ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINES (Posted to make it shareable)
Many people have asked me to comment on the COVID-19 vaccines and various reports on the internet. The following is my personal understanding, not medical advice and not an official position of the UPCI.
* Vaccines offer tremendous benefits and are compatible with Christian faith. We should be good stewards of our bodies, for they were created by God and are temples of the Holy Spirit. While we trust God for protection and healing, we have the responsibility to do what we can. Thus, we should heed sound medical advice. There is nothing wrong with obtaining assistance from doctors, medicine, and hospitals, but we should carefully investigate any proposed medical treatment. Paul commended his coworker Luke as “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14), and Luke probably treated Paul. As the writer of a Gospel and Acts, Luke also proclaimed faith, miracles, and divine healing. He did not see a conflict between his profession and faith in God.
Vaccines activate the body’s immune system to fight disease. In the twentieth century, smallpox killed an estimated three hundred million people, including 30 percent of those who contracted it. Through a vaccine, medical science eliminated it from humanity in 1980. Similarly, in the 1950s, vaccines stopped a polio epidemic that disabled and killed thousands of children in the US. As another example, the only effective cure for rabies is a vaccine. For those bitten by a rabid animal, a vaccine is 100 percent effective if given within ten days. Without a vaccine, once symptoms develop, the fatality rate is almost 100 percent. As I grew up in a developing country and as I travel worldwide, vaccines have protected me from yellow fever, cholera, diphtheria, polio, tetanus, typhoid, and hepatitis. To enter some countries, I must carry the Yellow Card, or International Certificate of Vaccination, created by the World Health Organization in 1959.
* We should not minimize the danger of COVID-19. Even though it has a high recovery rate, it is highly contagious, and a significant number of people die. Many UPCI ministers and members have died from COVID-19. We should take reasonable medical precautions to limit its spread and reduce pressure on hospitals and intensive care units. Some people are at high risk, and for some a vaccine may not be effective. However, when the vast majority of people become immune through a vaccine or exposure, then the virus will have few places to dwell, and in this way we can all help protect vulnerable people.
* Concerns and objections. Receiving a vaccine is a personal choice. As Christians, we have liberty in nonmoral matters and should not judge or ridicule one another in these areas. (See Romans 14.) To make this decision, I recommend consulting your doctor. For research, I recommend professional, peer-reviewed medical journals and well-respected, well-known, longstanding medical institutions. I don’t recommend getting your primary information from the internet, especially from conspiracy theorists, people who profit from these reports, and otherwise unknown individuals. Any opinion is available online, but most information cannot be independently verified. Many reports are false, and many videos are hoaxes or have been manipulated. Moreover, there are several vaccines for Covid-19, using different methods and technologies. Therefore, when reading a report, ask: To which vaccine does this apply? With these points in mind, let’s examine some major concerns.
1. Vaccines can have negative side effects and can be ineffective for some. True. Thus, it is advisable to seek personal medical advice from a trusted personal physician, especially if a person has special health conditions or a history of allergic reactions.
2. The vaccines for Covid-19 use new technologies and may pose unknown risks. Yes, manufacturers have used new approaches to produce vaccines in a record time of one year. We are being asked to trust medical experts; trials, which involve hundreds of thousands of people; and the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccines will first be administered to medical personnel and high-risk individuals, so we will soon be able to observe the experience of millions of people.
3. Will the vaccines be used for genetic engineering? No. Vaccines use a weakened, inactive, or simulated portion of a virus to trigger the body’s immune system against the real virus. By definition, a virus is a packet of DNA or RNA, and thus every viral infection inserts foreign DNA or RNA in our bodies. But the vaccines won’t change our DNA or our reproductive system.
4. Will a tracking device be inserted into our bloodstream without our consent? There is no evidence for this, and doing so would be highly illegal. This rumor apparently arose from the accounting procedure for medical syringes. A more realistic concern is that we can be tracked by our cell phones.
5. Will the vaccines implement the mark of the beast, or be a precursor to it? In my understanding, the next great event in prophecy is the Rapture. I am looking for the coming of Jesus Christ for His church. In any case, the mark of the beast will be a willful, intentional decision to worship this evil ruler. If we are faced with such a decision, we must simply say no. Many developments could facilitate such a system, including computers, video, the internet, bar codes, chips, tattoos, scanners, and cell phones, but we shouldn’t live in fear that a new technology will surreptitiously give us the mark of the beast.
6. Will the vaccine cause autism due to toxins? There is no evidence to suggest this. In 1998, a British doctor alleged that a triple vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) could cause autism. Thus, he recommended taking the three vaccines separately. Subsequent studies could not duplicate his alleged results but ultimately proved that the original study was fraudulent, with falsified data. Consequently, the doctor lost his medical license. In any case, his study did not implicate other vaccines, and millions of doses have been administered safely. This study probably gained attention because the age at which children receive vaccines and the age at which autism often manifests itself is about the same.
7. Some vaccines have been developed or tested using human cell lines that descended from fetuses aborted in the 1960s and 1970s. As Christians, we oppose any research based on abortions. The historic vaccines for smallpox, polio, and rabies were not developed in this way. Likewise, the annual influenza vaccines do not originate with fetal cells. The first two Covid-19 vaccines in the US, produced by Pfizer and Moderna, were not developed from fetal cells but used an entirely different technology.
PS. From some comments, some people misunderstand me. To clarify: (1) I believe in divine healing, have experienced it in my life, and have many testimonies in my ministry. See my book “Spiritual Gifts.” (2) We can trust God and follow good medical advice for diet, exercise, rest, safety, and so on. The two aren’t in conflict. I pray for God’s protection when I travel, and I also wear a seat belt.