The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has distanced itself from a statement by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA) warning Kenyans against taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a statement to newsrooms, the Catholic bishops said the statement by Catholic doctors was made by the medics in their own capacity and does not 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,” said KCCB Chairman Most Rev. Philip Anyolo.
Most Rev. Anyolo noted the Catholic Church has since before independence collaborated with the government to roll out high-impact lifesaving vaccines.
The Bishops urged Kenyans to take the COVID-19 vaccine saying it is an act of love and charity towards one’s neighbours and community members.
“The Church notes that it is licit and ethically acceptable to receive all COVID-19 vaccines that the Ministry of Health recognizes as clinically genuine, safe and effective. Consequently, we urge the Ministry of Health to take all the necessary steps required to affirm to the public that the vaccines are genuine, safe and effective in order to encourage people to be vaccinated,” a statement reads in part.
“In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the COVID-19 pandemic, the common good calls for vaccination, primarily to protect the weakest and most exposed. In this regard, receiving the available COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity towards other community members and considered an act of love of our neighbour and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”
At the same time, Catholic Bishops challenged the ministry of health to take all the necessary steps required to affirm to the public that the vaccines are safe and effective.
“We note that vaccination is not, as a rule, an obligation and therefore it can only be done on a voluntary basis and at the discretion of an individual after giving informed consent. 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.
“However, those who for reasons of conscience or otherwise decline the vaccination must avoid becoming vehicles for the transmission of the COVID-19 by strictly adhering to the containment protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health.”