New Blog Post: 5 reasons Christians should get the COVID-19 vaccine

Hello. I recently found this site and have been reading thru some of the material and this article caught my attention. See that the last comments are from 1 year ago. Reading thru the comments and moderator responses it was immediately obvious that the moderators are very much aggressively pro-Covid vaccine and were very dismissive of comments regarding the benefits of natural (aka God given) immunity as well as documented harms of the mRNA Covid vaccines which studies continue to reveal. Important to note…I am by no means an anti vaccine individual and have received many vaccines in my lifetime and believe many vaccines are truly God given blessings to offer relief from disease and promote health benefits. However, I, like most thinking and discerning individuals, do not accept all vaccines without question or investigation. I, like millions or individuals in this country, was infected with Covid and thankfully, recovered. So when the vaccines were released as EUA, I did what any thinking person would do…I went to the FDA site and read the safety report on the vaccines. Specifically, I wanted to know what the benefits or harms were for individuals with prior-infection. To my dismay, the reports revealed that the the vaccines were not tested on individuals with prior infection. So logically, that is a hard stop…it was completely unwise and without any scientific or clinical basis for a prior infected individual to take an experimental medication that was not safety tested for their conditions. So that is the original reason why I did not take this vaccine. As time as unfolded, CDC has worked very hard to justify that prior-infected individuals should get vaccinated. At the same time, the body of knowledge on prior-infection induced immunity continues to grow. Sadly, CDC and this countries PH leaders continue to dismiss natural immunity and push a vaccination-only agenda. Again, vaccines can offer great benefits. However, after all we’ve learned to this point (Covid vaccines do not prevent infection or spread; natural immunity is robust and long lasting; Covid IFR is similar to Influenza; Covid impacts elderly population (65+ is 75% of deaths, 55+ is 90% of deaths)) it is clear that the decision to take a Covid vaccine is based on several criteria and should not be pushed as a mandate on all regardless of their age and health conditions. So thanks for allowing me to comment here. Look forward to your response in light of all that has been learned since the last comments to this blog post. Respectfully.

Indeed a lot has happened over time. We have variants that seem less deadly, but more contagious. We have evidence that both post-infection and vaccine immunity fades with time, and may not be as protective against the new variants. We see more problems attributed to long Covid. Overall, it still seems that vaccination is beneficial for the vast majority of those for who it is recommended despite the apparent lower severity of illness, likely due in part to either prior infection or immunization, but perhaps also due to the changing virus. Regarding prior infection, here is a fairly recent article stating that it has about at 28% effectiveness at prevention of the newer strains. Prior Omicron infection protects against BA.4 and BA.5 variants
And here is an article stating protection is poor with the new varients with both infection and vaccination. BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 escape antibodies elicited by Omicron infection | Nature

Personally, being older and perhaps higher risk, I am going to get the bivalent booster in the near future despite having been vaccinated and having a mild case this past February. The main objective for me is to avoid severe disease.

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By the way, welcome to the forum, Tom @kocheesh . It is always good to have fresh voices and thoughts. As time goes on, we hope to get to know you better!

I think that what your interpreted as some here being dismissive of natural immunity was actually just a reaction the the thinly veiled anti-vax position of some in favor of just letting the disease take its natural course and toll on human life. No doubt the vaccine saved and is saving lives, and critics would be hard pressed to provide evidence to the contrary.

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Yes, we are, as is the site that hosts the conversation here. The idea of “documented harms of mRNA COVID vaccines” undoubtedly something hugely blown out of proportion by an anti-science, anti-vaccine lobby.

Why would they be? You don’t need to test them on people with prior infection to demonstrate they work and they are not harmful. At this point, millions, maybe billions of people with prior infections have also been vaccinated. We need to acknowledge that the situation in the population two+ years ago when trials were being done was vastly different. Plus, as we know now, infection with newer variants of the virus provide little to no protection against reinfection and the original vaccines are not as effective at preventing infections (though they prevent severe disease) with the new variants.

Yes, because there is evidence that each subsequent vaccination (or infection) increases protection against future severe disease and incidence of long COVID. Immunity provided by infections (and vaccinations) wanes over time.

Vaccines significantly reduce the percent of people in a population who become infected, so yes, at the population level, they do prevent infection and spread IN THE POPULATION even if they are not 100% effective at preventing every infection or preventing an infected vaccinated individual from spreading the virus.

This is not the case with newer variants and I don’t think it was ever established that natural immunity from one infection was “better” than two vaccines and a booster.

But this ignores the fact that young healthy unvaccinated people in a population are highly likely to be vectors for the virus and spread it to older or immune-compromised people in the population, even those who have been vaccinated. Choosing to be vaccinated is not just a question of one’s personal health and risks. Vaccination is effective when we look at the level of populations, not individuals, and a bunch of individuals opting out of vaccination because they don’t see the personal benefit is selfish and contributes to ongoing epidemics.

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Thanks Phil for and appreciate your response! Tom

Hi Christy. Thanks for your responses. Its very clear that your are a staunch Covid vaccine proponent. As I mentioned in my initial post I am not anti-vaccine by any means but the government PH response to Covid that tilted toward mandating vaccination on almost all (fortunately overturned in the courts) is not logical, based in science nor medically justifiable. And your statement of “a bunch of individuals opting out of vaccination because they don’t see the personal benefit is selfish and contributes to ongoing epidemics.” simply sounds like a restatement of some who falsely claimed that “this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated”. There are absolutely valid, medical justifiable reasons for opting out of these Covid vaccines that are not based in “selfishness”. I’m pretty sure we’re not going to reach any agreement on this subject in this forum and don’t want to get into a battle of posting links to studies and “fact checks”. Thanks again for responding. Tom

There may well be philosophic reasons, but I am unaware of medical reasons outside of known allergy to components. Can you elaborate?

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Not for the vast majority of people. This is like saying that just because there are valid times when vehicles should not be limited by speed limits (e.g. emergency vehicles responding to an emergency), that therefore speed limits should not be mandated or enforced. Sure … they may be an inconvenience to you at times, but when you choose to ignore them, it isn’t just yourself you are imperiling, but everyone else around you too.

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On the contrary, the country has a long history of mandated vaccines. Have you never enrolled a child in school or college? I do not understand why this one was so controversial all of the sudden, other than the obvious fact that the well was poisoned by certain bad actors with political vendettas and ant-vaccine propaganda to peddle.

It’s not the same thing at all. It’s what I said. People who say “I don’t think there is a valid personal benefit for me to get vaccinated” are being selfish, because there is a demonstrable societal benefit, even if they are no better off personally.

Agree to disagree. Very, very few people are being told by their doctors that they should not get vaccinated for valid medical reasons. Almost everyone claiming these valid reasons is basing things on their feelings of discomfort with this or that hypothetical, most of which is not based on any actual medical facts, but is instead fomented by disinformation campaigns.

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Also, I have a different perspective on the US situation because I live in Mexico. Neither public masking, nor vaccination is at all controversial here and there has been and still is huge public cooperation to do both to protect vulnerable people. Neither I, nor my kids, nor many of the people I know have ever been infected with COVID, and I appreciate everyone else’s efforts to protect the whole population, because it’s a group effort. My husband avoided infection for 2 and a half years until he recently was on a trip to Europe where “the pandemic is over” and he got a bad cold, and then picked up COVID as well. I know this is just anecdotal, but my personal experience in a society that has banded together to do what can be done for public health has made the fighting and political posturing and willing belief of lies in the US all the sadder and more incomprehensible, especially since it is often Christians leading the charge.

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Covid IFR in an immunologically naive population is ten or twenty times that of influenza. Covid long-term disability rate is much higher than that of flu and is substantial even for those with prior immunity. Both mortality and disability rates for covid are similar to those of polio.

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Hi Phil. The primary medically justifiable reason I would refer to is based on the body’s God given immune system. The fact is that millions of unvaccinated individuals (likely billions now) have been infected with one or more of the several Covid strains and recovered. The government PH response to ignore the reality of the effectiveness of the body’s ability to respond to the Covid virus is beyond reason. There are numerous respected PH experts who do not agree with the government PH view that prior infected/recovered individuals should take a vaccine by default. I’ll add just one link here that contains links to 150 studies over the past two plus years affirming the effectiveness of natural immunity…I’ve read thru dozens myself but other reliable sources have compiled these. These studies greatly inform my decision making. And please understand, I am not saying to others “Do not take the vaccine”. I am simply saying, do your research, assess your situation, consult with your physician, and make an informed decision. Thanks, Tom

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No one debates that you get immunity from infection. That is the way the immune system works. But, the cost of natural immunity in the US is over 1 million dead. Lots of people survive polio, and lots of people survived smallpox, but they also killed a lot of people. The question is not whether you can get natural immunity from having the illness, but whether you can get immunity and protection from death without the risk of dying from the disease. I have not reviewed all the papers, but fail to see any “medical reasons to not take the vaccine” given. If you don’t want to take the vaccine, then don’t. Just do not misrepresent the reason why.
By the way, read up on the Brownstone Institute and its founder, who writes frequently for the Epoch Times. Not what I would call trustworthy sources. We are called to be discerning as Christians, and indeed that is true of our secular life as well.

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The hospitals filled up with people who were infected and unvaccinated, not with people who had just received the vaccine. About 90-95% of hospitalizations during the Delta and Omicron waves were unvaccinated.

If you are choosing between gaining immunity through infection or through vaccine, the choice seems pretty obvious, at least to me.

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The Brownstone Institute was formed to support and further the Barrington Declaration, which was put out by a small group of scientists who appear to be quite politically motivated in their opposition to vaccine mandates and whose conclusions have been hotly contested by the vast majority of their academic peers. This is the definition of a biased source with a political agenda.

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And then there’s this – quite relevant I think:

 
ETA: It certainly echoes you, Steve…

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Hi Phil, Christy, Its clear that my view of the Covid vaccines is different than yours and likely many responding to this blog. As I stated in my initial comment, I am not anti-vaccine but am also not accepting of these Covid vaccines by default for all. The data and studies are there after almost three years and we have an understanding of risk by age and underlying medical conditions and can make informed decisions. Should elderly and others strongly consider taking a Covid vaccine…yes, definitely…the benefits appear to outweigh the potential known harms for their situations. Do the vaccines prevent infection and spread…the data is there for that. One final observation on your responses…the GBD and its authors and signers are not politically motivated by any means…if you believe that then I would warn you that you are living in an echo chamber and certainly, with Francis Collins being one of your founders, you will likely follow his views on GBD and its authors. I’ll end it there…I wish you well and appreciate the opportunity to have had this exchange. Respectfully, Tom

You seem to be saying the vaccine is riskier for people who have already contracted COVID, or at least could be. What about reinfection after having contracted COVID? How is the vaccine riskier than being exposed to the virus itself after having already been infected? If you think natural immunity is a good thing, then shouldn’t you be just as immune to the effects of the vaccine?

Either way, you are going to be exposed to the spike protein associated with SARS-CoV-2. In the case of reinfection, which does happen regularly, you are being exposed to the spike protein and all of the other viral proteins, of which there are many. With the vaccine you are being exposed to just the spike protein.

From what I know of the vaccine, data, and immunology the one factor people should consider is how long ago they were either vaccinated or infected. If it has been greater than 8-10 months for either, then I think vaccination is a really good idea, especially for those who are immunocompromised or have risk factors.

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Letting that set in. Shocking but you are in a position to make the comparison.

I live with someone who gets every vax and boost that becomes available (as I do too) and yet can never afford to risk infection. Our regional infectious disease doctor has told my wife that given her other conditions she must do everything she can to never get Covid. Naturally that means I have to be just as careful even though I have every reason to believe my immunity is up to surviving an infection. But I’m sympathetic with individuals living alone who are or have been living with critically low socializing.

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Hi Steve. I stand corrected in saying “similar” however the estimate of Covid IFR being 10x or 20x Influenza also appears to be high. Looking at CDC data and a couple of other studies gives the recent estimated “Overall” IFR in US of 0.63% which is 5-6x range of the average Overall Influenza IFR (0.12%) over the past ten or so years (it was interesting to find that Overall IFR for Influenza is trending down over past ten years with high marks of ~0.17%). And as you stated, Covid was new and entered a naive population so IFR would be expected to be high, especially in 2020. And a final note which I’m sure you and others reading are aware of is IFR is very dynamic based on multiple factors and for Covid, varies greatly by age. I would say that my comment on IFRs being “similar” is supported for healthy individuals 50 and under. The current estimates indicate that the Covid IFR for ages 50 and under is similar or less than “Overall” IFR of Influenza (which again will vary by age as well). All of this is not to dismiss or minimize the seriousness of Covid but simply to put it in some perspective in terms of IFR. Thanks, Tom

https://www.nature.com/articles/s43856-022-00106-7

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