Queensland’s vaccine rollout has restarted in the Torres Strait but is facing a major hiccup as some locals believe the jab conflicts with their religious beliefs.
The inoculation program was paused for several weeks while the AstraZeneca jab was swapped out for the Pfizer vaccine – taking into consideration the region’s relatively young population.
Thursday Island marks the centre for the region’s rollout, with many residents having close family and cultural ties to Papua New Guinea – raising concerns COVID-19 could spread out of control if it reached the island.
Although during an earlier rollout nine out of 10 residents were prepared to receive the jab, some locals are now attempting to persuade others not to take the vaccine and instead opt for bush medicine and religion.
Anglican missionary Matthias Tovotasi told Sky News while he believed faith was compatible with the vaccine, he was aware other churches were discouraging their congregations to get the jab.
“The most important thing to know is that faith can’t work by itself,” he said.