Getting vaccinated is faith in action, not fear

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Matthew C. Woodruff

I recently wrote an article for another post where I wrote that “smart people got vaccinated” and it goes without saying that I received a lot of feedback on this statement. At first I thought I should have anticipated it or at least be more political in my formulation, but then it occurred to me to think from a scientific point of view, that’s exactly what I meant, so why would I dilute it?

It made me think about why there are people who would not get vaccinated (other than for health reasons). I’m not going to bore everyone with the COVID-19 stats, which you can find anywhere, but there was a running theme in the comments that I’d like to address first.

The claim that “vaccines are new and not approved by the Food and Drug Administration” is true, but misleading. There are hundreds of coronaviruses. Coronaviruses have been discovered that have afflicted humanity since the 1960s. Then came SARS and MERS, two new deadly coronaviruses (like COVID-19) discovered from 2003.

Building on research underway since, scientists were able to quickly develop a vaccine against COVID-19. This is not new research, but almost 20 years of preparation.

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The FDA is considered a world leader for its scientific safety standards. Under normal circumstances, it can take up to 10 years for the FDA to approve a new drug for general use. In the case of COVID-19, the FDA has issued an Emergency Use Clearance (EUA) for the vaccines developed.

The FDA process includes the evaluation of chemistry, manufacturing and controls to ensure safety. A three-step human testing process is also evaluated.

As far as I know, no one has become a brain-eating zombie yet.

It occurred to me that many of the same people who will not get vaccinated were probably the same people who refused to wear masks. The above reasoning means nothing to them.

In fact, science and statistics are not the reasons why I choose to wear a mask or get vaccinated. After all, I am a healthy adult in the prime of my life. My risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 is minimal. Why should I bother?

The response was immediate and straightforward. My personal convictions demanded it.

I live in a community. Do I risk the health or life of others by carrying and possibly transmitting the COVID virus? Most people who have had COVID didn’t even know it.

Should I be so irresponsible that I wear it to more at-risk family, friends, neighbors, or even strangers? I wonder how many people have been infected and maybe even died because someone unknowingly passed the virus on to them when it could have been so easily avoided.

This opens another question in my mind – most people in this country claim some kind of faith. Most religions teach us to love our neighbors, to look after their well-being, and to be our brother’s keeper, so to speak.

How do people of faith rectify in their minds their recklessness, and inaction for the welfare of their neighbors when they refuse to wear a mask or be vaccinated? What if you carry, or have even unknowingly carried the virus to someone else who becomes seriously ill or dies? Ultimately, how will you and your faith be judged for it?

It is not fear that motivates me to wear a mask or fear that made me get vaccinated, but my faith.

Matthew C. Woodruff is a resident of Gainesville who is an ordained minister and the author of the book “Knowing God and Jesus – A Study in the First Book of Scriptures – Love, Faith, and Hope,” available exclusively on Amazon.

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