Coronavirus

Dozens of multicultural and religious leaders gather in NSW to inspire COVID-19 vaccine confidence

Imam and Indonesian community Leader Amin Hady. Source: Lucy Murray / SBS News

“The vaccine is safe for everybody no matter what background you’re from or what religion you’re from," NSW Multicultural Minister Geoff Lee said.

Dozens of community and religious leaders have come together to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations in Sydney in a bid to show the jab is safe for people from all backgrounds.  

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Multicultural Minister Geoff Lee joined multicultural leaders and those from diverse media organisations on Wednesday to field questions from their communities. 

“I call on every member of the Indonesian community to move forward to get themselves vaccinated,” Imam and Indonesian community leader Amin Hady said. 

“It is very important for everyone’s safety - safety for yourself and all other members of the community. So, please do not hesitate and come quickly to get vaccinated.”

Mr Hady was among the religious leaders present who stressed COVID-19 vaccines are compatible with faith. 

“Some members of the community, including the Catholic community, have concerns about the ethics of some of the vaccines,” Catholic bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen said. 

“Many theologians have examined these concerns and they have all reassured us that it is safe, and it is responsible to take the vaccine." 

Hindu priest Jetin Kumer said the government has answered questions from his community about the vaccine. 

“There were a lot of questions, but the authorities gave us the proper answers and we were satisfied with their answers, so we spread this message to the community,” he said.

“[The vaccine] is safe, as a lot of people have taken it." 

Hindu Priest Jetin Kumer
Hindu Priest Jetin Kumer
Lucy Murray / SBS News

Mr Kumer referred to cases of very rare blood closts in Australia that are likely linked to the AstraZeneca shot. Regulators last week uncovered six more cases, taking the Australian total to only 24 cases from 2.1 million doses recorded at the time.

He said there had only been few cases "and we are saving thousands of lives". 

Authorities have repeatedly reminded people the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any risks.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pictured with various community and religious leaders on Wednesday.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pictured with various community and religious leaders on Wednesday.
Lucy Murray / SBS News

Mr Lee said his department has been holding regular video meetings with community leaders to ensure the right information is reaching diverse communities.

“One of the important lessons we have learnt is that our community leaders touch so many parts of the community that traditional media doesn’t hit,” he said. 

“It’s so important for the religious leaders to send out the right message, in the right language and in the right tone.

“The vaccine is safe for everybody no matter what background you’re from or what religion you’re from.”

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