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Covid-19: South Africa’s bishops encourage population to vaccinate

The Bishops of South Africa issue a statement encouraging the faithful to get the COVID-19 vaccine, addressing doubts they may have about it

To the faithful who may still have lingering doubts about participating in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in South Africa, the country’s bishops are encouraging them to get the jab.

In a statement, they respond to the doubts presented by people on the subject.


The first concern regards the particular speed with which the vaccine was made and therefore, the doubt about its real effectiveness. In this regard, the bishops emphasize that “the research was done in an ethically and scientifically sound manner,” and that “the speed with which the goal was achieved is a reflection of scientific progress and not of ill-considered hasty methods”.

To those who consider the anti-Covid vaccine to be “a maneuver by the wealthy industrialized nations of the West to reduce the world’s population through the elimination of people of colour,” the bishops dispel this theory as “without foundation” because vaccines are not a novelty now, but have accompanied us since birth, such as those “against polio or measles”.

With the same firmness, the bishops allay any doubts about the fact that the anti-Covid vaccine can mutate the DNA of those who receive it.

Cell lines

Addressing the ethical concerns of the faithful about the use of cell lines from aborted fetuses in the development of the vaccine, the SACBC stresses that in the absence of alternatives and in the interest of saving human lives, this vaccine can be used.

In this regard, they refer to the note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published in December 2020, which defines “morally acceptable” anti-Covid vaccines.

Side effects

In another response, the bishops address the issue of the side effects of the vaccination, including clotting and sometimes death. The bishops emphasize that these are rare cases and that, in fact, “there is no specific evidence to confirm” that the possible deaths in less than 1 percent of vaccinated people were caused by the vaccine.

Consequently, they say, undergoing vaccination “is a safe risk.”

“Pope Francis himself,” the South African Bishops point out, “has set an example by vaccinating himself, as has Benedict XVI and a large number of religious leaders in South Africa and around the world.”

Equitable distribution of vaccine

Finally, the SACBC strongly reaffirms the need to make the vaccine “available to all”.

“Let us join the efforts for equitable distribution of the vaccine and call those rich countries hoarding Covid-19 vaccine to task so that this common good may be accessible to all.”.

The bishops’ statement concludes with an invitation to pray for health care workers and all those who care for the sick, “in this time of need.”

Vatican News staff reporter

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