Why I Got Vaccinated Against COVID-19

It seems even sex, politics, and religion have not inspired as much contention or division as this issue recently. Here’s why I got vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why I Got Vaccinated Against COVID-19
Photo credit Kenneth Yam Photography

NB. These views are my own.

It seems like just a short time ago when the anti-vax movement was the butt of every joke and meme for at least a year. Whether it was pulling old episodes of House MD, comparing anti-vax parents to Spongebob chickens or just outright criticism of the death of children, it seemed like a daily occurrence to see someone paying out those opposed to vaccines.

And then COVID happened.

A massive rush by large pharmaceutical companies, universities and governments ended after a few months with not just one potential vaccine to the virus, but several. There was a lot of money to make while saving lives.

But how long does it take for vaccines to be safe? We weren’t sure. Most of them had more time. And some people started to die following their vaccination, although at a much lower rate than the psycho numbers of deaths some countries were seeing due to the virus itself.

A bit about my situation first. My situation hasn’t been as dramatic as most. I’m very fortunate to live in a state in Australia where less than 10 people have died in almost 2 years from COVID. We’ve had comparatively low case numbers and no significant outbreaks. I work in an industry which has bounced back very strongly even a few months after the initial onset of COVID worldwide.

I haven’t had COVID but I have known friends with loved ones who’ve died from it. I also know a few people who have seen people affected by the more vaccine side effects. COVID gave me my first extended unemployment stint in my 15~ year career, and affected visiting hours and conditions for the birth of my first child. Lockdowns and restrictions have really been a pain too but I’ve done reasonably well all things considered.

Short version is, although COVID has affected my life, it’s not been the complete destructive force it has been in the life of many others.

Because of the low case numbers my state (province/prefecture) has only been provided wider availability of multiple vaccine types to the general public (ie. non-frontline workers in a low risk category) in the last few months. I am also not immunocompromised to the point of vaccines being dangerous to my health, and I do really feel for people in that boat.

I’m a logical person and given the factors involved I gave it a lot of thought. There is currently a lot of loud and repeated commentary about people being mindless sheep or whether or not people should get their jab, so I thought I would share the reasons why I got vaccinated against COVID-19.

Over a year of data

I feel like I was in an absolute #FirstWorldProblems situation when I was able to book in for the Moderna vaccine on a pharmacy website within a few days time without an extended wait period. Previously my state only had the AstraZeneca vaccine which the state health department had strongly suggested against (effectively blocked really) for people under the age of 60 based on issues that occurred overseas and the rest of Australia.

I was going to book in on a waiting list for the Pfizer vaccine but when this one became available and the data from scores of countries reflected great success rates and low levels of side effects (and almost no side-effect induced deaths besides a batch that got contaminated in Japan).

Listen to how pompous this all sounds.

And to be honest, if you’re reading this on an Internet-ready device and have not yet been vaccinated, you are likely in the same position I was. We are the beneficiares of a lot of hard work and great sacrifice that has been made to get to this point.

I feel for all the people in places like India where the funeral homes were so overfull that bodies were burning in the streets, in China when the pandemic began and people got sealed in buildings, and even in some of the Western nations when these vaccines first came out and because of the nature of certain jobs they had to get the first thing available.

Now we have over a year of data on multiple vaccine types and lots of options for as many people as possible, and even now there’s oral pills you can take specialised for addressing the virus. I had enough confidence in the 90/94/96/effectiveness over time for longer studies that had been done extensively in multiple countries to make my choice, and fortunately each vaccine has a vast variety of peer-reviewed studies and data to help make a decision.

People keep saying “there’s not enough data”. That was certainly true in the beginning, but now that’s definitely not the case. Or at least there was enough for me.

This is probably the main reason why I got vaccinated but the rest also contributed to my decision in weighing against some of the other concerns.

I’m vaccinated against many other things

I’ve never had polio. Or smallpox. Or rotavirus. Or the Black Death. Or any form of Hepatitis.

Because I have already had heaps of vaccines.

My daughter has also been having all of her recommended vaccines as well. And she won’t get these illnesses either.

Vaccines have already worked in my life so and I’m grateful for it. If I can justify why I got vaccinated for so many other things, the COVID vaccine is just a case of “Here Comes A New Challenger!”.

You have always needed vaccines to protect from deadly viruses to travel

I haven’t ever traveled to a country where I’ve needed a vaccine to enter. Well, until my next trip, because almost every country now requires some sort of vaccine requirement or at least a negative test result for COVID.

But prior to COVID, friends and colleagues I’ve known who’ve needed or wanted to travel to certain countries have been “forced” to get all the vaccines for the area, whether it’s for Yellow Fever or Thyphoid or anything else.

This is because firstly, you don’t want to catch these very dangerous illnesses and die, and second, you don’t want to introduce these very dangerous illnesses to a vulnerable community.

To me, the COVID vaccine is now just another shot in this category, hence why I got vaccinated myself.

Bring back community and connection and flights and good times and plans not being able to be cancelled with 6 hours notice anymore I say.

“Honour the emperor”

As a person of faith, I’ve been really shocked at the absolutely pronounced and constantly negative reaction that I’ve seen many other Christians having to the COVID vaccine, and especially towards the governments involved in its implementation. The Bible doesn’t actually have any verses addressing vaccination directly, but it’s surprising to see how many verses are being attempted to be used in this regard.

There’s a really overlooked instruction from the Apostle Peter, given to the Christian church during the time of the Roman occupation – “honour the emperor”. Honour the emperor, really Peter? The same emperor who was trying to kill everyone, made Christianity illegal, fed believers to the lions and forced worship of pagan gods? Oh yeah, and eventually had you crucified upside down for your faith?

Yep, that emperor.

Even Jesus said something similar – give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

The only time you ever see one of the heroes of faith going against the law or the legal precident of the time is when there was a distinct conflict with the Christian faith. If sexual immorality, idol worship or complete denial of the faith occurred or was mandated, then you see a person of faith taking a stand. For those into the Old Testament, consider the lifestyles of the heroes of the book of Daniel as well.

This harsh conflict with the Christian faith (or any that I’m aware of, happy to be corrected) isn’t the case with a vaccine mandate.

And even if you disagree, which you’re allowed to do, I think the Bible is pretty clear that a tone of dishonour towards governments at any time is ungodly.

I heard actor Tom Hanks make a brilliant (non-spiritual) point on governments to this end in that the left and the right wings are both part of the same plane. And you actually want the pilots to succeed, because if they don’t, we’ll all die in the crash.

What would Jesus do? Probably not tear down the government which existed for the benefit of society. In fact even in an arguably corrupt society that would one day sentence him to death, he didn’t devote a lot of time to lambasting the order of the day.

Who is liable if you get sick?

To be honest, I really haven’t enjoyed the way a lot of governments have been handling restrictions. I thought the CDC and FDA and WHO and all the health boards said 70% vaccination was sufficient for herd immunity and we could all go back to normal after that.

That said, if I put my business hat on, I can see a bind that governments and businesses are in if they don’t push for higher vaccination rates. That’s the case of liability.

Very recently there was a massive stampede at the AstroWorld concert that killed a bunch of people and injured hundreds. There are already 18 lawsuits (and counting) mounted towards the festival and/or the artist for when this tragedy occurred. If this is true of a stampede where people died, imagine a virus with the potential to kill everyone in the building being present.

Now if I didn’t do all I could to stay safe from COVID, eg. vaccinate, and I caught COVID at an airport or at my work place and died, who is liable then? Would businesses go broke because everyone at a cafe got sick and died and the families sued for negligence? And whose job is it actually to keep people safe? Can any organisation hand-on-heart say they’re doing all they can for public safety by allowing a very real and proven risk to occur on premises without mitigation?

Governments and businesses are in a real legal bind with both sets of scenarios, but I personally see this particular legal issue as a worthwhile consideration in why I got vaccinated, and one I’m not seeing too many people talking or thinking about.

To protect my family and loved ones

This is an easy one. I’m a husband, a father, a brother, a son, an employee, a life group leader, a volunteer team leader, and have many more things I would love to do with my life.

I really really hate needles, but if I can take two shots with some minor to medium discomfort for a day or two after each one and preserve my opportunity and presence on this earth, sounds like a good trade to me.

And for those who are more worried about their risk of side effects, the local GP is a great resource who knows you well and is best placed to make an accurate assessment on what you should do.

The vaccine is way safer than catching COVID

After the second shot especially I was really sore and out of it like most people, with some fatigue lasting for maybe a week or so afterwards.

And all I could think for the first day that I was really feeling it was:

If I reacted that poorly to fake COVID, imagine if I got the real thing.

That’s kind of like a retroactive reason why I got vaccinated, and I hadn’t really considered it until afterwards.

COVID is kinda terrifying. It doesn’t just give people flu symptoms – it’s been known to give people clots, to kill cells like a cancer, to destroy parts of the body permanently. As many stats as there may be about vaccine side effects, the stats really don’t lie on how many people are dead, dying, hospitalised, or never ever going to be the same again because of COVID.

I think there are certainly a lot of issues around vaccine mandates and enforcing restrictions. I’ve absolutely hated how families and loved ones have been separated for years, missed births and funerals, lost businesses and all their income or savings, haven’t been able to see children grow up or have been driven to mental despair because of how the world and government have reacted. My heart bleeds to think of people who have been in this situation.

But I can’t control the mandates or the restrictions or COVID. To me all I can really control is my own decisions and actions.

In my state, like in many parts of the world, vaccine mandates and hardline restrictions are being introduced (and maybe relaxed eventually like they have been elsewhere), and a lot of the people I know have been freaking out as a result.

The more people I’ve spoken to, the more I hear that many people are genuinely confused as to what they should do. Given the heightened confusion and anxiety, I thought I would use my platform to just share some of my personal reasons why I got vaccinated against COVID.

There’s a lot of name calling, statistics overload and assumption going on between people. Maybe we can do some more thinking and treating people with respect while we’re at it.

How about you? Yay or nay to vaccine?

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