A few brief reflections on Covid-19 vaccination, on this day after I received my second Moderna shot. I am, in this sense, an "early-adopter" in that I was allowed to receive it as part of Phase I in our area. The retreat center I work for is part of a convent that houses an infirmary and retirement center for Sisters, and so they were part of this phase, along with associated staff. I feel grateful to have been given this opportunity.
So, there you now know that I am in favor of the vaccine, and I might add that I had no ill effects from it. I know a few who've had a couple of days of nausea or fever, but then it was over and done. Most people have no problems, other than, perhaps, a sore arm.
It is with dismay that I've watched our national and international discussion about the vaccine options for Covid-19, appalled by the misinformation and general ignorance of science. For example, a Facebook friend the other day was recommending a certain vitamin regimen as an alternative to "dubious vaccines." I posted a comment to the effect that vaccine safety and efficacy had been well researched and was far more credible than what we know about the vitamin alternatives she was touting. I have no problem with vitamin use, only they ought not be considered an alternative to vaccines.
Then there are those who maintain that the vaccines are derived from research done on tissues of aborted babies. There may be connection to such embryonic stem cell lines for some vaccines, but not for the Moderna and Pfizer options currently used in the U.S. At any rate, the Vatican has already weighed in on this topic and advised that it is acceptable to use ethically compromised vaccines if that is the only choice one has. Here's a link to the document, and point #2 is the one to consider.
It would be impossible to reply to all of the other misunderstandings and conspiracy theories surrounding vaccines, so I refer you here to a webinar I presented with my biblical scholar friend, Jerry Truex, on "Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories and the Mark of the Beast."
Covid-19 has been one of the most disruptive forces on the planet in decades. There is much that citizens can do to help allay the spread, like wearing masks and social distancing in public places. Receiving a vaccine when it becomes available to you would also be a way to protect yourself against serious infection and help to speed the journey to herd immunity and the end of the pandemic. Many still scoff at masks and distancing, and many more say they will not receive the vaccine for various reasons. That's so saddening!
I would like to suggest that vaccination, mask-wearing and social distancing in public places ought to be considered ethical obligations for all people during these times. The libertarian idea of "my life, my freedom, my consequences" is a lie, negated by the fact that others are affected by our actions, especially irresponsible ones. Certainly, any follower of Jesus ought to practice these measures not simply as a duty, but as charitable acts of service to others. I hope Christian leaders will emphasize this.
Finally, I know that my vaccination is mostly a protection against serious infection by the virus, and not a license to go about and do as I please now. After one is vaccinated, there is still a risk of asymptomatic transmission. I still need to mask up in public and practice distancing, hand-washing, etc. Also, no one is quite sure about how long the immunity lasts. As with flu shots, we might need to get a booster regularly. Covid-19 will be with us for a long time, though it need not be as disruptive in society if we all do our share to help prevent its spread.
A few more links:
Why two shots for mRNA vaccines.
What can you do after vaccination?
Vaccine Finder is an excellent site to find where vaccines are being offered in your area. Easy to search, with contact information.
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