PM Harris supports local church leadership encouraging people to take the vaccine

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, May 31, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — Prime Minister and Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Seven (Bellevue to Ottley’s), Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, has joined with the leadership of a church in his constituency as it encourages its congregants to do the right thing and take the Covid-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Harris made his stand known on Sunday May 30 at the Christ Church Anglican (Episcopal) Church, where he and his entourage had attended morning worship. The service, held on Trinity Sunday Pentecost I Year B, had Dr Joycelyn Pennyfeather as the Officiant and Preacher.

“I want to join with Dr Pennyfeather, and Dr (Delores) Stapleton-Harris, in inviting every citizen and resident, do the right thing,” said Dr Harris. “Many people say they are waiting – I do not know waiting for what, or waiting for how long. The truth is around the world there is a shortage of the vaccine. We are lucky here we still have some available and the vaccines have a short shelf life, which means that they will expire by a certain date.”

Dr Joycelyn Pennyfeather who offered a prayer for the Prime Minister and for the Nation, and asked God for continued blessings upon the Prime Minister, observed that the Lord has blessed the country with people who can lead with strength of authority. She advised the congregation that God would have given the world mechanisms it needs to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and all they need is to make the right decision.

“While I stand in front of the congregation every Sunday, I will continue to encourage people to make the right decision,” said Dr Pennyfeather in a post service interview. “I would have said, as well, that God has given us the mechanisms that we need to fight the pandemic. He has given us knowledgeable people, He has given us the vaccine and most of all He has given us His word because once we have faith in His word then He will be able to see us through this pandemic.”

She continued: “And so I ask everybody to go out there and do the right thing, use wisdom that God has given us, because once you use that wisdom that God has given to us, common sense will prevail and so persons will make the right decision and I stand before you as a fully vaccinated person, so I implore all of you to make that decision, make the right choice.”

In the meantime Dr Delores Stapleton-Harris, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, who is a member of the church welcomed the visitors and read notices. She said the congregants were honoured by the presence of Prime Minister Harris and his entourage and invited them to return to worship soon.

Relative to the coronavirus, Dr Stapleton-Harris reminded the congregation that Covid-19 was still raging and commended everyone who has received the vaccine. She encouraged those who have not yet taken the vaccine to do so reminding them that they must do so for themselves, their loved ones, the congregation, the community and the country recognising that no one is safe unless everyone is safe.

The Permanent Secretary provided the extended hours of the health centres in the week starting Monday May 31, to accommodate vaccination sessions, which are 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. She encouraged the congregants to reach out to their health practitioners or the health clinics to get their questions answered and concerns addressed after which they should make the right choice.

But in the meantime she encouraged all to comply with the Covid non-pharmaceutical protocols of frequent hand washing and sanitising, mask wearing and physical and social distancing.

Prime Minister Harris who concluded his remarks by telling the congregation that vaccines are not a new phenomenon as people have been taking them since when they were young and have helped eradiate a number of diseases, advised citizens and residents to take the vaccines now that they are available.

He noted that even if one was to get only one dose, their risk of contracting the virus would be substantially reduced.

“So let us do the right thing – our country has been doing very well, but we need people to continue to pray,” said the Honourable Prime Minister. “We need you in this church, you in every church and out of church to acknowledge the favour of God on our country and continue to pray for us in leadership, because the burden of leadership is great, especially at a time of crisis.”

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