How religious leaders are responding to a growing number of questions from worshipers about COVID-19 vaccines

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Thousands more people in Austin will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

As more shipments arrive, religious leaders tell us they are addressing moral concerns about the safety of the vaccine.

“It was very moving,” said Imam Attia Omara of the Greater Austin Islamic Center. “Almost every service we have a request for someone asking for a prayer or someone who has passed away family members.”

For months, he and other religious leaders have been counseling families affected by COVID-19.

“We’ve had people in our church who got sick or lost their jobs or had to let people go in their businesses,” said Pastor Eric Bryant of Gateway, a non-denominational church with six locations in the greater area. from Austin.

Now, some religious leaders are also educating worshipers on COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is our ethical responsibility as religious leaders to ensure that we educate our community.”

Imam Attia Omara, Islamic Center of Greater Austin

The Catholic Diocese of Austin has responded to concerns from worshipers that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are derived from tissue from aborted fetuses. Neither vaccine used a cell culture, also known as a cell line, from an aborted fetus during the design, development or production of the vaccine, depending on the vaccine. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, they used a cell line called HEK293, derived from an aborted fetus in 1972, in confirmatory testing.

The Diocese of Austin posted a message to the faithful, saying that “any cooperation in the evil of this contaminated cell line is so distant, and the good to be gained to society so precious, that one can take these vaccines in all confidence. good conscience.”

Bryant and Omara say that while they accept that all worshipers are entitled to their own opinions and choices about vaccination, they encourage confidence in scientific research.

“I think when you look at the evidence and you look at, you know, the results and the findings, you feel like it’s something that, you know, I would just encourage people to be open to. mind taking the vaccine, ”he mentioned.

Omara even addressed the issue in her last sermon on Friday.

Omara and Bryant say they see faith and science go hand in hand. (KXAN Photo / Tahera Rahman)

“It’s the institution we trust, it’s a process we trust, and for that we recommend people take it and consider it safe,” he said.

Omara says most Muslim scholars even say vaccination should be mandatory, otherwise it means you put other people at risk of infection.

“If it comes to the point that you really are, you know, someone who could harm others… unintentionally, then it becomes mandatory.” [to take the vaccine],” he said.

It is an idea taken up by Catholic leaders.

“We cannot fail to fulfill serious obligations such as preventing deadly infections and the spread of contagion among vulnerable people”, writes the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine should be understood as an act of charity towards other members of our community,” they wrote in an open letter.

Dr Guadalupe Zamora says these messages from religious leaders are important – as influential people.

“Between the Moderna vaccine and Pfizer, there were about 75,000 people already vaccinated. It’s not 320 million people, but it’s – it’s a very good population survey, ”said Zamora, who is also a past president of the Travis County Medical Society.

Zamora says he responds to patients’ concerns about vaccines daily and hopes to get the shot next week.

“The only way for us to stop COVID-19 is to get vaccinated,” Zamora said.

“Sometimes God does His most miraculous work because of the insight of people.”

Pastor Eric Bryant, Gateway Church Austin

Bryant and Omara consider faith and science to go hand in hand.

“God has enabled us with the intellect and for us to use this in the right way, and to seek the means that it has provided for us,” Omara said.

“As people of faith, we see no distinction between having faith in God and looking at science and what we can learn from science,” said Bryant.

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About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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