Assurance About The Vaccine?

I received the following email from someone, and I thought maybe others have the same questions.  So I thought I would share some of this email with you and my response to it.  This person wrote:
(My edits are in square brackets.)
I have been very confused and worried because of the controversy regarding the covid vaccine […. the bishop] has said we can choose to be vaccinated [or not], yet there are Priests and Orthodox websites and Elders from Mt. Athos who say we cannot be vaccinated or something bad may happen, some say it closely resembles the mark of the beast, some people think it IS the mark, etc…

So what do we make of these Elders that say we should not be vaccinated and they mention alot of terrible things that will happen to the vaccinated? When we read The lives of The Saints, weren’t many of them Holy Elders before they were canonized? There is a website […] by a Priest who is very much against the vaccine, and he quotes many Elders saying how the vaccine is prophesied about by Holy Saints and Holy Elders saying not to get it. Plus there are stories of Saints appearing to people in visions and dreams saying not to get vaccinated etc …What are we to believe?
 We need to follow The Church, right? This is all so confusing. How do we know if these are Elders we should listen to or not? Why is there a disagreement between […] the Bishops  who say it’s ok to be vaccinated, and the Elders that say it’s NOT ok?
How can I be reassured that I’m ok? This is really weighing on my heart, I am so confused. I don’t even feel I can pray, I’m so distracted by this! Please help me in anyway you can.
As you can see, this person is quite distraught over this mater.  Here is how I responded to him.
Throughout the history of the church, there have been conflicts—especially during times of social change or stress.  For example, I am currently reading the letters of St. Cyprian of Carthage (mid 200’s).  St. Cyprian was the bishop of Carthage in North Africa, but at that time, many confessors (those who had suffered torture for Christ and survived) were acting like priests because some people believed that just as someone could be baptized by their own blood (a teaching the Church holds), so also they could be ordained as priests because of their suffering (a teaching the church does not hold).  Consequently at that time, many venerable confessors were wrongly absolving sins and even celebrating the Holy Eucharist.  This shows that even in the early church a holy person could still be wrong about something.  A saint can make a mistake.
Now this goes the other way too.  Although canonically the teaching office of the Church is the Bishop’s, not the confessor’s nor the Elder’s; nevertheless, there have been times in the history of the Church when bishops have been wrong about very serious matters.  Most of the bishops at the time of St. Maximus the Confessor, for example, had wrongly agreed to a compromise teaching about the human and divine wills of Christ.  Only a very few bishops (the Pope of Rome, for example) and a few monks held the correct doctrine at that time (mid 600’s).  It was only about twenty years after St. Maximus’ death that the bishops of the Church finally agreed on St. Maximus’ teaching about the two wills of Christ.  Clearly there are times when important people in the Church do not agree on important maters even though, eventually, the Church does get it right.
So what are we to do if we are living through a time of apparent disagreement? Here is what I recommend:
First, when in doubt, go with your bishop.  The bishops are the ones granted the grace of God to teach the Church.  Can a bishop be wrong?  Sure.  But the likelihood of someone who is not the bishop being wrong, in my opinion, is much greater.  And a deeper matter for me is this question: how would I know?  That is, if, like St. Maximus the Confessor, I had spent my life immersed in prayer and reading the Bible and other spiritual books AND I had direct enlightenment and revelation from God, then perhaps I would have the insight to know whether or not my bishop is mistaken on some significant matter.  But I am no Maximus the Confessor.  Far from it.  For an under-educated sinner like me, it is much safer to go with my bishop, especially on matters that I do not have expert knowledge of.  At least I know that my bishop is the one who has received the grace to teach the Church—not the elders, even those on Mt. Athos, no matter how holy they are.
Second, go with the peace.  As I read the letters of St. Cyprian, I am continually amazed by how irenic St. Cyprian’s tone in the letters is.  He is dealing with what appears to be a major rebellion in the Church, but instead of blaming and condemning the errant confessors, he blames his own clergy for not teaching them clearly.  St. Cyprian keeps a calm and peaceful tone in his letters.  Similarly, when St. Maximus the Confessor was dealing with the errant bishops, he did not condemn those who were wrong.  Rather, St. Maximus gently taught and explained the true doctrine.  And even when St. Maximus was threatened with mutilation (his right hand was cut off and his tongue was cut out), he did not rail against the Emperor or the Patriarch, but rather gently insisted that they were mistaken.  In my experience, strife and railing and accusing are usually signs that the Holy Spirit is far away.  Go with the peace.
Third, beware of conspiracy theories, especially if they cause you to feel fear (or fear’s sisters: anxiety, nervousness, uncertainty and doubt). There is an interesting verse in Isaiah, hidden in the middle of the verses we sing during Great Compline in Lent (God is with us!  Understand all ye nations…).
Isaiah 8:11 – 13 (NKJV)
For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.  The Lord of Hosts, Him shall you hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”
Now, just to be completely clear, the word ‘conspiracy’ is translated as ‘hard’ in the Septuagint, which actually doesn’t make sense in the context (you can read it in the Orthodox Study Bible which adds the words “it is” to try to make sense of “hard”, but the words “it is” are not actually in the text).  But whether the correct word is conspiracy (Hebrew) or hard (Greek), the point is the same: Don’t fear what people fear.  Fear God only and, the text goes on to say, “He will be your sanctification.”  Conspiracy theories have always existed, and they have always produced fear, paranoia and hysteria.  Beware of conspiracy theories because they stimulate passions and give you the feeling of knowing when you don’t really know, as St. Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 8:2.
Forth, wait and see what happens.  I heard one monk from Mt. Athos prophesy that within three to five years, all those who receive a COVID vaccination will die.  Well, in another two to four years, we will know whether or not he is a false prophet.  Of course, by then the damage caused by the fear generated by such a statement will already be done, and no one will remember the details.  I have lived long enough to have personally lived through several “This Is The End Of The World” scenarios.  Furthermore, I have read in the Fathers (the Letters of St. Basil the Great, for example) of holy people, people who are saints, stating that they were sure it was the end of the world because of seriousness of the crisis the Church was facing during their lifetime.
If today is the Last Day, then I should do what I do (or at least strive to do) everyday.  Get up, say my prayers, and entrust myself and the whole world into God’s hands.  If it turns out that today is not the Last Day, then tomorrow I will get up and say my prayers and entrust myself and the whole world into God’s hands.  One day, it will be the Last Day, either the world’s Last Day, or my own personal Last Day.  As far as it concerns us, either Day is the same Day.
Finally, to answer your question, how can we be assured that we are OK?  I think we have to return to the words of Isaiah.  Our assurance must be in God Himself.  Our assurance cannot be in being right, for we are human.  Yes, being right is important, and we should strive for orthodoxy (ortho is Greek for ‘right’).  We are the Orthodox Church, after all.  However, we are also human.  We are limited, do not know everything and are easily deceived.  Our trust has to be in God, not in man.
And yet, and this is the miracle of the Church, despite all of its humanity and its many human mistakes along the way, the Holy Spirit still guides the Church.  To be faithful children of God in the Church, humility and obedience are much more necessary than logical or emotional assurance that you or this person or that person is right about this or that point.  The Church is self-correcting.  If I or my bishop or a holy Elder on Mt. Athos make a mistake, the Holy Spirit will correct it, maybe not in my lifetime, but the Holy Spirit will correct it.  In the mean time, I must remain humble, fearing God and trusting, as Isaiah exhorts us, that He will be my sanctification.

30 comments:

  1. Hello Father Michael ,
    I’m at peace with myself, the Orthodox doctrine you spoke of and Scripture references are very calming . Thank you for bringing much needed Orthodox clarity to this issue of vaccination.
    Glory to Christ.

  2. Whether to take the “vaccine” or not is not a spiritual question but but one of science. And science takes time. So far what I see playing out with this “vaccine” does not encourage me to get vaccinated. My Bishop Leaves the decision up to me. The responsibility though rests on me to weigh both sides of the narratives on their respective merits without fear. Wait on the Lord and hide in Him. We must do our homework though. Pray and work like St Anthony says.

    1. Whatever you do, that cannot be done with a clear conscience, or is a direct violation either of love or Commandment, is sin. Christians don’t just have the responsibility of not violating known prohibitions, but even violating conscience. When the conscience lacks information, and we proceed with an action without “good conscience”, for St. Paul, we’ve sinned. You can’t act in faith, if you don’t have faith. So, I do think, in large part, for many, the “hesitance” is a conscience-driven hesitance, which would have been commendable in other generations. This is why there must be a moral imperative with the vaccination, and of course this has been provided for us by our government, the non-vaccinated are completely selfish-humanity-haters. This added pressure, for some, would be enough to alleviate a hesitant conscience, as the moral imperative would push the conscience into assurance. Others, would not have alleviation, but would question all the more, why, if the vaccines work, why I would be morally obligated? Are they not openly stating that the vaccines are not reliable? It would feel like an argument based on a lie. And then, the conscience would be even more hesitant.

      In the end, I think it’s wise for Bishops to leave it to the parishioner, as it would likely create a crisis of conscience among both groups. So, we cannot call the unvaccinated or the vaccinated sinful or morally compromised/selfish.

      1. Re: “if the vaccines work, why I would be morally obligated? Are they not openly stating that the vaccines are not reliable?”

        What a bizarre argument. That would be like saying seatbelts, speed limits, and traffic signs don’t work, just because all drivers are obligated to follow such measures.

        1. The analogy doesn’t work very well. You really need, analogically, to stick with vaccines and inoculations and so forth. You might state, that if a business failed to secure its network/infrastructure by implementing anti-malware measures, they would be liable, and that, to an extent their employees may be liable assuming they use said network for personal reasons, or, that personnel information is stored via such network. I would understand that argument as plausible.

          But, here’s where it breaks down a bit. Say, instead of anti-malware, you just operated on a local network with no internet access. I know this is not practical, but for the sake of argument. Shutting down access to the internet, by and large, protects you in the same way a vaccine traditionally would have. It wouldn’t stop an employee from planting malware, but, it would be an insider attack most likely If there was an inside attack, like the supposed vulnerability of your co-workers PC, with a virus hanging around, your PC, if it is up to date with security protocols, should not be affected. Again, just an analogy. If the CEO of the company came in, found no anti-malware software, then proceeded to punish management, etc., as incompetent fools, what would justify such action? Either ignorance, or the assumption that you can still easily tap into the internet, and be exposed to vulnerability. But, say in this analogy, there is no way to access the internet, period. Historically, that’s what vaccines have done, prevented any re-entry, by and large, much like locking down a network. This genetic therapy, leaves the door wide open somehow for future malware, from a known intruder (unlike prior vaccinations), does not inoculate you, has risks unknown (like more malware), gives no ultimate security, not if you are rational (as studies have shown the vaccinated are as likely, or far more likely to retransmit COVID or new variants – more malware vulnerability), and more. It’s more like BETA testing antimalware, with something that may be malware itself.

          So, the analogy of a seat belt, or traffic laws, meant to protect you and others from harm, has some validity, but if the seat belt keeps failing, guess what happens. GM/Ford/Whoever, pays out. A recall is made, and your car gets fixed at their expense. Who pays out if the BETA seat belt engineers fail? You, your insurance company, etc. That’s not how I think seat belts should work.

          From there, people who reject BETA testing with gene therapy, which obviously do/does not work the way traditional vaccines have, and by the way, the unvaccinated are not the same crowd as people against all vaccines (though you can research side effects/deaths from other vaccines), have the argument, if it worked, the vaccines, then why I am I a threat to anyone else. If your network is locked down, why do you care if I operate on a public network? You could say, because you care about me, I guess, but, if the backdoor is still open for the vaccinated, how will this improve anything? The BETA tested are vulnerable, the non-vaxxed are vulnerable, all of us are, so where is the moral argument? If you have BETA seat belts, and I have a car with, not the best NHTSA ratings, I say, we’re in a similar boat, only you may have BETA kinks no one knows about yet.

          That was totally off the fly, the analogy, haven’t heard it before, but I think, while it could be countered I’m sure, it’s at least getting closer.

          1. You’re wrong about the vaccinated being “as likely, or far more likely to retransmit COVID or new variants”, but never mind that. My point here is simply that it’s bizarre to claim that you undermine the reliability of a measure by making the measure obligatory.

  3. A big thank you Father Michael, for sharing this !
    Much clarity and calm now in my thoughts, and the perception of being closer to what is right and true….
    I really needed to receive these words….
    Glory to God!

  4. The Vaccine decisions are dividing families and friends. Reading this I was reminded of a former article you wrote in September to help us through these chaotic current events….I sent it to many of my family and friends….” Get in the boat!” It helps me everyday! The article was called Peace in Chaos, worth re-reading. ( this format would not let me paste the link to it here, but it’s easy to find.)
    Thank you for another timely article. God Bless You ☦️🙏

  5. If I may contribute from outside North America. it is troubling to see that the use of vaccines of which there are several recommended, has now become a political struggle. That these vaccines have become available when needed is to me miraculous and I thank God that the efforts of scientists have prospered . I remember when it took years to develop vaccines.
    People who become infected can pass on the virus before they know that it is in their bodies. That is why vaccinations are necessary. Passing on the virus from someone mildly affected can cause serious results in other people not just the sick and elderly.
    Too many young fit men have caught it and died. Many persuaded not to be vaccinated by their peers citing Freedom and Choice..
    I found my information from a doctor who treats patients with Covid infections
    and is a medical instructor. Newsmedia reporters have no medical background after all . Specialists in other disciplines are also misleading… they can’t be experts in medical matters too. That includes specialists in religious matters .
    The world has not ended yet as you observed , Father. I was born before WW2 and have seen several Ends of the World looming. We are warned it will happen suddenly so be prepared but we won’t see it coming.

  6. Thank you, Father!

    In the most recent three episodes of her podcast “Search the Scriptures Live”, Dr / Presvytera Jeannie Constantinou has dealt with end-of-the-world / vaccines-are-the -mark-of-the-beast hysteria in a very balanced and stable manner. She has gotten very animated at times on this subject, because of the amount of spiritual harm some of these “visions” and statements are causing. I think they are well worth the time invested to listen to them, especially for those who are stressed and confused about what is going on. I hope they are helpful to someone:
    https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptureslive

  7. The vaccine is not the “mark of the beast” and it’s highly irresponsible for people to go around saying such things! When we pray the prayers of the sick, do we not ask God to “bless the means” that healing comes? Way I see it? God gave us doctors, technology, and knowledge to develop all the vaccines to help sustain and improve quality of life. Why must everything “new” be construed as evil? I’m not convinced these “holy men” of Mt Athos or any other monastery are the end-all-be-all of Orthodox Spirituality. There are plenty of saints who were not monks who imparted great wisdom, and had common sense. It shouldn’t be a matter of God vs science: God is the author of science!

    1. The issue is, always is, which science? It’s very much like the question of authority in the Christian world, where is it? In Orthodoxy, there is authority, meaning, there is an interpretive authority. In most of the Christian world, there is you, as the authority, doing the best you can with the resources you have, with the persuasiveness of commentators/theologians/celebrities of sorts – to figure things out. This makes for a free-for-all, but the underlying assumption, is that you, having been born again, have the capacity instantly without ascetical discipline, may be depended upon ,to arrive at truth, interpretation of the science of theology, or to recognize it when it is presented, and to fall in line. It’s just in actuality it results in widespread division with one group claiming the Holy Spirit versus another one.

      Now, the science of medicine, of immunology, of virology, or really anything else, what is presented is usually a unified front. But this is completely inaccurate. As the government and science are basically indistinguishable, and for what reason? The government leans on science, is directed by science? Maybe, not always. Governments are largely just as responsible for the science there is because they fund it, either militarily, or otherwise. Just as governments and religious beliefs can easily collapse into one thing, as God has been removed by and large from the public sphere as an authority, science, took the place of theology, whereas, once, in the West, theology was the “queen of the sciences.” This is why Lewis calls scientism, the Magician’s Twin. We get the science we want. The public desire, or a prior, government’s desire, precedes often, what science we get. Especially when the government is paying the salaries or giving the grant money or universities only hire professors who agree with their Orthodoxy.

      What we have now, is class of professionals, who are trusted in large part strictly because they wear white coats. Doctors have taken the place of the priests in part, or scientists. Ask yourself, when I go to the doctor, especially in a situation of anxiety over, COVID, cancer/something bad, what do you really want? Assurance that you’ll be okay. You don’t go to the dentist for this. A dentist, by and large, cannot assure you about your overall health. In most cases they will improve or maintain an aesthetic. Who used to give reassurance? Priests. Are the doctors in conflict with priests? No. But, once imaginatively, assurance of ongoing life, can only be provided by the new priestly class, a priest just won’t cut it. So, a conflict that been introduced, because, what was once authoritative and assuring, in the imagination, is not enough, and must be supported, by another class of individuals, who, have an “ecclesiology” similar to Protestantism.

      The issue, in the end, is much deeper than “trust science”, “don’t be backwards Medieval morons”, but, when the science is not united, yet, we have set the condition that only they can fully assure us, with or without our religious authority, as we have been conditioned to believe, then either we believe the united front, question and wait in patience, fully trust ourselves to spiritual authority, or some mixture.

      The “evil”, whether COVID was planned or accidental, is becoming plain. And what is being done, how the situation was either orchestrated or co-opted for evil means, is becoming plain. If you don’t see or give the possibility for, the fact that Vaccine Passports, structurally, will allow for financial data to be tied to – a structure/digital infrastructure – that could be used in nefarious ways, I don’t know what to say. The world keeps getting smaller, globalism is very real, and seldom have we had any fight against it. What would you call a system of governance and finance – in the interest of national security – that limited your freedoms such that, with the push of few buttons, with the help of AI algorithms, could fully surveil, punish, reward, limit travel, take away your resources, etc.? People who think these things impossible, should read more history and what is actually going on in China, India, etc. I for one, tend to think the monks are onto something.

      We forget, that the Bible foretells, many anti-Christs. It wouldn’t be hard to identify a few. Even if this were not “the end”, it may very well be “an end”.

      When we say, God vs. science then, or assume this to be the problem, we’re back to the problem of authority in science and religion. God versus which science, science versus which god/God? If it were that simple. We have the authority problem fixed for us in that, God did not leave us as orphans, He gives us the Spirit in His Body which is identifiable. We have means to confront sickness, death, demons, etc. It’s not that doctors aren’t included in the means, they are, but when they are in experimentation mode, it’s quite difficult to give them full-scale endorsement, or, to charge laity with error, for wanting to see how this all plays out.

      Sorry to be so long!

      1. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree that the world is being tied more tightly together and the potential for global persecution is increasing. I also think your depiction of scientism (not actual science) replacing religion as the crutch of politics is also correct.

        1. Bless!

          Always appreciate your words written and spoken. I’ve been reminded through the pandemic of experiments done by Stanley Milgram to explain why Germans under Hitler could be coerced into atrocities. The experiment was to take a volunteer and have them (so they thought) deliver electroshock to a participant/victim on the other side of a wall they could not see. Many would participate obediently, even when they thought the person was on the brink of death. The common denominator was that there was an authority figure that sort of blurred the consciences of the people. But, recently, and this may have been in the study, I don’t know, the added common denominator, was the authority was a medical/scientific authority – this didn’t get brought out in my recollection (which could be wrong). The same would be true of Nazis under Hitler, many of which were scientists, and sadly enough, much of their research was bought and disseminated through the U.S. government, we even hired many of them and gave them new identities.

          To me, this is plain realization of the power of authority, and what makes it interesting, and overwhelmingly creepy, is that a scientist, may wield more authority with less questions than just about anyone. (I have thought several times before Fauci started getting to get into trouble that he could have ran for President.) A change, a major one, in the social imaginary, of what science can and cannot do, must have already taken place. In reality, I think, likely, the view of revelation, where nature is as revelatory as Scripture/Tradition, led to this equivocation, as when you later remove God, you remove any fallenness to the Creation post-fall, yet you keep this revelatory view of nature, now Nature, with scientists and doctors and so on taking the place of the priest/pastor/theologian, and the Christian trying to navigate, is both confused but compelled morally to comply with this dual-authority, yet, the suspicion often falls on the religious authority because, culturally, we have already been conditioned to see science as real, and theology as less real or subjective.

          Thanks for all you do!

          1. I think we have good cause to suspect that the world is going that way, but my concern is that we respond to what we actually see and experience, not to what we fear (in the present or future). It’s the old crying wolf problem.

          2. I agree, I’m just trying to figure out why we’re not blessing houses and making procession with Icons, Relics, etc. And, it’s not so much a criticism, as what changed the approach, and I think, in part, I have with the help of others, put a finger on it, a little. We’ve set up science as an equally authoritative, or superior authority, when practically speaking, science can only tell part of the how, never the why, never the should, etc. Realizing the limits and contradictions of science allows the imagination to return to the Church, as the Church, without any scientific explanation, God forbid actually, administers healing and continuance of life in the faithful.

  8. The vaccines may end up being more harmful than thought. They also may not work as well as initially thought or advertised. We don’t know. Like anything in life, it’s a judgement call, and not as clear cut as many think. Having weighed the pros and cons as I understood them, I decided to take the vaccine. Obviously I don’t judge those whose judgement goes the other way.

    As for the monks on Mt Athos that are often mentioned, I don’t know about them, if they’re two or twenty, and what they’ve said. But I think it’s important that we take what they say in context and that we’re careful not to judge these monks or all monks. They may not be right, but if you take what they say in the right mindset, there can be some benefit. For example, warnings about the end of the world can have benefit, but also harm if taken the wrong way. It requires discernment and a right mindset, which is very difficult for us to acquire.

  9. Thank you for this article! I have had similar concerns to the email you shared and I appreciate you taking the time to help lend a level of clarity to the topic and choices at hand. That said, what I find unanswered is this: you mention some statement from a monk about all who receive the vaccine dying in a few years (a horrible thought!); and you add that only time will tell if this is true. I understand that probably that’s the only way we can look at it, but at the same time, I find it difficult to find peace with the choice the bishops leave us when, in the end, we are still saying “Maybe the monk is right. Time will tell.” (if that’s how you meant it). How can one choose then, even if the bishops leave us choice, when a possibility like that is there? I am aware that nothing in life is certain and anything can happen, but when a potential consequence/threat is tied to a specific action, that causes one to pause more. Forgive me if I misunderstood your point in any way, but it was the one thing that seemed unclear and left me unsettled. Thank you!

    1. Dear Anna-Marie
      No Bishop I know of is endorsing these warnings of dire happenings related to the vaccine. I think the deeper problem is that some devout people are more likely to give heed to an extreme voice on the internet than to their own bishop. I think deep down people know something is wrong, and they jump onto overly simplistic explanations without thinking it through and listening to contrary voices.

      1. OK, so now someone has sent me a document that lists a handful bishops who forbid or discourage use of the vaccine (largely, but not exclusively, because cells developed from fetal tissue were used in its development). All I can say is that if your bishop is one of those bishops, then you should probably think twice (or three or four times) before you disobey his guidance. Bishops certainly are fallible, but my own life experience teaches me that I am more fallible.

        1. If the vast majority of bishops are saying one thing, and a handful of bishops are saying the opposite, wouldn’t it be safer to go with what the vast majority of bishops are saying, even if your bishop is in the minority saying the opposite? Since it is much more likely a small number of bishops could be wrong than the vast majority of bishops.

  10. Thank you Fr. Michael for this encouraging word shared in the same irenic spirit as St. Cyprian. I especially appreciate how you present the experience of our Christian forebears in a way that sheds light on our present predicament. The perspective – the sense of proportion – gained from this more expansive view is heartening, refreshing, calming. And I am so happy to be reminded of the verse in Isaiah. I have no need to fear conspiracies, imagined OR real. But “The Lord of Hosts, Him shall you hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” What is there to fear if all of my attention is directed to Him? And so I entrust myself, my family, my church, you, and the whole world into God’s hands again today. Thank you!

  11. The Church does not dictate what to do, it gives guidance, doctors/researchers (honest ones) give guidance, it is only governmental mandates that give orders–take the vaccine or lose your livelihoods (in the USA just recently) and pressuring and fine-ing businesses that employ 100 who do not comply, which is now being taken up by the courts (OSHA requirements is this in violation of OSHA). People choose whom to listen to. In the USA HIPPA is to be between patient and doctor. So businesses asking employees about vaccinations/medical issues is in violation of HIPPA. I also believe President Biden and his administration is in violation of HIPPA, and for restaurants, and other businesses are in violation of HIPPA when asking patrons to show proof of vaccination. To put it bluntly, it is a real mess. Should one get the vaccine, I believe that is a personal choice, and in today’s world (USA at least) there are consequences. One really has to decide for himself/herself.

    1. Vaccination programs — especially in the context of a pandemic — are public-health matters, not mere questions of personal medical choice. Asking someone for proof of vaccination before entering a crowded public space is like asking someone for proof of their age before selling them liquor, or like asking someone for proof that they have passed a road test before letting them drive; it’s not like asking for their history of drunkenness or their history of car crashes (or their history of infections, which *would* be personal — though of course, many businesses *have* refused business to people who wouldn’t answer questions about their Covid positivity or their proximity to Covid-positive people, etc.).

      Incidentally, it is fascinating to see how the “my body, my choice” rhetoric seems to have changed sides in the current debates. As a friend of mine pointed out, the problem with that rhetoric has *always* been that there are other bodies that are affected by the choices we make.

      1. The vaccine does not prevent or stop the spread of the virus, so, asking for proof is ludicrous. The vaccinated and the unvaccinated are both spreaders. Where’s the logic then? And let’s leave out natural immunity, because?

        The most the vaccine is supposed to do, is lessen symptoms. This may actually cause a greater degree of spread among the vaccinated, as they may not feel symptomatic when they are.

        I would agree with you, if, the vaccinations worked like traditional vaccines, and there weren’t numerous reports of “breakthrough infections” among the vaccinated. If you had Smallpox, were vaccinated, you would no longer be fearful among those with Smallpox. But the vaccinated are fearful among the unvaccinated. Why? It doesn’t work, not anything like a traditional vaccine. So, why ask for proof that someone is worthy of society? Neither group by this reasoning are worthy of society. So, the idea, that this is akin to showing a driver’s license, is far from reality. The vaccine is a sort of “right of passage”, like driving or buying alcohol, or having a credit card, etc., but with an entirely different logic, as maturity, has nothing to do with it. Of course I anticipate the response that the mature will take and defend EUA drugs and enforcing their use for the good of society. To uninvite one group, and to invite only this group to the party, is not about one group being immature and the other earning something through maturity.

  12. I am closing the comments for this post. The political and medical questions about the COVID vaccine are legitimate, but this is not the appropriate forum to discuss them. I know too little about both to moderate intelligently such discussions. I thank all of you who have commented.

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