St Lucia: The Ministry of Health recently held a sensitization session with the Rastafarian community to inform the COVID-19 vaccine and health policy.
The government is trying to respect people’s will of not taking the vaccine and understanding various beliefs.
Family Life Educator in the Bureau of Health Education, Naomie Grandison, said it is necessary to engage the Rastafarian community in dialogue. They also play an essential part in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are persons within the community who are interested in taking the vaccine, but the misconceptions persist,” she said. “We are hoping that the information brought forward can help them to clarify some of these misconceptions and be more open-minded.
For those who have their belief and faith, the government reassures them that the vaccine is voluntary. This is a government policy that it be voluntary and that persons not be forced to take the vaccine.
Members of the Rastafarian community were recently granted the opportunity to learn about and voice concerns over the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Ministry of Health reminds the public that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary. https://t.co/9HLzcIl2nY pic.twitter.com/2DUBUcpjM1
— St. Lucia Government (@SaintLuciaGov) March 25, 2021
This is very important for their principle and their practice, so they are given that assurance to help us develop that level of trust and hope; it is not just about vaccination but also the confidence and collaboration between the two groups.”
Ambassador of the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress, Hon. Priest Kailash Leonce stated that despite the Rastafarian community opposing vaccination in general, they welcomed health officials’ discussion.
“Our primary focus is that the members of the Rastafari community who do choose to take the vaccine have the assurance that if any harm is caused to them after taking the vaccine that they will be duly compensated; or they will be taken care of if there are some adverse side effects.
Also, for the people who do not intend to take the vaccine and want to maintain that specific principle, they have that sanctioned reassurance that will not prevent them from moving around and participating in the everyday activity of their necessary economic activities.”
The Ministry of Health reminds the public that the choice to get the coronavirus vaccine is totally voluntary.