Head of the UGCC gives advice to those hesitant about vaccination against Covid-19
We are bringing to your notice the entire commentary by His Beatitude Sviatoslav shared by the Information Department of the UGCC on February 2.
The assumption that the Church is against vaccination is false. There are certain milieus that are influenced by various pseudoscientific ideas about vaccination. But the Church, first of all, builds its attitude to vaccination on the basis of scientific evidence.
To date, the world without vaccination is unfamiliar to us. The world in which we live was created as a result of certain warnings of humanity before the spread of, particularly dangerous diseases. Believing in world conspiracies is a private matter, but it has nothing to do with the Church's teachings that Christianity adheres to.
The fear of vaccination against coronavirus is quite natural because the vaccine is something new and completely unexplored. It was invented in record time, and people have reason to doubt its effectiveness, to have certain personal fears.
Vaccination is a personal matter for each person, and it should be voluntary. Even with official confirmation that the vaccine is safe and affordable, the state should leave a person space of personal freedom. No medications can be imposed by force.
Our priests urge doctors to listen to vaccination – in this matter, we are absolute partners of our doctors. If there are no medical indications to avoid vaccination, then you need to get vaccinated. This applies not only to the coronavirus but also to other diseases that can be dangerous to health today.
The Church wants clergy to have access to the vaccine first. We had a conversation about this during a meeting of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches with the Prime Minister of Ukraine – we mentioned that clergymen, like other social workers in the state, work with people. We really want our churches to be a safe space for citizens.
If priests are included in the vaccination plan, we will advise them to take advantage of this opportunity. But we emphasize voluntariness.
Personally, I have all the vaccinations that are given in childhood. The last one I did a few years ago was for the flu. It is absolutely normal for a modern person to use such an opportunity in order to protect themselves from diseases.
When the coronavirus vaccine becomes available to me as a clergyman or a person who has a certain age, then obviously I will accept such an offer.
It is very important for us that vaccination takes into account the most vulnerable segments of the population so that the vaccination plan is fair. So that there is no speculation around this case. Pope Francis notes that the most marginalized and poor should have the right to be vaccinated, just like all other citizens.
By the way, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict have already been vaccinated. This is a very good example for all bishops, clergy and citizens of Ukraine.
For Ukrainians who are hesitant to get vaccinated, I would advise you to listen to your doctors. If the state of health does not cause contraindications for vaccination, then you should protect yourself from this disease, since we know that there are no other medicines today.
Take care of your health. If you need to get vaccinated, then get vaccinated.