14 January 2021, The Tablet

The Christians who fear vaccination

The Christians who fear vaccination

Kenneth Copeland proclaims the end of Covid-19 and ‘the United States of America is healed’, in a March broadcast


The Pope is being vaccinated as early as this week. Yet some ultra-conservative groups on the fringes of the Churches prey on the fears of vulnerable people to claim the vaccination programme is part of a conspiracy to rob them of their freedom

Some 1.5 million people in the UK have now received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and the NHS – working hand-in-hand with the Army – is creating new local vaccination centres, hospital hubs and even mass vaccination sites at sports stadiums in a massive national effort to control the spread of the vaccine.

The vast majority of Christians – like the vast majority of citizens of other faiths and none – will take their place in the queue for a jab. Receiving the vaccine will be a tangible expression of the common good; recognising that our own health and that of others are closely interwoven. Just as we flourish through seeking the flourishing of others, we cooperate with public health measures in an act of solidarity. Unless there is an overriding medical reason for not being vaccinated, it’s very simple. To show our love for our neighbour means to have the jab.

Some are hesitant about being vaccinated because of concerns over the rapid development and testing of the vaccine; fears that often arise from misunderstanding and misinformation. Some Christians hesitate because some vaccines are grown in cell strains derived decades ago from an aborted foetus; in a “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines” approved by Pope Francis, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made it clear that it is morally permissible to receive the currently available vaccines. The Pope said this week he planned to be vaccinated and urged others to have a jab. “It is an ethical choice because you are gambling with your own health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others.” But there are more troubling reasons why some Christians are vaccine-hesitant or even anti-vaccination. Vaccination is becoming a new front in the culture wars.

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading

Register for free to read this article in full

Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £30 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login