The moral case for getting the COVID-19 vaccine

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Orthodox Christianity involves the whole of life. Every part of an Orthodox Christian’s life is lived in, through and for Christ. Following Christ’s teaching, love for God and love for man constitute the centre of our being. 

This week, one of The Good Shepherd’s parishioners sent me his reflections the moral case for being vaccinated. I’d like to share it with you.

“I’ve assessed the risk vs. reward trade-off of obtaining the COVID-19 vaccination as being strongly positive.

As the vaccination programmes in Britain and America have progressed, the burden of disease in those nations are falling rapidly. The fall in the burden of disease demonstrates that the vaccine studies’ promised effectiveness has translated to a high degree of effectiveness ‘in the wild.’ 

There is no ethical objection to receiving the Pfizer vaccine (Archbishop Makarios). 

The main risk associated with Pfizer is related to anaphylactic shock (1 in 6 per million doses); but, based on past vaccinations, I happen to know that I'm not at risk from that, so it's pretty much ‘risk free’ for me. 

Being vaccinated is strongly pro-social. By receiving the vaccine, I'm contributing to herd immunity, which helps even those who may not be able to take it. Additionally, the burden of lockdown is being predominantly borne by low income families. Building herd immunity will allow for the eventual proliferation of the disease without resort to lockdown, allowing those in casual and insecure work to no longer bear the brunt of this crude method of controlling the public health risk.”

Whether it’s obtaining the coronavirus vaccine or organising one’s finances, “Christ is Lord” of all aspects of our lives. As Orthodox Christians, our moral perspectives always encompass the community of the Church and the society in which it witnesses.

We live not merely for ourselves: we live first of all for God and then for each other.