The missionary sending unit of the Southern Baptist Convention has updated its policies for missionaries and staff members, requiring that all missionaries and children 16 years and older be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, effective immediately, if they want to continue being missionaries with the SBC.
In a statement posted to their website, Julie McGowan, vice president of communications and public relations explains:
The IMB policy requires IMB missionaries and their children ages 16 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to attending Field Personnel Orientation prior to their long-term field service; and IMB missionaries and their children ages 16 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to attending Stateside Conference during their periodic return to the United States. Attendance at the two conferences is mandatory for missionaries before initial entry or return to a country of service. The policy also requires staff members who must interact with field personnel at Field Personnel Orientation and Stateside Conferences to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination. The policy is effective immediately.
She goes on to note that the organization already required other vaccinations, and this one would just be added to the list, as “IMB’s medical team and senior leadership team are adhering to precautions recommended by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.)
While they are aware that they will invariably cause some missionaries to quit as a result, they are fully prepared for that option, noting that as an organization, they will “continue to seek the Lord’s wisdom as the organization navigates each difficult decision and as conditions continue to change.”
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