United Family International Church leader Emmanuel Makandiwa yesterday became the latest evangelical Christian leader to endorse vaccination against Covid-19 and urged his followers to get vaccinated, saying there were no theological grounds to forgo the protection.
While most liturgical churches grasped vaccination early in the national campaign, with the senior prelate in Zimbabwe’s largest church, Catholic Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare leading scores of priests, nuns and lay workers from his diocese were vaccinated, resistance has been seen in some evangelical churches.
This appears to derive from remarks made by some American evangelical leaders.
Stressing that vaccination was not a mark of the beast and that there was no chip in a jab, Makandiwa said he had received so many enquiries from his followers who wanted to know if they should be vaccinated or not as they were under pressure from their employers.
He explained that he was not against vaccines and had received several vaccines before and advised his followers to get vaccinated so they don’t lose jobs and make their families suffer.
“There is no chip in the vaccine,” he said. “There is no mark in the vaccine. Christians are afraid, fearing for their lives and trying to protect themselves and their loved ones from receiving the mark of the beast by receiving the vaccine. This is Covid-19 vaccine not the mark of the beast.”
“How many times did I say don’t rush, don’t be the first, let them have it first. If I am saying don’t be the first, I am saying be the last or second. Why should you be the first when it’s not your creation.
“(If you don’t get vaccinated) you do not get into the shop, you do not work there, you do not buy, you do not sell, you are not admitted in any hospital, your children are not allowed in schools. So it’s not just losing your job, you have lost your entire freedom. You are no longer existent as a human being. You are no longer considered; you are not there because of one thing, vaccine.”
Makandiwa said it was better for people to get vaccinated than to be vaccinated after losing their jobs.
“Why lose your job, yet you can be vaccinated right now and keep your job, look after your family especially now that you know it is not the mark of the beast,” he said.
“What do you lose by getting vaccinated?” he said.
Makandiwa said he had been vaccinated before and he believes in vaccines and supports them.