The COVID vaccination has been prominent in the press recently, especially the fact that many seem hesitant to take up the Astra-Zeneca vaccination. Without entering the debate around the mixed messaging of the Federal government, how should we be thinking about this?
Is there an ethical issue? Although the vaccination has been developed using cells descended from human foetal tissue, cell lines which were developed from foetuses who were aborted, but not aborted in order to be so used. Those who take up the vaccine are not condoning the original abortion.
There is a serious moral question around the use of human tissue obtained in this way. We should never advocate that human beings are used as a means to an end, no matter what the hoped for outcome. However, it is not possible to reverse this situation, so the question is what should we do now? This is a real question, and people may draw different conclusions. However, I have not heard ethical concerns cited as reason for not taking up the AZ vaccination.
So, what about the blood clotting issue? Firstly, we must recognise that pretty much everything in life involves risk. Almost nothing is risk free. The data shows that the risk of this serious side effect is around 0.0005% (1 in 200000) and it is fatal in only 5% (1 in 20) of those affected. This means you have a 0.000025% chance of dying from this side effect: a one in four million chance. To put this into perspective, you are almost 200 times more likely to die in a car accident (based on 2020 statistics). Although there is a small risk, it needs to be seen accurately.
This brings me to my last point, submission to authority (see Rom. 13.5). Our government has asked those of us over 50 to have the “AZ Jab”, as it presents an even smaller risk to us than to the under 50’s. For me, it was this that led me to undergo my first vaccination last week, a week after turning 50 (and yes, I’m still here).
Can I encourage you to consider carefully your choice? Seek answers to any questions you may have. Don’t just get caught up in the mood of the time, with the lack of COVID in our community feeding a level of complacency. Whatever choice you make, make it in a manner informed both by Scripture and by the best medical advice.
Pastor | Trinity Church Brighton
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