Herd Immunity

Herd Immunity has become civilization’s excuse for not getting the covid vaccine.  However, for the herd to reach the level of immunity required, eighty to ninety percent of the population would either need to be vaccinated or have previously caught the virus and survived, becoming immune to infection.  Once the world has reached herd immunity, the disease will gradually disappear, resulting in a permanent reduction of infections to zero and no longer be a public health problem.

There are many reasons, good and bad, as to why people are hesitant to receive the ole jab.  Thirty-one percent of Americans have a wait-and-see attitude about it, while twenty percent do not plan on getting one at all.  It all stems from their feelings that most if not all leaders are incompetent, untruthful, and uncaring.  That is why trust is a significant factor in who is willing to get the vaccine. Think about it, receive the vaccination, or chance getting the virus and risk possible death or having lingering health issues for years.  The main culprit that society is battling is their unfounded belief in conspiracy theories.  The most prevalent ones deny that Covid-19 exists or that it is no worse than the common flu.  Some believe that the reports of deaths are greatly exaggerated, that all the graves in Brazil and the cremation fires in India are just another dog and pony show.  And we must not forget the vaccine is the dreaded ‘mark of the beast.’ Revelation 13:16-17 “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

Some are against vaccines in general.  I grew up in a world where vaccinations were a yearly thing. I remember in the 50’s standing in the gym with my fellow students and getting the DPT vaccination or diphtheria (respiratory infection), Pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus (lockjaw), along with smallpox and polio shots.  That usually meant five shots by the age of two and typically one booster shot later.  Many of us remember the large scar formed from the smallpox vaccine, usually in the deltoid area of the upper arm.  I was in grade school when I first received the polio vaccine.  I can remember seeing kids wearing leg braces because of the paralysis they contracted from battling polio. One of our best friends wore a brace due to having polio, and I had an aunt who died with Pertussis (whooping cough).

Polio has been very elusive in its eradication, but the world has made significant strides in eliminating it.  I had childhood friends who contracted polio, and if you do not know anyone who has suffered from it, you are fortunate.  In the late 1980s, over 125 countries still had significant problems fighting polio. In 2003 it was down to only six countries where polio remained problematic.  What would help is if more people in the United States took the time to go abroad and talk to those on the streets who are crippled and ask them how they got that way.  You would be amazed at how many had contracted polio at an early age.  Even today, those immunized in the ’50s for polio are encouraged to get a booster shot.  Getting a booster shot is not the end of the world, but if it helps us not see these diseases return to plague our world, I say it is a no-brainer. 

Today, children up to eighteen years old are receiving twenty-nine doses for the required nine vaccines.  I find receiving multiple doses being administered in one shot to be problematic.  Rather than getting multiple vaccines at once, why not stretch them out to see how a child’s body reacts to the combinations of vaccines injected. 

The reason we have gone from such a small number of shots in the fifties to where we are today is not as hard to understand as you might imagine.  Do some research on the eradication of smallpox, polio, HIV, SARS, etc.  Hundreds of millions of people lost their lives to smallpox before a vaccine came along.  It was not until 1796 that Dr. Edward Jenner demonstrated the use of the cowpox vaccine prevented smallpox.  By the 1950’s most industrialized countries had eradicated it.  But as recently as 1967, the disease still infected 10 to 15 million people each year while claiming 1.5 to 2 million lives.  In 1980 the World Health Organization declared the world free of smallpox, and we no longer administer the vaccine. One conspiracy theory back in the 1800s was that patients would sprout cow-like appendages from receiving the vaccine.   

Vaccines have prevented diseases from spreading and have been successful at saving lives.  Though there has been a significant decline in the number of vaccinations given for specific diseases, more needs to be done before the conditions are eradicated.  Herd immunity is something we all should strive to attain, but as history has shown, these diseases will mutate into a new variance and plague us again if we fail to receive booster shots. We know that so far in the 21st Century, ten vaccines have been developed.  In the 20th Century, there were 27, and five in the 19th Century, with 1 in the 18th Century.  Only one has been successfully eradicated, and that one is smallpox.

Look at the MMR Vaccine, which stands for M (measles), M (mumps) & R (rubella). Should a pregnant woman become infected, her baby is at risk of being born with Congenital Rubella Syndrome, which can often result in the baby being born blind.  On the other hand, rubella, in others, is typically a mild infection that will clear up within a week or two without treatment. The symptoms are often so mild that up to 50% of infected people do not even know they have rubella and can pass it on unknowingly.  We have personally known of babies with congenial defects in Africa where rubella syndrome is still active.

Most of us have had to come to grips with how to personally respond to the Covid 19 pandemic. One of the hardest things has been to wait on the Holy Spirit and in using medical common sense (meaning washing your hands when exposed, social distancing, and wearing masks to prevent airborne transmission) to regulate our going out and staying in. I (Rex) happen to be at a higher risk level, and this does not mean I am living in fear or feeling victimized.  There have been many politicians and conspiracy theorist as well as different responses from Christian leaders on whether services should be live or virtual. As I think of it political responses that form our actions and beliefs are not even relevant within the scope of living or dying or having ongoing disease.

However, the excuse of living in fear, can also be used on those who do not receive a vaccination.  Though some have excessive worries, in many cases people are cautious and may have good reasons for doing what they do. 

We believe that God has given each one of us common sense and scientists the ability to develop penicillin, and other antibiotics, along with vaccines, and pharmaceutical medicines to combat disease. We also believe that God has given us natural medicines and we are grateful for modern medicine and countless surgical procedures. We consider it a privilege to be offered an effective vaccine.  While in every instance we make healing prayer our first option and recognize God’s miraculous power to heal in Jesus name and in his power and authority.

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