Vaccine: An Attempt to Prevent Life
Whether it was for cowpox or smallpox or any other epidemic, vaccines have been a lifesaver. And over the years the technology and scientific study have improved that we are able to produce a vaccine for a disease in a very short time.
The vaccines produced help human beings gain immunization. We know that as days go by there are different strains of coronavirus surfacing. And the vaccine produced will have to stand the test of time. But the estimation made between 2010 and 2020 reveals to us that the available vaccines have prevented 25 million deaths.
The vaccines were not proven effective all of a sudden. They have gone through a process of trial and error. Therefore the dicey situation of the success and failure of vaccines has led to ‘vaccine hesitation’ and ‘conspiracy theories.’
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Vaccine hesitation is due to various complications that one imagines that one will undergo. An individual needs to be careful enough to decide to take the vaccine when one is already burdened with the intake of a huge number of medicines.
Vaccine hesitation also takes place due to the testimony given by those who have taken the vaccine and have had trouble with it. No doubt that our bodies will react to the vaccine as not all of our bodies are composed in the same fashion.
The testimonies and experiences of certain individuals then create conspiracies against the vaccine. There was a time we contemplated as to how long the vaccine will take to come into the market, how the vaccine will be distributed, who will be the immediate beneficiaries of the vaccine: the rich or the poor, etc. But now when the government has made the vaccine available freely, alongside a good amount of people who have agreed to take the vaccines there are a few who have denied taking the vaccine due to the conspiracies making rounds.
Pope Francis like his predecessors has vouched for taking the vaccine as he states that it is not just for the safety of oneself but for the safety of the others with whom we are living. He considered it a moral choice bestowed onto us. And that denying the vaccine and opposing it is like ‘suicidal denial.’
The issue that disturbs and questions its morality is how a vaccine is made. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has examined this aspect because this is an impending issue that propped up every time a vaccine was created. The use of the vaccine that is produced using the cell lines extracted from voluntarily aborted foetus tissues. As voluntary abortion is not justified, the extraction of the cell lines and its usage to create a vaccine is also morally illicit. But the CDF in its recent note on the morality of the vaccine has stated that the vaccine using the cell lines is morally acceptable as long as the cooperation with the cell lines is material, passive and remote. By cooperation is material, it means that one doesn’t share the intention of the principal actor in deliberately killing an innocent life.
Cooperation is passive, as the event happened in the past and one cannot actively participate in the act. And since the act already took place in the past i.e. 1973 abortion in Holland (cell line HEK293), we use the available cell lines from the remote past. Therefore the cooperation is remote.
As the virus is mutating there will be a need for a different vaccine. So as long as we have one, we need to make the best of it to prevent life. That is the personal responsibility that each individual shows towards oneself and others. Vaccination is cooperation with the propagation of life as opposed to cooperation with evil. Because the moment one says yes to vaccine there are abundant benefits that one receives personally and one presents to the society as a social being. Vaccination limits the number of sick people in hospitals reducing the workload of the health workers. Also giving them an opportunity to concentrate on other sick people with other health conditions, who were and are largely neglected due to the pandemic. So when one vaccinates himself or herself one not just thinks of one’s personal health but also the public health.
Given that the vaccine is now available to us, there is a dire need to make people aware of the benefits of it. Correct information about the vaccine needs to be generated to the public. People need to be encouraged to responsibly behave towards the health care systems. It is therefore reasonable enough for the sake of the common good to make a choice for the vaccine as opposed to being anti-vaccine.
Taking good care of one’s life is the ultimate concern. And taking the vaccine is a step towards it. Pope Francis states again, “I do not know why someone says: ‘no, the vaccine is dangerous.’ If the doctors present it to you as something that can go well, that has no special dangers, why not take it?” So far for all our health issues, we have referred to the doctors and they have been able to help us overcome and fight diseases. So why not trust them during these testing times? Trusting them will fill them with confidence to work even more with a dedication to the medicinal practice that they do and fill them with energy to pursue further despite the prevailing negativity of the pandemic.
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