Ten church ministers resign over vaccine


Ten church ministers in Fiji have resigned because they do not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Others are openly against the vaccine. Rules about vaccination status are being made for church employees. Everyone has a view.

There has been pressure on the clergy to get the injections since the Government’s ‘No jab, no job’ policy for public servants was announced in June.

A majority of Fiji’s churches support this policy, with some advising their followers to stay at home if they are not fully vaccinated.

Some Churches, like the New Methodist Christian Fellowship, say 100 percent of their ministers are fully vaccinated.

Others, like Fiji’s Methodist Church, say not all their ministers are fully vaccinated yet. However, Rev Wilfred Regunamada says the church has not laid off any of their ministers nor had anyone been forced to resign.

“Currently, we are carrying out awareness for our ministers and they are being given time, until November, to get their vaccines,” he says.

“The church’s stand is mainly to ensure the safety of its members which means that its ministers, who are servants of the people, need to be vaccinated first.

“At the moment, those that have not been vaccinated have been requested not to partake in any church services but have been advised to stay in their own homes and they are still being paid.”

The ten church ministers who resigned were all from the Christian Mission Fellowship Church.

Fellowship Church media director Joe Kurulo said the ministers were not forced to resign but had done so of their own free will. The church respected their decision, he added.

“If they feel they want to tender their resignation, we will respect that.

“Since the policy came into act, the church is now looked at as a workplace and, therefore, all of its office holders need to be vaccinated or else the church would cop heavy fines.

“Ministers are being given until November to get vaccinated but their decisions not to be vaccinated or to be vaccinated would be respected by the church.”

Some church ministers are actively against vaccination and are using social media to preach their anti-vax messages.

However, brand new legislation devised to prevent the spread of misinformation caught up with a church minister, who has just appeared in court charged with breaching the country’s Health Act.

The 48-year-old pastor was accused of creating public anxiety by posting anti-vaccination comments on social media.

According to police, he posted a series of short videos on Facebook which created public alarm.

The posts called on people not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus because the “vaccine is evil,” the police statement said.

Fiji’s Health Secretary James Fong said he was concerned at the misinformation circulating on social media about Covid-19.

He said these false comments only hampered the ministry’s efforts to get Fijians vaccinated against the deadly virus.

According to the Health Ministry, 95.8 percent of the target population have received one dose, and 72.5 percent are fully vaccinated.


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