Vaccines are a ‘personal decision,’ Hillsong Church founder says after congregant refuses shot and dies of Covid-19

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By Paul P. Murphy, CNN

The laminitis of the multinational Hillsong Church told CNN that Covid-19 vaccines are a “personal determination for each idiosyncratic to marque with the counsel of aesculapian professionals” aft a congregant who publically refused inoculation died of complications from the disease.

Hillsong Church planetary elder pastor Brian Houston had announced the decease of Stephen Harmon, who attended Hillsong successful California, connected societal media this week.

Harmon had said connected societal media that helium would not person the vaccine, adjacent erstwhile helium was warring Covid-19 successful a infirmary this month.

“Stephen was conscionable a young antheral successful his aboriginal 30s,” Houston wrote, announcing Harmon’s decease connected societal media. “He was 1 of the astir generous radical I cognize and helium had truthful overmuch successful beforehand of him.”

Houston expanded connected his societal media posts successful a connection to CNN, saying that “any nonaccomplishment of beingness is simply a infinitesimal to mourn and connection enactment to those who are suffering and truthful our heartfelt prayers are with his household and those who loved him.”

“On immoderate aesculapian issue, we powerfully promote those successful our religion to travel the guidance of their doctors,” Houston said, emphasizing that the church’s absorption was connected spiritual well-being.

“While galore of our staff, enactment and congregation person already received the Covid-19 vaccine, we admit this is simply a idiosyncratic determination for each idiosyncratic to marque with the counsel of aesculapian professionals,” Houston’s connection reads.

Hillsong Church, founded successful Australia, has congregations astir the world. Harmon attended Hillsong successful Los Angeles, CNN affiliate KCBS reported.

CNN sought remark from the Harmon household but did not person a response.

Prior to him saying helium was infected with Covid-19, Harmon made 2 posts connected Twitter connected June 3 successful which helium parodied Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” lyrics — saying helium had 99 problems but “a vax” wasn’t one.

Just implicit a period later, Harmon had pneumonia arsenic a effect of Covid-19 corruption and was sitting successful a infirmary furniture successful a Covid ward, according to his Instagram posts.

He had been hospitalized with Covid-19 complications since astatine slightest June 30, according to his societal media posts. Throughout his hospitalizations, societal media posts amusement that Harmon kept successful predominant interaction with Houston.

Even portion successful a hospital, Harmon was adamant that helium would not person the vaccine, posting helium wasn’t “anti-vax” but was “pro information.”

“i’m not against it, i’m conscionable not successful a unreserved to get it,” helium wrote successful a July 8 Instagram post. “Ironically, arsenic I proceed to laic present … successful my covid ward isolation country warring disconnected the microorganism and pneumonia.”

He added helium wouldn’t get a vaccine adjacent aft recovery.

“Biden’s doorway to doorway vaccine ‘surveyors’ truly should beryllium called JaCovid Witnesses. #keepmovingdork,” Harmon wrote the aforesaid time connected Twitter.

On Friday, aft his decease was announced, Harmon’s Instagram relationship was made private.

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CNN’s Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

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