Blantyre Synod’s Church & Society in CoVID-19 vaccination uptake campaign

Blantyre Synod of Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) brought together its church leaders where they were inspired to spread the positives of being vaccinated against CoVID-19 amongst their members during congregations.

In his opening remarks of the one-day workshop, organised by Church & Society at Grace Bandawe Conference Centre, CCAP’s Blantyre Synod general secretary Rev. Billy Gama emphasized that they decided to engage the church leaders from all presbyterians to enhance government’s campaign for positive uptake of the CoVID-19 vaccination which is available for free.

Rev. Billy Gama; There is a lot of misconceptions that is being spread through social media

Rev. Gama impressed on the participants to lead by example if they have not already received their jabs and spread the message amongst their flock that CoVID-19 is real but the vaccination exercise currently underway is helping to contain it.

“There is a lot of misconceptions that is being spread through social media and it is up to us to dispel those false messages that seems to appeal to people not to get vaccinated,” he said.

“We are lucky that we get huge gatherings every Sunday to preach the the Lord’s Gospel. They believe in us when we preach the Gospel and thus they will in turn believe in us if we teach of the positives of getting vaccinated.

“The numbers of people that are vaccinated against the supply of vaccines still available does not tally, showing that people are shunning this very important exercise which the government rolled out a long time ago.”

As of Friday, the CoVID-19 situation report indicated that a total of 784,997 people were fully vaccinated from the 1,894,993 vaccine doses that have been administered in the country so far.

Of these figures, 1,098,898 received the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine while 399,078 have had their second dose with 385,492 having received the one-off Johnson and Johnson.

There are 11,098 who received their first dose of Pfizer vaccine and 427 have had their second respectively.

Over the past 24 hours of Friday, 875 people have received Johnson and Johnson, and 177 and 44 people have received their first and second doses of Pfizer vaccine respectively.

Thus the CCAP Blantyre Synod’s initiative to engage its church leaders to take advantage of the gatherings they host every Sunday and midweek prayer sessions to impress on their flock that CoVID-19 vaccination is important in the fight against the pandemic — which is still active but being contained.

As of the past 24 hours of Friday, the country registered 38 new CoVID-19 cases, 601 new recoveries and five new deaths — all new cases being locally transmitted with Blantyre having the highest at 19.

Out of the five new deaths — three from Lilongwe and one each from Blantyre and Dowa — three were not vaccinated and two had received just a single dose.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Malawi has recorded 84,974 cases including 2,591 deaths at case fatality rate of 3.05%.

In the past 24 hours, there were 12 new admissions and five new discharges from the treatment units. Currently, 70 active cases are currently hospitalised with highest in Blantyre at 34 and 16 in Lilongwe.

Cumulatively, 72,138 cases have now recovered at the rate of 84.89% while 232 were lost to follow-up — bringing the total number of active cases to 10,013.

What the Church & Society aims to achieve is the same that is being campaigned by the presidential taskforce on CoVID-19, whose Friday’s situation report indicated that some parents and guardians are still hesitant to let their children get vaccinated.

According the Health Minister, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda the parents and guardians seem to believe that children and teenagers need not get vaccinated but the Minister assured the public that the vaccines being administered to children are “safe and efficacious”.

“What every parent or caregiver should know is that children are as likely to be infected with CoVID-19 as adults. Even though the risk of developing severe disease is lower in this age group they can spread the virus to others some of whom might have a higher risk of developing severe disease like those with underlying co-morbidities and the elderly.

“It is therefore important that children and teenagers get vaccinated so as to stop the spread of CoVID-19 and as parents and caregivers it is our duty to help protect our children, our families, and others from the virus,” she said in her report as co-chairperson of the taskforce.

This is the same message that the participants were engaged in through presentations from experts that included Dr. Bertha Mvula of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Safety of CoVID-19 Vaccine); Rev. Dr. Joseph Thipa from Chancellor College (CoVID-19 Myths and Misconceptions); Dr. Mzati Mbengo of Malawi Law Society (CoVID-19 Vaccine and the Human Rights Discourse) and Dr. Felix Chingota of the Blantyre Synod University (CoVID-19 and the Biblical Concept of ‘666’.

Apart from preaching the Word of God, Blantyre Synod’s Church & Society engages its leadership in various social development initiatives that include conservation of the environment.

In December, it partnered FDH Bank Plc in its ‘Be Green Smart’ tree planting season through the bank donating 20,000 tree seedlings for Church & Society to distribute to various Presbyterians.

When receiving the donation, Blantyre Synod’s Rev. Buxton Maulidi had said preaching is not just about sharing the word of God but it includes impressing on their followers to appreciate the nature that God created and made Man to control its management and sustainability.

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