Although I myself have not been vaccinated (more on that shortly), I have never been remotely anti-vax, nor have I ever downplayed the lethal nature of the virus. Not for a second.
As I wrote in my very first article on COVID on March 2, 2020, “There is no denying the seriousness of the virus.
“As Bill Gates noted in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 28, ‘In the past week, Covid-19 has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about.’ And even at this early stage, ‘Covid-19 has already caused 10 times as many cases as SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] in a quarter of the time.’”
I have lost far too many friends to COVID to minimize the threat of this foul virus. And my own experience with it, finally contracting COVID on December 26 and spending a day in the hospital earlier this week, underscores to me how virulent this coronavirus is.
Accordingly, I find it abhorrent when people mock its reality – a tendency I find primarily in our conservative circles – as if it was some kind of phantom virus or creation of the media or the government or nothing more than the flu. Please.
When people make such statements, they mock the memory of the dead and ridicule the pain of the mourning.
When it comes to the vaccine, a friend and I were recently comparing notes, and of the several dozen people we know who have died of COVID, to our knowledge, not one of them was vaccinated.
This is very troubling and, in my view, cannot be lightly brushed aside.
Would some of their precious lives have been saved if they had been vaccinated?
While in the hospital this week, I had a candid conversation with a totally non-judgmental doctor. He told me that 95 percent of the COVID victims fighting for their lives in that facility were not vaccinated, while the 5 percent who were vaccinated had severe co-morbidities.
And as I write these words, another colleague is fighting for his life, now on a ventilator and needing a miracle. He was a very strong anti-vaxxer but told his wife before being sedated that he now wished he had been vaccinated. How many similar stories have we heard?
On the other hand, there remain many serious concerns with the vaccines, concerns raised by leading scientists and doctors. Do we simply dismiss them out of hand, especially when they have nothing to gain by raising their concerns?
And what are we to think when social media bans their material? Doesn’t this only underscore the warnings they are bringing?
Added to this is the draconian nature of the vaccine mandates, not to mention their apparent illegality, and everything becomes more complex still.
And what about those documented cases where otherwise healthy people have died of blood clots (or related conditions) within hours or days of getting vaccinated? Why so little reporting on this?
As to why I was not vaccinated before, I weighed the issues carefully, as did my wife Nancy. I also consulted my primary care physician and got advice from some other top doctors. And I watched how a large number of my friends and co-workers contracted COVID and were back to normal in a matter of days or weeks.
In the end, because of my 100 percent commitment to healthy living and eating, dating back to August 24, 2014 (without any deviation from that healthy routine for a single day since then), I was advised not to be vaccinated given the strength of my immune system and my overall vibrant health. (The blood tests for my annual physical can be as many as 35 pages long, so my health is very carefully analyzed.)
And, during these last two years, I have been in many crowds of multiple thousands, standing together in close quarters. It appears that my immune system had been doing quite well. Plus, my doctor had already prescribed Ivermectin for me, along with some other recommended supplements, in the event that I did contract COVID. So, I was prepared in the event of getting sick.
That being said, watching other friends die over these months and now having to recover from COVID myself, I continue to wrestle with the question of vaccination. (Thankfully, I have finally developed natural immunity.)
Yet, because many people look to me for guidance in life and death matters, when I do not feel confident that I can give a definitive answer, I refrain from doing so. Why simply venture an opinion on something so critical? That’s why I remained quiet about my personal choices until now, not wanting to influence others either way when I was not sure myself.
Yet I am terribly grieved over the divisions in the Body over the vaccines, with some accusing the vaccinated of lacking faith or branding mask-wearers as spiritual wimps. What kind of madness is this?
To those who mock, I ask, “Who appointed you God and Lord? Who anointed you the arbiter and judge of the faith of others? Who gave you the right to criticize those who feel it is important to act with extreme care and caution?”
But I am also grieved at those who pass judgment on the unvaccinated rather than recognizing that these are complex and difficult issues.
And I know pastors who felt that the Lord told them not to yield to fear but to go on with their public services, and in two years, they have not a significant COVID outbreak of any kind. Shall we tell them their own faith is not real?
Yet there are pro-vaxxers who use reports of the latest COVID death as their personal bully pulpit, with posts like, “Well, your friend wouldn’t have died if he had been vaccinated!” And they do this in Jesus’ name, at that. What a cruel game to play!
Right now, America and the nations are hurting. The death toll continues to rise. Confusion continues to dominate. And human suffering continues to increase.
Let us, at least, walk with respect and grace to those hold to different perspectives. And let us be vigilant and diligent to preserve our own health.
And rather than throwing stones at others, let’s offer a helping hand. If we ever needed to work together, it is now.