June 15, 2024

A faith-based case for the COVID vaccine

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To the Editor,

WWJD. “What would Jesus do?” The bracelets were everywhere as I grew up in one of our local evangelical churches. The bracelet was designed to be worn as a daily reminder that we are not on this earth for ourselves. Instead we are to live like Jesus and serve others. Christians (like myself and some of you reading this) have been called to lay down our lives and serve Jesus and our neighbors. I can’t help but think that politics, misinformation and fear has become a major impediment to our Christian duty to serve. A Pew Research Center survey from earlier this year found that 45 percent of white evangelical Christians said that they would not be vaccinated against COVID-19. I think that if Christians really thought about the COVID vaccine from a Christ-centered point of view, we could prevent additional death and suffering which has abounded these last 18 months. 

I’ve had many vaccine-related conversations with fellow Christians over the past six months. Their reasons for vaccine hesitancy are numerous. Some worry about unknown side effects. Others worry about the effectiveness. Some don’t want to be anything “unnatural” in their bodies. All of these worries and anxieties are completely understandable with a new medical treatment like this vaccine. As millions of people in the U.S. have become vaccinated, we get more and more data that the vaccine is both safe and effective. We’ve found very little risk of serious side effects and the vaccine is effective at reducing the risk of contracting COVID and nearly eliminates the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. There are some unknowns that remain but there is nothing that science can do at this time to waylay those concerns. COVID-19 and the vaccine just haven’t been around long enough to be 100 percent sure. But there is something that we can be certain of, COVID-19 is a horrible virus that has claimed the lives of over 600,000 Americans and millions more around the globe. Jesus deeply loves all of these people. 

In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus was asked what he would consider the greatest commandment. He replied with two commandments. The first was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and the second was to “love your neighbor as yourself”. During a pandemic, our personal choices affect others. If I were to contract the virus and pass it on to another person, I am a link in the chain of transmission. The person I infected goes on to transmit the virus to another and so on and so forth. If I become vaccinated and don’t become infected, that chain ends and no one else is put at risk. Our choices can make a huge impact on another person’s life and possibly save it. During my conversation with fellow Christians, I’ve heard “My body, My choice!” numerous times. I cringe when I hear this because it’s the antithesis to what Jesus called us to do (it also happens to be eerily similar to the rallying cry of abortion activists). When Jesus laid down on the cross and was pierced by nails and a spear, he didn’t throw a fit and say “my body, my choice!”. He willingly laid down his life for you and I. During this pandemic, all we have to do is get our arm pierced by a hypodermic needle in order to potentially save the life of another person who was made in the image of God (it also may save your life too). The risks to ourselves when we get vaccinated is miniscule. We each have the power to stop the chain of transmission and potentially save a life somewhere down the chain. Jesus calls us to live a life driven by our love of God and love of others. Do what Jesus did. Love your neighbor. Get vaccinated. 

Chris Tian

Wendell, MN

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