Catholic Bishops in Kenya Endorse COVID-19 Vaccine as “licit, ethically acceptable”

Catholic Bishops in Kenya have endorsed the COVID-19 vaccine that arrived in the country on March 3, saying the inoculation is “licit, ethically acceptable and an act of charity.”

In their March 9 collective statement availed to ACI Africa, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) say, “The Church notes that it is licit and ethically acceptable to receive all COVID-19 vaccines that the Ministry of Health recognizes as clinically genuine, safe, and effective.”

The Catholic Bishops “urge the Ministry of Health to take all the necessary steps required to affirm to the public that the vaccines are genuine, safe and effective in order to encourage people to be vaccinated.”

“In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the COVID-19 pandemic, the common good calls for vaccination, primarily to protect the weakest and most exposed,” KCCB members say.

In their two-page collective statement signed by KCCB Chairman, Archbishop Philip Anyolo, the Bishops say that “receiving the available COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity towards other community members and considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”


“Vaccination is not, as a rule, an obligation and therefore it can only be done on a voluntary basis and at the discretion of an individual after giving informed consent,” they clarify.

“We therefore appeal to the consciences of Kenyans to accept the COVID-19 vaccines in the light of the assurance given by the Ministry of Health,” KCCB members say.

They add, “Those who for reasons of conscience or otherwise decline the vaccination, must avoid becoming vehicles for the transmission of the COVID-19 by strictly adhering to the containment protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health.”

The members of KCCB further avail the Catholic Church’s 497 mission hospitals to the government “to be utilized to ensure the vaccination program is rolled out in an objective and well-coordinated manner and that the vaccine reaches the most vulnerable as stipulated in the vaccination roll-out plan.”

The Catholic Bishops’ endorsement of the COVID-19 vaccine comes half a dozen days after Catholic Doctors in the East African nation cautioned Kenyans against accepting the inoculation saying its “unnecessary.”

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“A vaccine for COVID-19 is unnecessary and should not be given. We appeal to all people of Kenya to avoid taking this vaccine,” members of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA) said in their March 3 ten-page statement signed by their Chairman, Dr. Stephen Kimotho Karanja.

In an interview with ACI Africa March 4, Dr. Karanja underscored the message of his professional colleagues saying that the delivered AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is “unnecessary, absolutely useless and can be extremely dangerous.”

In making his case, the KCDA Chairman noted that the vaccine is unnecessary “because in the history of medicine, vaccines have never been and can never be part of controlling a medical epidemic.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is dangerous as “it is a genetically modified product which has not been tested,” Dr. Karanja said. 

In their March 9 collective statement, Catholic Bishops in Kenya clarify that the March 3 KCDA statement “was made by the Doctors in their own capacity and not on behalf of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.”


“It must be understood that those doctors cannot and should not purport to speak in the name of the Catholic Church,” KCCB members say in their statement availed to ACI Africa.

The Bishops further appeal to Kenyans to continue adhering to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 prevention measures even as they pray for a decrease in COVID-19 infections.

“We thank all the Kenyans for playing their roles as individuals to keep COVID-19 infections going lower and lower,” the Bishops in Kenya say and urge, “Let us be beacons of hope and care to our brothers and sisters. May Almighty God bless and protect the nation and people of Kenya.”