Recently I read a report by several local Catholic medical experts seeking to dispel vaccine myths. The article was in the Catholic Courier, which explored the science behind the vaccines. They researched the cell lines used to create the vaccines and reviewed what was morally acceptable with Catholic moral theologians. The USCCB and the Pope have given the OK for any vaccine line under almost all current circumstances (read the article or check out www.liferoc.org to learn more). They also unraveled some of the myths that have been spreading on the internet including falsehoods about the impacts of mRNA and the likelihood of serious adverse responses. I encourage you to check it out and to get your vaccine when you are able to get in line.
Speaking of "getting in line”, I recently read an article from National Public Radio which explored people's questions about morality of receiving a vaccine before others. Some of the situations they present in the article do not apply to New York, but I still think it is worth a read (or listen). Admittedly, I face the same confusion as many others -should I get a vaccine based on my work? Should I qualify for the vaccine by because of the face-to-face interactions my service as a parish priest requires? On the other hand, since the pandemic, I have had less face-to-face interaction with the people we serve. Is it ethical for me to take a slot that could be used by someone else who is closer to the "front lines" of the pandemic? I reflected on this on a spiritual level and researched what ethicists and public health officials were saying. I did not actively try to sign up, with no appointment as of yet. I encourage you to pray and research what your plan is if you are given an unexpected chance to receive the vaccine sooner than you expected.
I encourage all of us to stay hopeful, it will be a year, in a couple weeks, that we have been living with the pandemic. There is light at the end of the tunnel, please continue to encourage each other, we will make it to the end of the tunnel.
Blessing in 2021!
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,