Read part 3 here

Soon you will be offered a vaccine. A few of you already have been; some of which have gladly accepted, others of whom have politely declined. And rightly so—your body, your choice. A strictly personal decision. Isn’t it? 

A lot of people don’t have the time or energy to evaluate the arguments between anti-vaccination activists and health professionals. Arguing with people doesn’t help. Our decisions are based on feeling and instinct more than our belief of what is likely to be most effective. In the end, most of us evaluate the trustworthiness of information based on our relationship to the source. Face to face conversations and testimonies are our most robust methods of transformative communication, especially if you are a trusted or influential person in your community. Letting people know you have chosen to vaccinate, and encouraging others to seek wisdom in their decision, has power.

I would argue that as a Christian your decision is not just about you. Your decision will directly impact the health of others, and perhaps more importantly, will influence the decision of those around you. In times like these, fear and confusion are rife. The decisions we make that are sacrificial, that are for others, that are counter-cultural—those are the ones that stick out. They force those around us to ask us why. And we know that the answer has the ability to change lives.

It is your choice. And our choices always carry risks and consequences. It is your body that will be vaccinated and therefore your choice to take the shot now, or to delay until we have more surety that these vaccines really are effective and safe. Choosing to be vaccinated does carry a minute risk to yourself—but the risks of the alternative may be harrowing. Choosing to place those less fortunate above ourselves, is a choice that reflects the courageous neighbourly love shown by the early Christians. Those who took huge risk upon themselves, venturing into plague ridden cities to nurse the sick and live out God’s calling of loving thy neighbour. Please choose this courage, and this love.

History will remember our decisions during this desperate time. Will we be remembered as a collective that fought for the lowliest, or as a group of bystanders that were fixated on the rights of self? That’s your choice.

This article is part 4 of 4, taking a look at our collective role in the vaccine choice. Please read parts 1-3 for full context of our perspective. This article was originally published by NZBMS and is re-published with permission.

Contributors: Alan Jamieson, edited by Kelly Enright

Alan is the general director of NZBMS and Kelly is their communications coordinator.