To Vax or Not to Vax: That is The Question?
by Nick Bishop
Matt Hancock announced a COVID vaccine will be rolled out almost immediately. Pfizer was the first drug company to announce a vaccine, ready and waiting to be used. Next Moderna said their vaccine could soon be distributed. Oxford University has also announced they are getting closer to completing their testing.
It appears that the government first wants to innoculate the elderly in care homes and hospitals, etc, alongside NHS staff and carers. Obviously, protecting the most vulnerable and those in the care sector/NHS is paramount, including those who are on the frontline and risk their lives daily.
Eventually, and God willing, if all goes well, the vaccines will be available to the entire population. It has been suggested that vaccination centres will most likely be your local GP surgery.
Many volunteers have stepped forward to have these vaccines tested on themselves. These people are indeed brave souls, knowing that there could be risks with the vaccine. Nothing is fool-proof, and we only have to remember how the Thalidomide drug in the 1970s was responsible for a large number of babies born with various disabilities and impediments. Nevertheless, these brave volunteers have stepped forward to receive the COVID vaccine on behalf of all of us.
Less than 3 months ago, it was estimated that there were 40 different vaccine trials being performed on clinical volunteers. There were also 92 pre-clinical vaccines under investigation to see how viable they were.
Boris has announced that the UK has bought large supplies of different vaccines to be used across the nation. Before they are deployed, however, we have been told that they will have gone through rigorous tests. It is understandable why so many are hopeful for a successful vaccine.
In the past, many governments have spoken about herd immunity. In other words, the immune system would recognise the virus and deploy anti-bodies to destroy it-thus leaving the body immune (in theory) to the Coronavirus, should it attempt to attack the body again. However, it now transpires, the only way herd immunity will develop quickly, is when a great bulk of the population has been inoculated. When I visited my local surgery, a nurse friend of mine confirmed this.
The development and eventual deployment of vaccines have been cautiously welcomed by many in the Christian community, though there are still a good number of folk who aren’t eager to rush for the first vaccines. Nonetheless, Im sure we are all thankful to God that in the 21st Century, we have the know-how to develop such medicine and vaccines to fight infection and disease. We know that God works miracles, but he also works through science.
There are of course many sincere Christians who feel the vaccine carries too many risks. At the extreme end, some fear being injected with microchips that can alter our DNA or make us subservient, in some freakish Frankenstein scenario.
It is apparent that along with conspiracy theories, the Trump administration has fuelled the fire of thinking like this. Certainly, Trump’s administration never appeared to take the Coronavirus seriously. Many, including the President, refused to wear masks, and they didn’t always adhere to social distancing, etc. Some held the position that the COVID pandemic is a myth. However, it is quite probable, that there may be some truth to be found in the opinions of those who are not in favour of the way the government is handling the crisis.
Many are sceptical of some of the approaches taken by the government regarding lockdown, wearing masks, etc, and cite how this ‘pandemic’ may be a tool, even a Trojan horse within society, for change towards a digital, cashless society and the erosion of personal freedoms. Even free speech and faith could be under threat as recently voiced in the Houses of Parliament, by our former Prime Minister, Theresa May.
Others question what is the source of the vaccine? Some have fears (especially those in the pro-life community) that cells may have been taken from aborted babies. Other vaccines, like those created to combat Hepatitis B, have been developed from non-human cells.
Technology has allowed science to develop vaccines from other sources, not just living cells, so we need to be careful not to write off every medical advancement, while at the same time, being cautious and astute when the government or the scientific community make certain claims. Medical developments have caused disagreements within all communities, and Christians are no different.
So as we have seen, the idea of a COVID vaccine has been cautiously welcomed seemingly, by the majority. Others refuse outright to have anything to do with it, while others are unsure of their position at the moment. Nonetheless, it is important that we have an open mind and wait on the Lord to show us the way forward.
Each one of us must do our own research and be praying in these uncertain times.
Matt 9:12: “But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well, have no need of a physician, but those who are sick”.
James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach”.
1 Corin 4:2: “Moreover, it is required of stewards, that they are found trustworthy”.
God bless you x.
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