The Cayman Ministers’ Association has dismissed claims that religion should be used as a reason to refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking with the Cayman Compass, Pastor Torrance Bobb, the chairman of CMA, said, “We are not against people taking the vaccine. As for religious reasons? There is nothing to stop them from taking it.”
Bobb’s comment comes on the heels of a community meeting held at Constitution Hall, in George Town, on Saturday, 24 July, during which people opposed to taking the vaccine gathered, with some using religious doctrine to justify their anti-vaccination stance.
“It is very unfortunate and shows a lack of teaching and understanding of the scriptures,” said Bobb. “We agreed with the government about the lockdown measures, and we have sent out information to our members about the vaccine, encouraging them to do their research,” he explained.
He added: “We’ve told them to consult their doctors to see if they have any medical reasons that would prevent them from taking it.”
The PACT government has implemented a target of vaccinating 80% of Cayman’s total population as a requirement for the border reopening, but recent government-initiated vaccination drives have started to plateau, as the jurisdiction’s inoculation rate has slowed, falling shy of the 80% goal.
A total of 97,196 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been administered locally, by 28 July, which means 70% of the estimated population have received one dose of the vaccine while 67% have received both doses.
The 24 July anti-vaccination meeting also examined the thorny issue of certain sectors or companies mandating vaccinations among their staff. The counterargument proposed was the idea of ‘informed consent’, a medical practice which gives patients the right to be informed of the dangers of choosing to refuse treatment – or, in this instance, refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Bobb, however, told the Compass he believes “it is in the best interest of people to get their COVID-19 vaccine shot”.
“We have to seek the wellbeing of our people, and so we met with Dr. (John) Lee and the HSA CEO (Lizzette Yearwood) to discuss the vaccine,” said Thompson.
The Cayman Compass reached out to Kattina Anglin, one of the organisers of the 24 July event, seeking a comment on their decision to take an anti-vaccination stance; no reply had been received by press time.
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Pastor Bob as Pastor Bob Thompson, the previous chair of the CMA. The correct name of the current chairman of the CMA is Pastor Torrance Bobb.