With concerns over misinformation and significant numbers indicating mistrust, including in some UK BAME communities, the bishops were speaking as part of a united churches campaign called Give Hope, which launched on Sunday.
The Archbishop of York, together with the Bishops of Dover, Durham and Truro added their voices to a video which was launched on Sunday, together with members of other churches and groups.
It is hoped that faith communities will use their networks to share trustworthy information about vaccines, helping to bust myths and reassure those who have been offered a vaccine of the true levels of associated risk.
“Good enough for Her Majesty”
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, says in the video: “One of the things we can all do is to take the vaccine as soon as we’re offered it. This is one of the best and fastest routes out of this terrible pandemic.”
The Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen adds: “as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be people of hope.”
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, acknowledges the uncertainty people may feel over a new vaccine, but reminds viewers of the rigorous testing undergone. He said that was to take the vaccine was an “act of love for our neighbours” both near and far.
The Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin also encourages people to take the vaccine and seek accurate information, adding: “If it’s good enough for Her Majesty, it’s good enough for us!”
“Vaccines are safe”
The UK’s independent regulator, the MHRA, last week confirmed that approved vaccines met the strict regulatory standards for safety.
Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, said: “Vaccines are the most effective way to protect against COVID-19 and save lives and prevent serious complications from this terrible virus.
“The data we have collected provides further reassurance that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and continue to meet the rigorous regulatory standards required for all vaccines. We remain confident that the benefits of these vaccines outweigh any risks.”
Campaign will start conversations and give support
The Give Hope campaign is being run by YourNeighbour.org, a convening group working with Government, the NHS and faith communities in response to the challenges of ensuring a wide uptake of the vaccine. It encourages communities to Have a conversation, Offer information, give Practical support and Engage through communication channels such as social media.
Resources are available to churches through the YourNeighbour.org website to help promote vaccines in local churches and communities. These resources include information on the vaccines, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, a website with updated information to help church leaders and members and links to third party information.