One Evangelical’s Response to the COVID-19 VaccineMark Brooks
The following post was written originally in May of 2021.
Trust the science. You hear that a lot today. Typically it comes from those wanting to silence any questions about COVID-19 in general, masks in particular, and now the vaccine being pushed upon, well, everyone. One group, in particular, is being singled out as a major roadblock towards the push for universal vaccination, white Evangelicals. Apparently, about half of Evangelicals have determined they will not get the vaccine. Media outlets, both secular and Christian, typically make those refusing the vaccine deniers of science. Any questions about the efficacy of these shots are dismissed as coming from conspiracy theorists who are ignorant sheep that fall for the latest hoax. Those poor, uneducated Evangelicals need to come into the 21st century and, wait for it, trust the science!
I am a white Evangelical who is not going to get the vaccine. I thought I would risk my life and career and give you my reasoning behind this decision. I carefully titled this One Evangelical’s Response. I speak for no one else but myself. I’m not alone in my views, but I would never lump every Evangelical who refuses the shot into the arguments I will make. Yet this is exactly what the Mainstream Media, including Christian publications, are doing. If you knew Evangelicals, you would know how vastly we differ on various topics. Thus making broad-brushed stroke generalizations is not accurate reporting, nor is it helpful for the debate. Here are my decisions.
First and foremost, I take my health seriously. That wasn’t always the case. In my younger days, I used to say I was short for my weight. I realized that not only was I a poor example to others, but I was also putting my family at risk. Diabetes runs in my family, and at the rate I was going in my 20’s I was headed in that direction. I chose to manage my weight with a good diet, and I exercise regularly. Right before the pandemic hit, I decided to improve my health and lost nearly twenty pounds. I ate healthy food and exercised regularly outdoors. Why was that important? Because nearly 80% of all COVID deaths were from individuals who were either overweight, diabetic, or both. Why was it that our health professionals did not recommend a similar approach to fight the pandemic? The data and science show the healthier you are, the better chance you have of surviving COVID-19. Why are so many denying that approach to ending the pandemic?
Another reason I will not be taking this vaccine is the poor science behind its development. I am not anti-vaccine. Vaccines have and will continue to have their place for eradicating disease. Vaccines take years of research and development that the current shots for COVID-19 blew right by. In fact, to date, the FDA has only given the shots an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Even more troubling is that those tested for the vaccine had none of the existing health concerns we now know are the leading causes of death. For instance, no pregnant women were allowed in the tests, yet now pregnant women are being told the vaccine is safe for them and their babies. How do we know? Experts are assuring the public of facts that they cannot know for sure are true.
My hesitation over this vaccine lies not only in how it was developed but in how it is administered. It makes sense for my 92-year-old parents, which is why I encouraged them to get the shot. At the same time, I believe it’s crazy to give this shot to children. Thankfully children have not been attacked by this virus like the aged and infirmed. There are no studies that conclusively prove that children are even carriers of the virus. We know which categories are at risk, and that is where the shot should be given, not to healthy people or children. This is how in the past, we have dealt with health issues. Why are we now vaccinating people who are not at risk?
This leads me to another major reason I will not get this vaccine. Every health decision we make is based upon a risk/benefit analysis. Do the benefits of taking this vaccine outweigh the risk of catching and dying from COVID-19? For me, the answer is no. I contracted COVID-19 in January of 2021 after following all mask standards. If I had not gotten a test, I might have thought I only had a bad cold. The Red Cross, after I donated blood, has confirmed that I do now carry the COVID-19 antibodies. Three weeks after I had recovered from COVID during my annual physical, my medical doctor advised against my taking the shot for at least six to twelve months. Shouldn’t the advice of my doctor be sufficient?
Another reason to me for not taking this shot is the math does not add up. At 64 years of age, I have a 99% chance of surviving the virus with or without the shot. I survived it once already. Why would I take a shot that is unnecessary and could potentially harm me? One under-reported fact is that these shots are indeed causing severe side effects and even deaths. Over 3,000 cases of deaths immediately after the shot was administered have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) by late April 2021. Vaccine advocates will tell you that simply because these people died after taking the vaccine does not in and of itself prove the vaccine was the reason. Tell that to the family members of healthy individuals who died soon after their shot.
This leads me back to what I feel is the number one reason there is so much push back from the public, including white Evangelicals. We lack confidence in our national health establishment. That lack of confidence is well-founded. One day, you can’t say something is unnecessary, mask-wearing, for instance, and then the next day, say it is essential and not jeopardize the public confidence in your ability to lead. Americans are not stupid, and we have watched the narrative on this pandemic shift on an almost daily basis.
As I write this, the furor over wearing masks outdoors is roiling across America. The New York Times, hardly a conservative bastion, reported that the CDC had overstated the risk of outdoor infections. The CDC says the risk of outdoor infections is less than 10%. That is true. Yet the number is actually 0.1%. It now is clear we were misled.
Speaking of being misled, we now are being told that the vaccine is not 100% effective against COVID. Many health experts say we must continue social distancing and mask-wearing even after we are vaccinated. We are also now being told we will need annual booster shots, much like the annual flu shot. As a result, many like myself say, why get a shot that I already have a 99% chance of surviving? We expect a vaccine that eradicates the disease from ever impacting our lives. That is not what we now have in any of the various shots that have EUA standing.
I hear you arguing with me, but what about others? Don’t you want to protect those around you? You could carry it to your 92-year-old parents. Here is where the experts have lost many people. If my parents have the vaccine, why should they worry about being around someone who hasn’t had the vaccine? Either the vaccine works, or it doesn’t. Which is it?
There is little to no data on how this is transmitted. This again lands me back at perhaps my number one reason for not getting this shot. The science on this virus is far from settled. The same can be said for the vaccines created thus far. Again, experts are assuring the public of facts that they cannot know for sure are true.
Those are some of my major reasons why I chose not to get the vaccine. I’ve spent more hours than I would like to count studying this issue. I arrived at my conclusions using health information, my primary physician, and peer-reviewed scientific data. You may have arrived at a different conclusion based upon the information you have read. If you truly research this issue, you will discover what we all should have known all along; science is rarely settled.
Let me conclude by again saying I am not anti-vax. I’m not opposed to you getting the vaccine if you deem that best for your health. I am opposed to the censorship of alternative thought, which is daily happening with this issue. I am opposed to the type of abuse being hurled at Evangelicals like me for simply asking questions. I am opposed to the broad-brushed criticism that white Evangelicals are conspiracy theorists when in fact, my position is that I care too much for my health and yours to try what I deem an unnecessary and experimental drug.