Catholic Church," Anyolo said.

His sentiments come after the Catholic Church was locked in a standoff with the Ministry of Health over the roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Doctors who profess the Catholic faith objected the vaccination process saying it is unnecessary.

The doctor's lobby advised church members not to accept the Covid-19 vaccine but instead practise steam therapy if they are sick.

They also advised those sick with Covid-19 to take three medicines that studies show are useless against the disease.

However, health experts have cautioned that Kenyans should get the vaccine they are offered.

The Catholic Doctors Association took issue with the Astrazeneca vaccine due to its use of genetically modified organisms and use of lab-grown cells that descend from cells taken in the 1980s from the tissue of aborted foetuses. 

But Anyolo in the statement said the Catholic Church has since before independence collaborated with the government to roll out high-impact lifesaving vaccines.

"The church notes that it is licit and ethically acceptable to receive all covid-19 vaccines that the health ministry recognises as clinically genuine, safe and effective," he said.

Anyolo said the ministry should however take all the necessary steps required to affirm to the public that the vaccines are safe and effective in order to encourage people to be vaccinated.

"In the absence of other means to stop the covid-19 pandemic, the common good calls for vaccination, primarily to protect the weakest and most exposed," he said.

Anyolo said in this regard, receiving the available covid-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity towards other community members.

"We note that vaccination is not as a rule, an obligation and therefore it can only be done on voluntary basis and at the discretion of an individual after giving informed consent," he said.

He added, "We, therefore, appeal to the consciences of Kenyans to accept the covid-19 vaccines in the light of the assurance given by the Ministry of Health".

The Bishop said for those who for reasons of conscience or otherwise decline the vaccination must avoid becoming vehicles for the transmission of the disease.

He said they should strictly adhere to all containment protocols put in place. The star

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