The Bible does not tell us anything about vaccines and viruses. Makes perfect sense, since such things were non-existent in Bible Times, let alone knowledge of it. The Bible does speak about all kinds of diseases and ailments, such as deafness, blindness, paralysis, poisonous snake bites, leading to your inevitable death. And one of the deadliest diseases of that time: leprosy. If you were a leper, you were banished from your family and your city and you would die a lonely, horrible and painful death. The Bible teaches us to always first go to God with all of our needs, concerns, burdens, difficulties and problems and in case of diseases, to have someone anoint us with oil.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” – James 5:14
Usually, anointing with oil is not a problem. But because of the contagiousness of the coronavirus we must handle this issue carefully. It’s certain that the Bible doesn’t state that medical treatments are prohibited. On the contrary, we see clear examples in which God even recommends medical treatment. Jesus says it this way:
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17
The emphasis here, of course, is on the fact that Jesus has come to save mankind of their sins. That was His goal and focus. Yet in this verse He points out the great need of the sick and the weak that may need a doctor and medical assistance in their lives.
This is exactly how we can classify vaccination today!
Vaccination is a large-scale form of medicine and medical assistance is a form of care assistance. Doctors prescribe supplements to us to strengthen the body after illness and even to prevent diseases and ailments. We also see this care assistance in providing certain foods and drinks during weakness.
After Jesus had healed the daughter of Jairus, He told the parents to give her something to eat (Mark 5:43). When Elijah was waiting for his death, exhausted and laying under a broom bush, an angel touched him and told him to eat and drink something. That food strengthened him to travel through the desert for 40 days (1 Kings 19:5-8). Paul said to Timothy: “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1 Timothy 5:23). Also think of the story of Jesus about the Good Samaritan. He brought the badly wounded man to the infirmary to be cared for and even paid for all his expenses (Luke 10:25-37).
So, there are plenty of biblical examples that show us that the administering and the use of supplements and medical assistance does not contradict the Bible. It’s even God-given. This is also how we can look at vaccinating. Maybe you’re saying: “David, I am glad to know that if I get vaccinated, it doesn’t contradict God and His Word and that I don’t have to fear. But I do have some questions.” With the help of a befriended doctor in training and of course everything you can find on the internet, I will try to answer some important questions.
1) THE VIRUS AND THE VACCINE
In technical terms the new virus is called: SARS-CoV-2. It belongs to the coronaviruses. It shows strong resemblance to the flu virus, because they are very similar. Like the flu, it’s very contagious. You aren’t contagious until you’ve caught the disease that causes it: COVID-19. People that have been vaccinated and have become immune, cannot pass on this virus.
The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is the most likely candidate for the vaccine that we are going to use in the Netherlands. It is a mRNA vaccine.
2) WHAT IS MRNA?
Messenger-RNA is a protein that cells use as code to produce other proteins. The proteins from the Pfizer vaccine do not come from the virus but are reproduced in the lab.
3) WHAT DOES THIS VACCINE DO?
It causes for special cells to start creating a (in itself harmless) protein that you also find in the coronavirus. Our resistance cells see this protein as a threat and start to create antibodies, against (according to them) the coronavirus. This occurs without having come into contact with the actual coronavirus. These antibodies, that we do not possess naturally, are necessary to fight the real virus in case of an infection.
4) WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE INSERTED MRNA STRAND?
It’s active for a couple of days and expires quickly thereafter. This piece of RNA does not change anything to our own “blueprint” or DNA.
5) SECOND PROMISING CANDIDATE VACCINE BESIDES PFIZER
The second most promising candidate that we will be using in the Netherlands besides the Pfizer vaccine is the so-called “Oxford vaccine”, also known as the AstraZeneca vaccine. This is a vector vaccine. A vector is a virus that is adjusted accordingly so that it can no longer function as a real virus. It won’t make people sick and cannot or has difficulty to multiply itself like a real virus. It does show the same effect of the body making antibodies against the real variant.
6) HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE VACCINS HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED SO QUICKLY?
This is caused by the fact that the above-mentioned vaccines are based on existing techniques, that have already been extensively tested with other diseases. Think of the flu virus and other known viruses against which we are being vaccinated for years already. This eliminates the need for the usual lengthy studies on its safety (animal testing, for example). This is saving a lot of valuable time!
Scientists are also trying to win some time in all kinds of ways, without compromising the vaccine’s safety and taking the right steps. An example is the so-called “interactive reviews” and “accelerated reviews”. Results are being assessed in the interim, without waiting for the end of the entire investigation. Meaning: step A is assessed and when approved, immediately step B starts etcetera. Instead of doing research on steps A to Z before assessing the entire process as a whole. Of course there is a tremendous push from political and economic points of view to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible. This makes it much easier to obtain grants for research.
7) WHY VACCINATE ON A LARGE SCALE?
One of the most important reasons to get vaccinated is population immunity or herd immunity. When a large part of a group, community or nation is vaccinated and immune to the virus, it causes for those who are not vaccinated to also be protected. Think of babies, children and people who cannot receive the vaccine due to another disease. A good example of this in the Netherlands is herd immunity for the measles. Because more than 93% of the people in the Netherlands are vaccinated against measles, this virus has little to no chance to spread and to contaminate the unvaccinated, vulnerable people. In case of the Corona virus public health experts think that at least 70% of the population must be vaccinated to achieve group immunity.
8) IS THE VACCINE SAFE ENOUGH FOR ME TO GET VACCINATED?
Every vaccine that appears on the market in the Netherlands must go through at least three phases to be labeled as safe.
– Phase 1: A small group of volunteers is tested for side effects, immune response and tolerance to the vaccine. In short, the overall safety.
– Phase 2: A repeat of phase 1 on a slightly larger scale, with emphasis on dosage and use of possible boosters (re-administering the same vaccine after the first dose).
– Phase 3: Large-scale testing takes place in the Netherlands to confirm previous positive results.
At this time BioNtech/Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have just gone through phase 3, which is now being assessed. The results so far are more than promising! 95% of the people who have received this vaccine and are exposed to the virus, have not developed COVID-19! Public health authorities would have already been satisfied with 50%. Some of the vaccinated people have reported known mild side effects, such as headaches, fatigue, and flu symptoms. This is because every person is unique and the resistance between people also differs.
9) ARE THERE LONG-TERM RISKS TO THE VACCINE?
We obvisouly don’t have data for this, since the vaccine was only further developed and tested a few months ago. But there is no reason to believe that these vaccines are harmful in the long term. Especially since the production of these vaccines relies on already used and known vaccines and side effects from vaccines are usually short-lived. Unfortunately, stories have been circulating for decades about all kinds of negative effects of vaccines on the long run. This has several reasons. When vaccines were relatively new, vaccine testing wasn’t done as carefully as it is today. It has occurred that there have been substances in vaccines that were not good for the body in the long term. But this has long been prevented by strict security rules.
Think of it this way: many people today paint their homes, even though the paint used to contain poisonous lead. Because we discovered that this lead is not good for us, it has been replaced by other substances that are not harmful. We have done the same with lead water pipes and many other things. The same goes for science, and in this case the developers of vaccines. The Netherlands is very strict in many areas when it comes to safety requirements. Because safety comes first.
10) VACCINATION, PREGNANCY AND FERTILITY
It is strongly discouraged to take the vaccine if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, three months away from getting pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This is because we know too little about the effect of this technique on the fetus or baby. Also, there is no insight concering fertility and these vaccines. However, similar vaccines have no effect on fertility. Therefore, if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant on short term or breastfeeding, the rule applies: no vaccine!
11) DOSAGE AND EFFECTIVE PERIOD
So far, it looks like we’ll need two doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine to get full protection. As mentioned before, the active substance breaks down on its own after a few days. It is not yet known for how long the developed antibodies will remain in the body. Since the common flu is very similar to COVID-19 and both viruses use RNA to make someone sick, it is expected that the known one-year immunity to flu is also plausible to the coronavirus.
12) WAIT OR VACCINATE?
With the current expected number of vaccines at our disposal, a large group of people will have to wait for the vaccine anyway. For the Netherlands, care professionals, vulnerable elderly (60+) and risk groups are now given priority. Waiting is unnecessary and even discouraged due to herd immunity. After all, we already know of the side effects.
FINALLY, VACCINATE: YES OR NO?
When you are sensitive to all kinds of conspiracy theories, you are being lived by doubt and the uncertainties of this world. As a result, you’ll never really know what to do or what not to do. But we’ve got the Bible that says:
“God’s Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105
Vaccination, as mentioned before, is a large-scale form of medicine to achieve group immunity. Today I am so happy that we can vaccinate our children against diseases such as mumps, diphtheria, hepatitis B, whooping cough, measles, smallpox, meningococcus, polio, rubella, tetanus, etcetera. How many children have died as a result of these terrible diseases over time, when there were no vaccines? Also think of the vaccines you need when traveling to certain countries, against diseases like malaria, typhoid, cholera, plague, jaundice, tuberculosis, etcetera. What incredible grief, pain, and sorrow all these horrible diseases have brought into the world over the years. Until medicine and vaccines came! The fact that much research and money has gone into developing a vaccine against these infectious diseases is a blessing for which we can only thank God and science today. How many lives have been saved by those vaccines!
We should be grateful for our wonderful RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and Environment), with all its expertise. It coordinates the many vaccination programs from the government against all those nasty diseases, through which my wife, our children, grandchildren and I have been vaccinated. What a blessing that I was able to go to the hospital years ago when I returned from India and was found to have typhoid fever. With care I was immediately quarantined and treated with medicine against typhoid, which healed me completely. The health care personnel were strict, but always helpful and friendly. I am forever grateful to them!
In light of this, today we must also be grateful to God and science for the vaccines that have been developed against that terrible COVID-19 disease. Soon the moment will come that you will be able to gratefully make use of the offered vaccine. This way you can arm yourself against that tiny, microscopic creature that has brought the whole world to a standstill in just one moment and caused so much damage, death and destruction.
According to the Bible, you do not have to refuse this vaccine!