17 May 2021
From the desk of the General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana
Leaders of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) over the age of 60 were today, vaccinated against COVID-19. The leaders, namely Bishop Mosa Sono of Grace Bible Church, Rev Frank Chikane of the Apostolic Faith Mission and Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana of the Ethiopian Episcopal Church were vaccinated at the Esangweni Community Health Care Centre in Tembisa, Gauteng.
Speaking after they had been vaccinated, the SACC leaders commended the Provincial Government for the speed and ease of Phase 1B and 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme. Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary of the SACC lamented the fact that there still appears to be resistance on the part of the community to get registered. “Imagine – a big township like Tembisa, but only 2 000 people have registered. It says something about the anxiety and fear that people feel, and yet we know now that 60% of the people that die are over the age of 60, which means we have to do everything we can to save those lives,” he said. Added Mpumlwana, “It is our task as church to help preserve lives. If all five million over-60s are registered and vaccinated by end of July, more gogos will live to see the summer and another winter! At the same time we continue to save lives through the mask, distance, hand washing and ventilation. This is our clarion call!”
Bishop Mosa Sono encouraged all the local leaders from Tembisa to follow in their footsteps, and be first to be vaccinated. “It really would be good to get some of the leaders in the community to come and get vaccinated as that would go a long way in encouraging people to come here. It’s such a painless process, and to think that it saves your life. A short process like this that goes a long way to save your life,” said Sono.
Rev Frank Chikane took the opportunity to remind South Africans that the process of receiving vaccinations is not new, as every adult at some point during their childhood had to be vaccinated. “Don’t forget that all of us were vaccinated at particular times during our childhood. When we went to school, we had to produce a card that proved that we went through these vaccines. And those vaccines have saved a lot of children from all sorts of diseases, like polio. But we defeated that,” said Chikane. “I would like to say to the community, let’s go and vaccinate. There is nothing extraordinary about it,” he concluded.
The leaders’ public vaccination kicks off the SACC campaign #VaxuGogo (pronounced ‘Vax-uGogo’). This is a campaign in response to the call for community members over 60 to register for Phase 2 of the vaccine roll-out in order to get vaccinated.
The campaign calls on all churches to assist their elderly in registering for the vaccine — especially elders in remote areas.
“We’re asking young people to volunteer their time to register elders in their church and community. We’re calling on community members over 60 to check on their peers, assure them of the safety of the vaccine and assist them in registering and vaccinating,” said Bishop Malusi. He emphasised that the focus of the SACC is in partnering with churches in remote areas to offer their church buildings and gather youth volunteers to register the elderly in their communities. “We aim to work with member churches in all municipalities to identify churches that serve as coordination centres of the drive in their municipal area, to assist in registering and vaccinating the elderly,” he said.
The SACC leaders actively encourage community members who want to help the elderly register for the vaccine to join the #VaxuGogo Volunteers WhatsApp group and find out how they can participate in the various drives to not only register the elderly but assist them in getting the vaccine. *Link to WhatsApp Group* https://chat.whatsapp.com/BZNYNlgCzpcCCH7TYmn2YA
Any churches wishing to participate in the #VaxuGogo campaign or who may need assistance in registering the elderly in their church or community can call the SACC National office at 011 241 7800.
SACC Communications Consultant
South African Council of Churches
Tel: 084 074 1285 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org