Michigan religious leaders discuss making an informed COVID-19 vaccination decision

The virtual event was the first in a series of town halls hosted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 7:51 PM EST
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Mich. (WLUC) - On January 21, religious leaders from a variety of faiths came together for a virtual discussion about the coronavirus vaccine. The event was the first in a series on making informed decisions about vaccination hosted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Rabbi Mark Miller of Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills said he believes he has a religious requirement to do his part and get vaccinated.

“In Jewish tradition, it’s not just a choice but an obligation to protect your health, and just as much, to protect the health, safety, and life of others,” said Rabbi Miller.

Other speakers stressed people of faith can both believe in God and in science.

“The miracle happens through the vaccine that’s discovered,” said Reverend Lydia Bucklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan in Marquette. “The miracle happens in the person who is healed from the virus because others stayed away from them and they were able to heal at home.”

“It’s God’s guidance that gave us the ability to make medicine,” said Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights.

From Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Bishop Charles Ellis III said with the spread of false information about the COVID vaccine, it’s important for people in religious circles to communicate the truth with one another.

“I think what we need is herd conversation that has integrity and that is founded in truth,” Bishop Ellis said. “We have a lot of herd conversation going on like, ‘I saw this on Facebook; I saw this on the internet,’ and at the end of the day, we have a whole lot of people making decisions off of information from individuals they don’t know.”

MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun encouraged religious Michigan residents to consider the facts and make an educated choice about getting vaccinated.

“The arrival of a safe and effective vaccine means that there is an end in sight, and these vaccines are really what we should see in our communities as the tool to end this pandemic,” said Dr. Khaldun.

The full town hall can be viewed on the MDHHS Facebook page.

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