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FILE - The Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 is administered at the Arizona Department of Health Services State Laboratory in Phoenix, Dec. 16, 2020. The Arizona Medical Association on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, pleaded with residents to get vaccinated and boosted and take other protective steps against COVID-19, saying that the state's health care system "is buckling under the weight" of the pandemic's current wave.

Bavita Gopaulchan

The Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies (PAWI) has distanced itself from attempts to discourage citizens from taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

PAWI said while it does not view the vaccine as “the mark of the beast”, it believes each person has a right to consult with his or her physician before deciding whether or not to take the jab.

The organisation’s statement was issued on Monday by Reverand Don Hamilton, days after the group, TTResponse, led by Bishop Dr Victor Gill, called on the Prime Minister to stop the COVID-19 vaccination programme. TTResponse said both the virus and the vaccine are nothing but bio-weapons.

While PAWI did not make reference to any particular group in its statement, the organisation acknowledged that everyone is entitled to form their own opinion from information received but, “strongly disagree with those whose actions may encourage others to break the law or create unnecessary social unrest in a nation, already saturated with the global anxieties of the pandemic”.

“We believe that recklessly purporting misinformation on the vaccine, poses a threat to the safety of our national community, and we unreservedly distance ourselves from such acts,” it said.

The organisation further stated, “We believe that those in authority (government), have been instituted by God and should be respected, honoured and be the subjects of our earnest prayers and support”.

“We affirm from scripture, that while human authorities are appointed by God, we reserve the right to respectfully express disagreement if/or when policies and laws are in direct contradiction to God, the highest ultimate authority,” PAWI added.

PAWI ended its statement by calling on members within its congregations throughout the country to continue to obey the guidelines as issued by the Ministry of Health and the relevant authorities adding that, “We implore you, to ‘hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful,’ and also, prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good.”