Abu Dhabi
The vaccination campaigns have been organised at various places of worship in Abu Dhabi as a show of unity against the pandemic. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Places of worship across Abu Dhabi have been collaborating with Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre to offer COVID-19 vaccines to community members.

The vaccination campaigns have been organised as a show of unity against the pandemic. On Monday, Abu Dhabi Media Office released a video on social media platforms, showing scenes from the various vaccination drives.

Leaders speak

Over the last few weeks, leaders of diverse faith communities have called upon residents, urging them to vaccinate against COVID-19.

Orado Sarkis, religious leader at the Armenian Church in Abu Dhabi, said he chose to vaccinate in order to live safely and protect the community.

“Vaccination is something we must do so that the community can lead a normal life. The church’s parishioners, the church and communities across the world, everyone has their own responsibilities ... This vaccine has been [proven] to be safe. I don’t know why some people are hesitant and worried about getting the vaccination since [it] has been scientifically proven to be effective for all ages. For me, I have come of my own free will to vaccinated in order to be an example for my parish so that we can live in a safe and virus-free community,” Sarkis said.

Essential step

“We would like to thank the frontline workers, and also backline workers like scientists, researchers and advisors, for making these vaccines possible. Now we must all do our part in supporting the government’s efforts to keep everyone safe. Taking these vaccines which are available here and are approved by local government authorities is an essential step in keeping everyone safe and restoring normalcy. The UAE leadership have done a commendable job in keeping everyone safe and restoring as much normalcy as possible. As responsible individuals, let us help create a safer and surer world,” said Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, religious leader and international spokesperson of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi.

“I have chosen to get vaccinated because I have a moral responsibility towards the community. This vaccine is a unique experience. We must act responsibly and raise our children to be responsible. Accordingly, we must take a joint humanitarian step by heading to the nearest vaccination centre to get vaccinated. In case of any mild side effects, these are easily treatable; the vaccine is safe and this historic gesture from the UAE will never be forgotten as it has offered this vaccine for free and very quickly to all segments of the community in order to have a safe haven for everyone living in the UAE,” said F. Bishoy A D Emad, religious leader at the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church.

Community responsibility

Edwar Khouri Abdullah, religious leader for the Greek Orthodox Archbishopric, believes getting vaccinated is a responsibility towards the community.

“We believe in medicine and we believe that God gave us knowledge. With that in mind, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated so that we can live in a safe and healthy community. We have chosen to vaccinate because of our responsibility towards the community. We haven’t seen any other country offering the vaccine for free to all community members and so fast, and by taking such brave and pioneering steps. I do believe that if a large number of people get vaccinated, life will go back to normal, God willing, and this motivates us to contribute to every effort that benefits the community,” Abdullah said.

Step towards normality

Vicar Reverend Father Benny Mathew, religious leader at the St George Orthodox Cathedral, chose to vaccinate as well.

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“I choose the vaccine because it is a must as this [pandemic spreads all over the world]. The spread of COVID-19 is [continuing to spread everywhere]. To control [this], the vaccine is needed and all ... should take the vaccine. [Our community members] are all aware of this, and we are [encouraging them to get the vaccine]. We are also [making announcements] in the church after services, and [spreading the message] through social media, in addition to coordinating [with authorities to organise vaccination drives]. By getting the vaccine, everything becomes normal. You can move freely, go anywhere and the virus [can be] eradicated,” Mathew said.

Preventive measures

In addition to encouraging residents to vaccinate, health authorities in Abu Dhabi also stressed the need to keep up protective measures, including mask wearing, regular handwashing and social distancing.