Dear Editor:

You’d have to be deaf, willingly ignorant, or both to have not been aware of the pandemic that has wracked the world for over a year now. You’d have to be more than those things to not have heard of the vaccine — and of the protests against it.

Currently, only 47% of people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Even more distressing than this is that a staggering percentage of that percentage is made up of Christians. Among Hispanic Protestants, 42% of believers are vaccine-hesitant, while 15% refuse it; among White Evangelicals, 28% are hesitant, while 26% are opposed; among Black Protestants, 32% are hesitant while 19% refuse it (Wingfield 1).

This is often due to misplaced fear and misinformation. I write to emphasize that Christians should not be opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine; the vaccine is not in any way a danger to your health and/or that of your family. 

I’ll begin this letter with a statement that is 100% factual, not at all influenced by any politics or beliefs: The vaccine for Covid-19 is safe. There is no conspiracy behind it and it will not give you Covid-19 itself: “The COVID-19 vaccines do not have any virus or other infectious material in them,” (Kelen and Maragakis 1). There have been instances of distributers pausing their production to ensure the safety of its recipients: “One example is that in April 2021 the CDC and FDA paused administration of the J&J vaccine so they could review data... After this review, the FDA and CDC determined that the benefits of the J&J vaccine outweigh the risk of this very rare side effect…” (Kelen and Maragakis 1). There is absolutely zero factual (or even factually based) evidence that the Covid-19 vaccine causes negative side effects in its recipients nor infertility, nor contains any part of an aborted fetus. If you disagree with this, I strongly encourage you to speak to someone who’s been to an accredited medical school or find a legitimate medical journal. Many Christians are not convinced of its safety, often due to the argument that because they have faith in God, they do not need a vaccine, which simply does not hold truth.

One of the most prevalent arguments in opposition to the vaccine is the claim that, “I don’t need any vaccine; God will put an end to this virus.” The fallacy in this claim lies in the distortion of its own words. God has provided the vaccine in order to end this pandemic. God gives those in the medical community the knowledge and tools necessary to treat harmful diseases—this is how He provides for us. Consider this: if you were bitten by a rattlesnake, would you go to the hospital to get antivenom? Of course you would! Why is getting this vaccine any different than receiving antivenom for a snake bite? God expects us to use the minds that He instilled in us. In the same way that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 states “If anyone is unwilling to work, he shall not eat,” it is true that if anyone is unwilling to use their minds and apply logic and sensibility to life—in this case, getting the vaccine and following the recommended guidelines—then they shall not remain healthy.

As previously mentioned, one of the greatest reasons that many Christians refuse to get the vaccine is due to several misinformed faith leaders. Take a hugely popular Christian leader in Florida who was, and remains, one of the loudest voices of opposition to the Covid-19 pandemic, claiming that it is a “phantom plague,” (Mantyla 1). As the daughter of a nurse who has worked (and continues to work) in direct contact with Covid-positive patients, I can say with absolute credibility that there is nothing fake about this deadly disease. Words and claims such as those are spoken by ones whom have not had to listen to the wails of children who just lost their mother (who was young and healthy) to the disease. Her death was not due to any medical mistake or malpractice, nor was it due to a conspiracy designed to kill anyone. She perished at the hands of a devastating and preventable disease. Could a denier of the disease and rejector of the vaccine stand before Christ and honestly tell Him that they did all they could to fulfill His commandment: love thy neighbor?

Indeed, when we get the vaccine, we are obeying Jesus’s commandment to us. When we receive the vaccine, we not only are protecting ourselves, but drastically reducing the rate of infection to those around us. Alternatively, refusing it means denying the safety of both themselves and those around them. All it takes is a hand resting on a surface that had been sneezed upon—that hand touches the mouth, whose particles travel through the air onto the face or hands of another, and the disease is spread. It takes so little for a life to be put in danger, or even be snuffed out like a flame that has not even fully grasped the candle’s wick. As of the drafting of this letter, a staggering 617,335 people have died from Covid-19 and variants in the United States alone. We as Christians should care deeply for each and every one of those people represented by those numbers, as Christ says: “‘The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself..,’” (Mark 12:31 ESV). If even one person perishes due to this disease, it is far too many.

Each day, there are more patients admitted to the hospital that test positive for the Delta variant of Covid-19. This is not surprising to hear on its own; this new variant is exponentially more contagious. What is so shocking is that some of patients were fully vaccinated. Why does this happen? The answer is simple: firstly, the vaccine is only 95% effective, which means that there is still a 5% chance of contracting the virus (very rare). The second part of the answer is that people are stubbornly refusing to take the preventative safety measures listed by medical professionals. However, this is a dilemma whose solution is perfectly within reach: reliable, legitimate information. Trust in the medical professionals that God has blessed with knowledge. If we all do that, then we will see an end to this pandemic. Alternatively, if people remain inactive as they do now, waves of pestilence will continue to crash upon us until there is none left to contract it. Our morgues will overflow, because people will die faster than they can be buried (which happened at hospitals across our country less than one year ago). Death’s scythe will be worn dull, yet continue to cut, and cut, and cut until nothing remains. This is what face if we do not keep ourselves and those around us safe, which we do by wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting our vaccines.

James 4:14 offers the wisdom, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes,” (James 4:14 NIV). We cannot claim to know what tomorrow holds. However, this fact must not stop us from doing our part—the part that God expects us to enact—to encourage a tomorrow for our children. His provision of an end to the pandemic that we’ve all been praying for lies within the vaccine. My fellow Christians, I urge you to listen and see what God has blessed us with: a potential end to this pandemic. If we are to be rid of this pestilence, obey Jesus’s commandment to us, and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, then we must follow the path that God has laid out for us: we must roll up our sleeves.

Sincerely, 

Abigail Rogers

Works Cited:

Kelen, Gabor David, M.D. and Maragakis, Lisa Lockerd, M.D., M.P.H. “Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?” John Hopkins Medicine, 16 July 2021, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/is-the-covid19-vaccine-safe.

Mantyla, Kyle. “Rodney Howard- Browne: Coronavirus Pandemic is a Globalist Plot to Kill People with Vaccines.” 16 March 2020, Right Wing Watch, https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/rodney-howard-browne-coronavirus-pandemic-is-a-globalist-plot-to-kill-people-with-vaccines/.

Wingfield, Mark. “Faith Leaders Are Key to Reaching Herd Immunity, Researchers Say.” Baptist News Global, 23 Apr. 2021, https://baptistnews.com/article/faith-leaders-are-key-to-reaching-herd-immunity-in-u-s-researchers-say/#.YQlgIPKSlPb.

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(1) comment

Don Massey

Thank you for your letter regarding the dangers of the pandemic. You have described in eloquent manner our dire situation. To be victims of disease is one thing. To be victims of hubris is the stuff of tragedy.

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