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Representatives of religious denominations - Pastor Randy Rodney,left and Bishop Gabriel Malzaire
Representatives of religious denominations - Pastor Randy Rodney,left and Bishop Gabriel Malzaire

On the pulpit, on the radio, on the street, his message to everyone who hasn't taken the vaccine remains the same, do your research then consult your doctor.

Pastor Randy Rodney, President of the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC) is not against the use of vaccinations; in fact, he confirms to the Sun that vaccines have saved many lives in the past, but when it comes to the COVID-19 shot, he is part of the many Dominicans who are still hesitant about the jab.

"What I've been sharing with my congregation is get your doctor's advice first. Let your doctor advise you as to what is best for you before taking the vaccine," he stated exclusively to the SUN. "This is our lives we're talking about so as far as it is concerned people must make a decision for themselves and what's best for their health instead of doing something simply because everyone is saying that it's the right thing to do."

The religious leader further raised the point that unlike vaccines for illnesses such as measles, rubella, and mumps which are fully medically certified, the COVID-19 vaccines are still in the trial stages and do not protect an individual 100 percent.

"All of the research says that with taking the vaccines for the other diseases when you do so, you don't get it, but with this COVID vaccine it does not stop you from getting the virus and it doesn't stop you from transmitting COVID," Rodney said. "Those are considerations that people have to make. Yes, it reduces hospitalization and reduces the effect on the individuals but that's not what we know vaccines to be. The vaccine prevents you from getting the disease, period."

There have been growing calls for the vaccination to be made mandatory, and if this is ever done, Pastor Rodney is prepared to be the lone ranger to hit the street and protest against such decision as he does not believe that any government in a democracy must make mandatory something that somebody has to put into their system.

"In the US, there are laws that the government cannot tell a woman what to do as it relates to her body and having an abortion, and this sentiment has been shared by many others around the world. So how do we now all of a sudden want to have a vaccination mandate and take away the rights from an individual and putting it in the hands of pharmaceutical companies?" he questioned.

On the other side of the fence, Bishop of Roseau, His Lordship Gabriel Malzaire wants persons like Rodney and the nearly 50,000 other Dominicans who haven't been jabbed to consider vaccination as a reliable means of fighting COVID-19.

"We have to deal with the fact that COVID-19 presents to us certain facts that we need to consider. First of all, people around the world are dying. Millions of them are dying...so we have to deal with that fact," he said in a recent panel discussion.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Dominica stressed that the question of vaccination is not new to the world and history has shown that they do work, and will continue to in the future.

"So right now the question we are faced with is how do we sell the message to especially those who are skeptics? So this is one of our biggest challenges right now, especially those who have not been vaccinated," Bishop Malzaire asked.

He is of the view that the public needs to side with the "facts" that the statistics show that about 90% of those who are contracting the virus right now all around the world are unvaccinated.


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