Senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, John Hagee, previously declared that Jesus Christ was the vaccine for COVID-19 when he was hospitalised with coronavirus. However, his ministry has now moved to clarify that he believes in both Jesus and medicine, and revealed he is taking a COVID vaccination.
Hagee Ministries spokesperson Ari Morgenstern said in a statement: "Pastor Hagee himself is taking the vaccine. Pastor Hagee believes in both the power of prayer and modern medicine. These are not mutually exclusive."
Hagee contracted the COVID-19 virus himself last November, and experienced strong symptoms. He was in hospital for 15 days before recovering, and credited his recovery to the healing power of God.
He said, "I'm sitting in this chair today to the testimonial of the healing power of Jesus Christ. I spent 15 days in the hospital with double pneumonia, and I'm still supposed to be home gasping for air.
"I'm on this platform speaking of the glory of God for the healing power of God. I breathe under the authority of Christ every sickness and every disease and especially the COVID thing that's sweeping this nation.
"We have a vaccine; the name is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Let Him sweep through this country and heal the righteous who dare to ask for it. Heal our church members. Restore them rapidly. Let the name of Jesus Christ be exalted because He is Lord over all."
Dr. Jay Bhatt, ABC News' medical contributor complained: "Doctors say remarks like that make it more difficult to ensure that all communities are protected from the virus."
"The challenges that we're seeing from the anti-vaxxer community, from religious communities, are also impacting equitable access to vaccines, which I think is a really important issue — particularly in communities of colour. The choice we're making is one of health, of one of safety, of one of helping us together do the things we need to get to a COVID-free world."