Advertisement

To Address COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns in Togo, “give appropriate information”: Bishops

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Togo (CET) during their ordinary session held in Lome from February 23-26

Catholic Bishops in Togo have, in a collective statement, asked the government to work toward dispelling concerns among citizens regarding COVID-19 vaccine.

In the statement issued Friday, February 26 following their Ordinary Plenary Session, members of the Episcopal Conference of Togo (CET) urge the government of the West African nation to be transparent about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have heard the worries expressed by part of the population about the COVID-19 vaccines, which the Government has announced will be coming to our country,” Catholic Bishops in Togo say.

They urge the government to give “appropriate information and explanations” about the COVID-19 vaccine “in order to dispel these legitimate concerns of our fellow citizens.”

“The increase in cases of COVID-19 with little or even no information” is also a cause for concern for CET members.

Advertisement

As a way forward, the Bishops invite the Faure Gnassingbé-led government to ensure that “the vaccines are available to all and on time,” and that frontline workers are given “the necessary means to combat the disease.”

They urge the people of God in the West African nation to “redouble their vigilance to curb the spread of the disease.”

On February 16, the leadership of the Togolese Ministry of health, in an official statement, asked “regional and prefectural officers to start the count of the first targets of its incoming COVID-19 vaccination campaign,” TogoFirst reported.

The vaccination campaign, which is expected to cover the entire country, is meant to target individuals with a high risk of exposure to COVID-19.

As part of the Covax project, the West African nation recently received 636,000 vaccine shots for the first half of 2021.

More in Africa

With a population of just under 8 million, Togo has recorded at least 6,901 cases of COVID-19 including 84 related deaths and 5,660 recoveries.

In their collective statement issued at the end of the February 23-26 Ordinary Plenary Assembly, CET members express their appreciation for the “reopening of places of worship and the resumption of celebrations in almost all the provinces of the country with the exception of some churches in the Gulf and Agoe-Nyivé provinces.”

While calling for a total reopening of places of worship, the Catholic Church leaders strongly urge “all the faithful to scrupulously observe the measures taken by the Government as well as the directives given by the Conference, in the fight against COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, the Bishops acknowledge with appreciation government “efforts in the fight against the pandemic” and call on relevant officials “to ensure that assistance to the people takes into account the real needs of all levels and sectors of the population.”

In their collective statement signed by CET's Secretary General, Fr. Émile Segbedji, the Bishops go on to underscore the importance of collective efforts in the fight against COVID-19 saying, “This battle can only be won together.”

Advertisement

“We encourage the government and the health authorities to continue to work with civil society organizations, community and religious leaders, who live in permanent contact with the people at the grassroots level,” Catholic Bishops in Togo say in their February 26 statement.

They express concerns about “deepening socio-political crisis in which our country has been plunged for the past year” and thank all those who are working toward resolving the challenges.

The Bishops appeal to all those behind the socio-political crisis to make a new start and to show patriotism manifested in seeking the higher good.  

CET members further invite “every Togolese to greater discernment and common sense in the appropriate analysis of the information that circulates on the political life of our Country.”

“We wish to reassure the faithful and all the people of Togo that, in the name of our pastoral mission, nothing can deter us from our commitment to social justice, peace and the rooting of democracy in the life of our nation,” Catholic Bishops in Togo say in their collective message. 

(Story continues below)

They invite “all the faithful, Priests, consecrated persons, and all people of good to mobilise themselves to pray with faith, imploring from the Lord the grace of conversion and liberation of hearts.”

The Bishops recommend that this prayer intention “for the Church and our Country” be mentioned at all Eucharistic celebrations during the rest of Lent until Easter Sunday.

They invite members of the Clergy and other pastoral agents to ensure that this call to prayer is effectively followed in Parishes and other communities at the grassroots.

The Bishops encourage the people of God in the West African nation to remain confident in the Lord who gives them the necessary strength “to humbly and courageously continue their mission with their eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.”