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By Anna Chibamu
THE Zimbabwe Indigenous lnter-denominational Council of Churches (ZIICC) has partnered government to speed up the vaccination of its members against Covid-19.
In a statement Sunday, ZIICC Patron Nehemiah Mutendi’s said the initiative dubbed “Operation Mara” would help government in achieving its intended herd immunity of 60% or two thirds of the country’s population.
“The initiative is open to all churches , denominations, umbrella bodies through a single request submitted through either ZIICC or the Health ministry. We call upon all churches nationwide to embrace and take advantage of ‘Operation Mara’ and facilitate the speedy vaccination of their members,” the statement, read on behalf of Mutendi by Family of God founder Andrew Wutawunashe, said.
“Through this initiative, the churches are sure to inspire the nation by becoming the country’s first social microcosm in our nation to become a herd immunity. The church on its own will be the 60% needed to reach the country’s herd immunity to reduce the spread of Covid-19,” said Wutaunashe.
The Clergyman told church leaders and Health Deputy minister John Mangwiro that the vaccination of church members, in the biblical world is depicted through what happened in Exodus 15 vs 23-26 where Moses was shown a tree to vaccinate (treat) water that had been poisoned for his people to drink.
“There is no doubt at all that the water represents the vaccination for the well-being of our people. Vaccination is an ordained process by God for the well-being of people,” Wutaunashe added.
Wutaunashe also embraced the church which he said appreciated the recently relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions by government to allow Christians to attend church services as vaccinated congregants.
“We are heartened that ZIICC engagement with Health ministry facilitated by chairperson of the national Covid-19 Task- Force, Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, has resulted in the joint launch of the initiative between the church and government,” he said.
Government recently gave the churches a greenlight to have members attend church services provided they were fully vaccinated.
Some churches are still considering the government’s directive as they fear the deadly disease that has killed over 4000 people since last year would spread to their members.
The vaccination process had slowed down due to staff shortages in some health institutions prompting Mangwiro to recruit data captures at some Harare City Council clinics recently.
The deputy minister gave a lecture to the different denominational church leaders on how the initiative would be carried out nationwide.
Of great interest were members of the Joane Masowe whose secretary general Jacob Ndawana told reporters that he felt happy after being vaccinated.
“l am a diabetic patient but l have been injected, so that more soldiers are aided in my body. My cells will be actually activated whilst l am protected against Covid-19,” Ndawana said.