Romania’s influential Orthodox Church has called the new Covid-19 vaccine “good news” saying it could bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic which has led to about 14,500 deaths in Romania.
The Romanian patriarchy said Friday that it „welcomed the good news that a vaccine has appeared which could diminish and stop the current pandemic.”
The endorsement of the church, to which more than 85% Romanians belong, is important as it comes after some bishops and cleric downplayed the virus and broke lockdown rules and held services and even encouraged believers to trust in God rather than medical science.
It also comes after a virtually unknown nationalist party which claims to be pro-church and is supported by anti-vaxxers did surprisingly well in Dec. 6 parliamentary elections. It is the fourth-largest party in the new Parliament.
The Romanian Orthodox Church said in a statement Friday that the public should be properly informed about the inoculation and stressed it was “voluntary, free ….. and a right, not an obligation.”
It said medical authorities had the authority to recommend the vaccine and the church was unable to “make a pronouncement about things that are strictly medical.”
The statement said the Romanian patriarchy valued medical science and the benefits it brought and “was and still is favorably disposed toward the vaccine.”
However, it added that ethical norms needed to be respected and people should be informed about the benefits and the risks and “the concrete responsibility in the event that the vaccine produces adverse effects,” on someone who’s been vaccinated.
“The vaccine should be a responsible act… recommended and accepted only after clear and full information has been given, ” administerd „by competent authorities” and properly understood by people getting it.
“In this way, fear and hesitation will be defeated by confidence and hope.”