vrijdag, april 23 EN | BR

VACCINATE: YES/NO?

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

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new coronavirus. In technical terms the new virus is called: SARS-CoV-2. It belongs to the coronaviruses. It is very comparable to the flu virus, because they are very similar. It is, like the flu, very contagious. But you are only contagious if you have the disease that causes it: COVID-19.

2) THE VACCINE

The virus is spread by coughing and sneezing. It is released into the air via droplets. If other people breathe in these droplets, or get it in their mouth, nose or eyes, for example through their hands, they can become infected with the virus.

3) WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

 COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most people who become infected have mild to moderate symptoms and recover without needing hospitalization.

The most common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

Less common symptoms:

  • Pain in the body
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Headache
  • Affected taste or smell
  • Rash or discoloration of the fingers or toes

4) THE VACCINE

In the meantime, several vaccines have been approved for use in the European Union. Three vaccines against corona are currently being used in the Netherlands:

  • BioNTech/Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca

5) HOW DO VACCINES WORK IN GENERAL?

The immune system in our body protects us against all kinds of diseases. Among other things, against infectious diseases caused by a virus or bacteria. Many infectious diseases you can only get once. Or you will get less sick the second time.

This is because your immune system remembers which virus or bacteria caused you to become sick before and starts making antibodies if you later become infected with it again.

Vaccination uses that memory of the immune system. Administering a vaccine simulates infection with a virus or bacteria in your body. But without making you sick. The immune system will make antibodies and will remember what caused you to become “infected”. Therefore you are protected if you later come into contact with the real virus or bacteria.

6) HOW DO THE CORONA VACCINES WORK?

  • The BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are RNA vaccines. These RNA vaccines include a fat globule containing an instruction (code) that causes your cells to make spike proteins. These are the protrusions on the outside of the coronavirus. The immune system recognizes these spike proteins as foreign and starts to make antibodies.
  • AstraZeneca’s vaccines are vector vaccines. These vector vaccines include a harmless cold virus (which cannot multiply) containing an instruction (code) that causes your cells to make spike proteins. As with the RNA vaccines, the immune system reacts by producing antibodies.

7) THE EFFECTIVENESS

 Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are more than 90% effective in preventing coronavirus disease. This means that in a group of vaccinated people 90% fewer people develop corona complaints than in an (equal) group of people who have not been vaccinated. The vaccines are also very effective with adults aged 65 and older. The studies show that people who nevertheless received corona after a vaccination, became less seriously ill.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is 60-80% effective in preventing coronavirus disease. This means that in a group of vaccinated people 60

-80% fewer people develop corona complaints than in an (equal) group of people who have not been vaccinated. If there is more time between the first and second injection of AstraZeneca, the protection is better. The studies show that AstraZeneca protects just as well as Moderna and Pfizer against serious complaints caused by COVID-19. Most research at AstraZeneca has been done with people between the ages of 18 and 55, but the Health Council expects the vaccine to also work well in older people and recommends that the group aged 60 to 64 should be the first to vaccinate with this vaccine.

8) THE SAFETY

Safety of the corona vaccine comes first. There are strict requirements for this. As with other vaccines. When in doubt about the safety of a vaccine, it may not be allowed in the Netherlands. Strict rules also apply to side effects. The benefits (the efficacy of vaccines) must outweigh the drawbacks (possible side effects).

9) THE APPROVAL

The vaccines must be safe, reliable and work well. This is judged by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) together with the Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB). Even after vaccines have been approved, they are monitored.

10) THE QUICK DEVELOPMENT

 Corona vaccines have been rapidly developed by different manufacturers. This has a few reasons:

  • Several companies worldwide are working on different corona vaccines. A lot of knowledge is also shared.
  • Many examinations take place at the same time. And not one after the other. That saves time.
  • Independent drug authorities are deploying additional people. They also assess the results in between.

11) WHY ON A LARGE SCALE?

One of the most important reasons to get vaccinated is popular immunity or group immunity. When a great part of a group, community or nation is vaccinated and immune to a virus, it causes that those who are not vaccinated are also protected. Think of babies, children and people who cannot receive the vaccine due to a disease.

A good example of this in the Netherlands is group immunity for the measles. Because more than 93% of the people in the Netherlands are vaccinated for this, this virus has little to no chance to spread and contaminate the unvaccinated vulnerable people. With the coronavirus public health experts think that at least 70% of the population must be vaccinated to achieve group immunity.

12) LONG TERM RISKS

Obviously we do not 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 rely on already used and known vaccines and side effects from vaccines are usually short-lived.

Unfortunately, for decades all kinds of stories have been circulating about all kinds of negative effects of vaccines in the long term. This has several reasons. When vaccines were relatively new, vaccine testing was not as rigorous as it is today. It has happened that there were 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.

13) PREGNANCY AND FERTILITY

It is discouraged to take the vaccine if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or three months before 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 nothing is known about fertility with 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!

14) DOSAGE AND EFFECTIVE PERIOD

So far, it looks like we 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 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 sick, it is expected that the known one-year immunity to flu is also plausible to the coronavirus.

15) WAIT OR VACCINATE?

With the current expected amount 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 not necessary and is, due to the group immunity, even not recommended.

16) WHO’S TURN WHEN?

  1. Employees of nursing homes and small-scale housing
  2. Acute care staff
  3. Residents of nursing homes and people with intellectual disabilities in institutions
  4. Residents of small-scale housing
  5. Employees of disabled care
  6. Employees of district nursing and Social Support Act
  7. Non-mobile residents from age 60
  8. People aged 18 to 60 with a medical indication
  9. Mobile residents from age 60
  10. People aged 18 to 60 without a medical indication, from old to young

17) IS VACCINATING MANDATORY?

Vaccination against the coronavirus is not mandatory. But if everyone gets vaccinated, the coronavirus can no longer spread. A vaccination not only protects you, but also the people around you.

FINALLY, VACCINATE: YES OR NO?

When you are sensitive to all kinds of conspiracy theories, you are lived by doubt and the uncertainties of this world. As a result, you never really know what to do or what not to do. But we have 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. How happy I am that today we can vaccinate our children against diseases such as mumps, diphtheria, hepatitis B, whooping cough, measles, smallpox, meningococcus, polio, rubella, tetanus, et cetera. How many children have died of these terrible diseases over time, when there were no vaccines yet. Also think of vaccinations when traveling to certain countries, against diseases like malaria, typhoid, cholera, plague, jaundice, tuberculosis, e

t cetera. What incredible grief, pain, and sorrow all these horrible diseases have brought into the world over the years. Until medicines 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!

When we look to many other countries, we should be grateful for our wonderful RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and Environment) and our GGD (Municipal Health Services). From the government they coordinate the many vaccination programs and tests 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 all care I was immediately quarantined and treated with medicines against typhoid, which healed me completely. The health care personnel were strict, but always helpful and friendly. I am always grateful to them!

In this light, today we must also be grateful to God and science for the vaccines that have been developed against that terrible COVID-19 disease. Today you may gratefully make use of it, so that 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.

However it may be, when it comes to vaccinating you do not have refuse it on the basis of the Bible.

Ultimately, however, everyone must make a personal decision whether or not to get vaccinated. The apostle Paul says that everyone is responsible for himself.

“Let each be fully convinced in his/her own mind.” – Romans 14:5b

 And so it is!

 

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!

 

 

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