News Story

Church Assists Pandemic Fight in French Polynesia

Vaccination information meetings set up in Tahiti Church buildings

On 19 March 2021, the people of French Polynesia lit candles to mark the arrival one year ago of the COVID-19 pandemic to their country. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined their fellow citizens in faith and optimism, and are taking action in the fight against the coronavirus.

When the COVID-19 Prevention Taskforce of the Department of Health asked for help in telling people about their vaccination program, Latter-day Saint leader, Elder Benjamin Sinjoux, responded by setting up informational meetings in all nine of the stakes (groups of congregations) on the island of Tahiti.

The meetings included members of the Prevention Taskforce who told attendees about the importance of vaccination and encouraged them to continue taking measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in French Polynesia. 

"These meetings allowed people to ask questions, to talk about their concerns and to help in their individual decision to be vaccinated," said Bruno Ercoli, president of the Papeete Stake. 

Adelaide Tamaku, head officer of the taskforce, offered her thanks. "Members of your church take their health seriously. Our team felt like the vaccination information message was well received.”

“People need to understand how vaccinations work in order to better protect themselves. Now that the vaccination is open to everyone, I will be vaccinated to protect myself first, as well as my family and those around me,” said Henri Estall, president of the Arue Stake. “It is extra important for me because I have to meet a lot of people." 

President Harod Teivao, leader of the Faa’a Takaroa Stake, said, "There is much misinformation about vaccination circulating right now and these meetings gave people facts. We are ready now to help people who want to be vaccinated.”

Steeve Tchan, Punaauia Stake President, said, “Prior to this meeting, I had already intended to get the vaccine. With this training and the vaccination plan, it is reassuring to see that the government is willing to care for and protect its population.” 

Participants were convinced of the importance of acting together to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus through vaccination and hygiene measures. French Polynesia, April 20212021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“The epidemic has improved in recent weeks with a sharp drop in new cases of COVID-19 and an increase in the number of people vaccinated,” said Daniel Ponia, head of the prevention taskforce. “Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant because a recurrence is still possible." 

Among the speakers at the meetings was Néphi Nauta. "I was hospitalized in intensive care,” he said. “Despite my grim diagnosis, my whole family was fasting and praying for my recovery. And I am here to bear witness to the miracle that has happened to me.”

“I fully support the vaccination campaign. Let us remain vigilant and remember that we are not all equal in the face of COVID-19, so let us think of others.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, talked about this situation in a recent address. “If there is one thing I do know, it is that this virus did not catch Heavenly Father by surprise. God has prepared His children and His Church for this time. But we will do more than simply grit our teeth, hold on, and wait for things to return to the old normal. We will move forward, and we will be better as a result.” 

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