By Samuel Ouma
Inter-Religious leaders on Wednesday backed the Kenyan government’s efforts to vaccinate its population against COVID-19 disease.
Asking Kenyans to get the jab, the leaders launched a three-month vaccination awareness campaign and signed a declaration to promote COVID-19 vaccination and allow the use of religious spaces for vaccinations.
The declaration committing to promote vaccination was signed by religious leaders from the Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities under the umbrella of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK.)
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Rashid Aman, who represented Health Cabinet Secretary Sen. Mutahi Kagwe, witnessed the signing of the declaration.
In a clarion call, the inter-faith leaders emphasized science and faith do not conflict, urging their congregants to shun myths and misconceptions associated with the vaccine and get the jab for their protection.
“We need to ignore the myths and misconceptions, let us reach out to as many as possible and provide mental clarity and emotional help to those who are in need,” said Gupta Kamal, chairman of the Hindu Council of Kenya.
Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) Chairman Al-Hajj Hassan Ole Naado, speaking on Islamic medical jurisprudence, said vaccination remains a powerful tool in preserving health, wealth and life in line with the five doctrines of sharia law.
“It is interesting to note that vaccination fulfils all the objectives of sharia, for example in so far as the preservation of religion is concerned, Muslims who are vaccinated against the vaccine-preventable disease will be in a better position to uphold and put into practice all the obligatory acts of worship of their religion,” he stated.
“For instance, today, you can’t go to Mecca, you can’t go to Hajj, you can’t go to Umrah unless you are vaccinated,’’ he added.
The SUPKEM chair also emphasized that based on science, the good of the vaccine outweighed any negative aspects. He urged religious leaders to persuade their faithful to get the vaccines.
Chairman of the IRCK, Reverend father Joseph Mutie, said the vaccination awareness campaign was being launched simultaneously in 30 counties urging Kenyans to heed the government’s call to get vaccinated.
He pledged as religious leaders to continue to walk the talk and work with the government to address the country’s challenges, including the COVID 19 pandemic.