CoVid-19 Vaccines. One of the most talked-about topics today. So many questions and differing opinions, seemingly contradicting and confusing messages can leave us feeling confused, torn, and anxious.

The internet is flooded with misinformation concerning SARS-CoV-2, CoVid-19 vaccines, and health advice, increasing fear, confusion, division, and strained mental health. It is hard to differentiate between which ‘medical experts’ to listen to and which ones to disregard. Who is telling the truth? It can be confusing as to where to start to ‘research’ our questions. I hope this blog helps.

Earlier this year, I published a blog, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? Since then, many new questions have surfaced. And so, once again, my immunologist friend [1] has been busy researching some answers.  In writing this blog, I have also had guidance from a GP / specialist.

Why have a vaccine if I can develop immunity naturally?

This question comes from an underlying misunderstanding of how our immune systems work. There are two sides to your immune system 1. Innate Immunity 2. Adaptive immunity. The adaptive immune system is the side that we activate through a vaccine to produce antibodies that can combat CoVid-19. These antibodies can’t be created or boosted ‘naturally’ without coming into contact with the virus itself, as antibodies are distinct.

Also, your immune system does not differentiate between naturally catching the virus or the ‘synthetic’ vaccine – it just recognises both as foreign bodies or antigens. Simply put, to build immunity to CoVid-19, you either get the virus naturally or get a vaccine. The risks of catching CoVid-19, its unknown long-term effects, hospitalisation and death rates versus the low risks associated with having a vaccine and the benefits of herd immunity need to be carefully weighed.

Before reading further, I recommend watching this short clip explaining how the immune system works.

Have these vaccines been tested properly? It seems like they’ve been rushed.

The CoVid-19 vaccines have been developed quickly, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been adequately tested. Most vaccines take a while to get passed, but that is usually due to a lack of funding, scarce resources and political red tape. The CoVid-19 vaccines had millions of dollars and resources injected into them due to the severe nature of the virus – the entire world was working around the clock and was invested in developing these vaccines. At the same time, thousands of people lined up to volunteer for clinical trials. These factors contributed to the speed of vaccine production.

These vaccines have been through the same trials and processes as other vaccines and the same stringent approval process by the same regulating bodies (e.g. FDA in the US and TGA in Australia). Essentially, it was the bureaucratic processes that were sped up, not the vaccine safety testing.

The mRNA vaccine technology is new. How can we trust it?

The mRNA vaccine technology has been in development for over 30 years. These vaccines have gone through all the proper testings and trials and have proven safe and effective by the same standards as other vaccines.

While the mRNA vaccine technology has been in development for a long time, it hasn’t been until now that the finances and resources were available to push into this ground-breaking area.

Are all the vaccines currently available in Australia the same?

No. Different vaccines use varied technologies. For example, the MMR vaccine uses ‘live attenuated’ organisms to produce an immune response without making the host sick. The polio vaccine uses the ‘inactivated’ virus, while other vaccines use fractions or deactivated toxins.

The three CoVid-19 vaccines that are currently available in Australia are Comirnaty (Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna) and Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca). Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology, while AstraZeneca utilises a virus vector. A fourth vaccine, Novavax, a protein-based vaccine, is currently being considered for use in Australia. All of these vaccines are designed to produce an immune response against the protein spike on the CoVid-19 virus.

What are the known side effects of the CoVid-19 vaccines?

Like all medications and vaccines, the CoVid-19 vaccines have a list of common mild side effects including redness and soreness at the injection site, mild body aches and tiredness. Although many people reported little to no side effects, most of these mild symptoms clear up within a couple of days. The complete list of side effects is published on the Australian Department Health website.

There have been reports of more severe side effects from these vaccines. Some of these are so rare that they weren’t picked up during clinical trials. These include Myocarditis, pericarditis and Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), or pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart), occurring with Pfizer and Moderna. The risk is 1 in 30,000, with men under 30 more susceptible. This side effect can be serious but is usually easily treatable with a quick recovery.

Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) is blood clotting and is linked to AstraZeneca. This condition is so rare that it didn’t show up in the clinical trials. The risk of death is 1 in 1 million. Here is a list of higher risks:

  • Risk of death from general anaesthetic is 18 in a million
  • Risk of being struck by lightning is 2 in a million
  • Risk of death due to daily aspirin is 100 in a million
  • Risk of death from giving birth is 67 in a million

An interesting article from the ABC suggests that the mortality rate has decreased due to higher awareness of this condition enabling doctors to identify the symptoms and intervene. There are effective treatments available for TTS. 

There have been reports that over 500 people have died in Australia from the vaccines. Shouldn’t we be worried?

The ‘reported’ number of over 500 deaths ‘linked to CoVid-19 vaccinations’ through the Australian TGA website is an inaccurate statistic. The true number is NINE deaths. While we don’t want to minimise any fatalities, we need to acknowledge that correlation does not necessarily equal causation when it comes to fatalities and vaccinations. The reasons for this are explained below.

As of October 14 2021, the true number of confirmed deaths from CoVid-19 vaccination in Australia is nine with over 31,994,741 doses administered.

Where did the ‘500+ reported deaths’ come from then?

Side effects associated with any vaccine or medication can be reported to the TGA. A similar reporting system in the US called ‘VAERS’ acknowledges that their reporting system is not ‘regulated’ regarding who can and can’t report side effects, with all side effects listed publicly.

It means that anyone can report anything, and it will be listed. With people ‘trolling’ the sites there are all sorts of nonsensical listings such as ‘being bitten by animals’, ‘boredom’, ‘gonorrhoea’ and ‘becoming elderly’. Sites such as VAERS and the TGA take all reports seriously, and medical professionals investigate each death in Australia as to whether the vaccine directly caused it.

There would be no doubt that over 500 people died within a couple of days or even weeks after receiving a CoVid-19 vaccine. With over 30 million doses administered to date, we would expect more than 500 people to have died from other causes (some even naturally) close to the time of their vaccination. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the vaccine caused their death.

An equivalent example is this: 50,000 people went out on the same night and ate similar ice cream. Ten people died within the next two days. Can we conclude that ice cream kills people? What is more likely is that those ten people died of other causes at a frequency not above what we would ‘normally’ see. The point is this: correlation does not equal causation. We need to be careful with interpreting data and mindful of misinformation that is circulating on social media. When taken out of context, these inflated figures can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.

How do we know what the long-term effects of the CoVid-19 vaccines are?

Scientists and medical professionals have a pretty good understanding of the long-term effects of these vaccines.

Vaccines, unlike ongoing medication, are not stored up in the body as you are taking a tiny dose (usually only once or twice). The purpose of a vaccine is to produce an immune response, then for the vaccine to disappear from the body. This process of being cleared from your body usually takes between 3-7 days. After that, there is no trace of the vaccine.

Vaccine technology has been around for decades, and modern medicine has developed in leaps and bounds. Scientists have an excellent understanding of the long-term side effects because all of the ingredients are well known to science. This means that scientists and medical experts already know how these ingredients behave and work in the human body.

Although you can never entirely rule out long term effects, with over 6.6 billion (2) doses of CoVid-19 vaccinations administered across the globe over the last year, scientists and medical experts have a good understanding of the side effects to date.

Can the vaccine cause infertility?

I saw a viral video of two men claiming that a Japanese paper running clinical trials on mice using the mRNA vaccine showed a build-up of the vaccine in the ovaries. They concluded that CoVid-19 vaccines, therefore, interfere with fertility. It was disappointing to watch as it was another example of the inappropriate interpretation of scientific data).

Studies have found no evidence to suggest that the vaccines cause infertility. All the studies and data SUPPORT the safety of women being vaccinated DURING pregnancy. We need to keep in mind that Australia is at least six months behind the rest of the world regarding vaccinations. This gives us a unique position to have a front-row seat. People have now been vaccinated for over a year, which means that hundreds of thousands of women (dare we say millions!) from all over the world have fallen pregnant and given birth with no indication of fertility issues. The only data scientists have that suggests any fertility issues is in fact in men who catch CoVid-19 naturally. Studies have shown a reduction in sperm count and an increase in impotence issues caused by the virus’s effects on blood vessels.

The Royal Australian & NZ College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) recently ran a ‘Pregnancy and CoVid-19 vaccination’ webinar and stated clearly that the CoVid vaccines DO NOT impact on fertility.

People who are fully vaccinated are still catching CoVid-19. Does this mean the vaccines don’t work?

The vaccines don’t stop you from catching the virus altogether, although they do reduce your risk. A new study has suggested that within the first three months of a person’s second Pfizer vaccination, they are between 70-90% less likely to catch and transmit the virus. The primary role of the CoVid-19 vaccine is to significantly reduce the risk of severe infection and hospitalisation.

Currently, the strategy of both the NSW and the VIC governments is to vaccinate as many people as possible to minimise serious disease and not overrun the health system. If our health systems are overwhelmed, then all other medical emergencies (Heart attack, stroke, accidents, & surgery) will not get the care they need.

Why does getting vaccinated matter? Does an unvaccinated person put others at risk?

A reliable pre-print study from the UK suggests that the vaccines are better at preventing the spread of CoVid-19 than we first thought. Getting the vaccine isn’t just about protecting yourself. It is about reducing your risk of spreading it to others. There a many people in our community who cannot have the vaccine. They may be ineligible (babies and children) or unable to be vaccinated due to a medical condition. In making the decision to be vaccinated you are protecting these members of our community who are most vulnerable.

Quickfire myths:

Do we even know what is in the vaccines?

Yes, we do. Click here for the full list of ingredients.

Does the vaccine contain Graphene Oxide?

No, Graphene oxide is not listed in the ingredients. No, they didn’t miss it off the list ‘on purpose’. How do we know? For starters, the vaccines are the wrong colour. Graphene oxide is dark brown, the vaccines are clear. You would be able to tell very quickly if graphene oxide was present.

Do people become magnetic after having the vaccine?

No. There is nothing present in the vaccine which could make a person become magnetic.

Do the statistics show that half the new cases of CoVid-19 are vaccinated people? Does that mean they don’t work?

The statistics may show that a significant portion of people catching CoVid-19 is vaccinated. Simply saying ‘half the CoVid-19 cases are vaccinated, so the vaccines don’t work’ is incorrect and is called a baseline fallacy. What we have to consider when interpreting these statistics is the denominator.

For example, if we wanted an accurate understanding of how many people from each group (the vaccinated or unvaccinated) were catching CoVid-19, we couldn’t simply say ‘50%’ of each. If 50% of cases were vaccinated yet still developed CoVid-19, we need to consider the denominator or size of each group from which those figures came.

Let’s do some maths: If Victoria has 80% double dose vaccination, that would mean around 5,360,000 people in the ‘vaccinated group’ (based on a population of 6.7mil). That leaves 1,340,000 in the unvaccinated group. Let’s say that 100,000 people got CoVid-19, and 50% were vaccinated. That would mean that 50,000 out of 5,360,000 or 0.93% of the vaccinated group. The other 50% (also 50,000) has a denominator of 1,340,000. That is 3.73% of the unvaccinated group. You can see how these statistics tell a dramatically different story when placed in context – this isn’t an ‘equal’ statistic. The most important data, however, is the data concerning hospitalisation and death. The vaccine significantly reduces your chance of severe infection, hospitalisation, ICU admission, and death.

The people who are dying and in hospital from CoVid-19 are vaccinated.

Incorrect. This is misinformation spread through viral videos which show ‘bloopers’ or slip-ups during Victorian press conferences, which were later addressed and rectified.

Big Pharma wants to take your money!

Yes, they do, just like any business. But the medical industry would make more money off you NOT having the vaccine. Your hospital bills and treatment would make them more money. Let’s also keep in mind that the government is currently freely providing this vaccine.

Will we need booster shots every year?

It’s not uncommon to need booster shots for ongoing immunity. Vaccines such as tetanus require a booster every ten years. We also have three doses of vaccines such as hepatitis and the human papillomavirus (HPV). Scientists are hopeful that only two or possibly three (which we call a ‘booster shot’) doses provide long-term immunity for CoVid-19.

Won’t the booster shots damage my immune system?

No. Your immune system is combating foreign bodies it encounters every day. It is a great and robust defence mechanism. We may need a ‘new’ vaccine if mutations of CoVid-19 begin to arise, which are no longer covered by the immune response triggered by the current vaccines. We see this occur with the yearly flu vaccine. At this stage, the current vaccines protect against all of the CoVid-19 variants pretty effectively. We need to keep in mind that this pandemic is not static, and science needs to pivot as the CoVid-19 situation evolves.

If I have already had CoVid-19 why would I need the vaccine? Don’t I already have antibodies?

It’s suggested that some countries and cities internationally have accepted proof of ‘recent’ CoVid-19 infection as the same status as ‘vaccination’. While it is true that a recent CoVid-19 infection produces antibodies, recent studies have shown that an additional follow up vaccine produces an even stronger and longer-lasting immune response. We need to keep in mind that each person’s immune system is complex, and not everyone will have the same immune response. Current data suggest that vaccines are the most consistent form of immunity.

Reputable people to follow on online platforms:

It can be confusing as to where to get quick and easy access to reliable information online. Below I have suggested a few reputable sources and people you can follow and engage with online.

The ABC do a daily ‘CoronaCast’ 10min update where the presenters talk about the latest scientific developments, citing peer-reviewed journal articles and the most up to date and reliable information.

TikTok: Although this platform can be unhelpful in many ways, the following people are quick to debunk misinformation and viral videos when they arise:

  • @scitimewithtracy (Dr Tracy has a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology). Tracy has some excellent links and peer-reviewed journal articles listed in her
  • Dr Kat Wallace Epidemiologist
  • Dr Sara Marzouk on Facebook

Disclaimer: This blog doesn’t provide medical advice. I recommend talking to your trusted GP. The science around CoVid-19 moves fast. All of the information was up to date at the time of writing.

Helpful Resources

A short online course from Johns Hopkins University will take you through the overview of the CoVid-19 Pandemic including information on the medical therapies, vaccines in development, epidemiology and the spread of CoVid-19.

More information on the efficacy and effectiveness of the vaccines.

Below are the fact sheets for each of the available vaccines in Australia:

Comirnaty (Pfizer)

Vaxzevira (AstraZeneca)

Spikevax (Moderna)

[1] She has a Bachelor of Science from Monash University (double major in Immunology/Molecular and Microbiology and a minor in Genetics). She does not currently work in this field.


A couple of weeks ago, I posted the following on my Facebook page:

I’d like to gauge how people are feeling about the possible use of Vaccine certificates for entry into certain places and venues as we begin to open up from lockdown restrictions. Select the number below that most accurately expresses how you resonate with the following statement…

“As we move into the next phase of living with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, proof of vaccination is very important to keep people as safe as possible from the COVID-19 illness this virus causes.”

    • Strongly agree
    • Agree
    • Disagree
    • Strongly disagree
    • Unsure
    • Don’t care

You may include ONE sentence of explanation if you feel it’s necessary. But please, no commentary, no arguments, and NO links to videos or articles. The post received almost 400 comments. Most people followed the rules. Some people can’t help themselves. Here are the results (Response numbers in brackets):

    • Strongly agree (122)
    • Agree (54)
    • Disagree (15)
    • Strongly disagree (88)
    • Unsure (14)
    • Don’t care (3)

Worth Noting

Several things stand out from these responses. Firstly, vaccine passports are an extremely divisive issue. The overwhelming majority of people are in favour of some proof of vaccination. Most people with medical training voted number 1.

Also, I don’t assume that everyone who is against proof of vaccination is anti-vax. I acknowledge those of you who are not yet vaccinated or are vaccine-hesitant. Some people are pro-vaccination but have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines. Others have trypanophobia, a fear of needles. I reference anti-vaxxers once in this blog. In that comment I mean people who are completely against all vaccines in every circumstance.

This blog is not about ridiculing anyone. I respect where you’re at right now and affirm your freedom of choice. For Christians, let our unity and love for one another focus on Jesus and not our opinion of the pandemic, politics, or vaccines.

Where I Stand

I resonate most strongly with number 2. As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, living with COVID-19, I believe it will be vital to have some proof of vaccination for entry into any place where a crowd will gather. The thought behind electing “2” rather than “1” is my concern around implementation and a divided community. Governments must not be heavy-handed in the execution of this, and as much personal liberty as possible must be preserved except where it impinges on the right of others to be safe. Business owners, and church leaders, should not be made to be security guards. And any vaccine passport should be implemented for the shortest time necessary.

Ultimately, my concern is for people and especially the most vulnerable in the community. I believe everyone who wants to be vaccinated should have that opportunity BEFORE we fully open up. A medical exemption for those who cannot be vaccinated has already been referred to medical experts to facilitate. I’m also hoping that a negative PCR test, or proof of recovery from COVID-19, will be an option for those who are not yet vaccinated, whatever their reason may be. Privacy of personal information must also be a high priority.

Paul’s words to the Philippian church should ring loud in our hearts, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:3-5). I encourage you to use these verses as your filter and guide.

There’s no doubt that the next few months will be the most challenging of the pandemic. In one sense, it’s easy to shut things down. Opening up, well, that’s much more problematic. Striking a balance between bringing life back to normal, whatever that looks like, and keeping people as safe as possible, is no mean feat. Please be prayerful for our State and Federal government leaders at this time. They all need great wisdom.

Vaccination Passports are Not New

By definition, a vaccine passport is quite literally just an immunisation record — a document that notes whether someone is protected against a particular disease.

In 2007, I was teaching at a pastors’ conference in Uganda. Afterwards, I flew back to Jo’burg. Arriving at the airport, I realised I’d left my vaccine certificate in the desk drawer of my home office. I did my very best to explain this at customs. The person I spoke with was kind, understanding, and insistent. I had three choices:

    • Stay on the wrong side of the airport
    • Fly back to Uganda
    • Have the Yellow Fever jab

Even though I was fully vaccinated, I had no proof. So, I rolled up my sleeve and had another one, after which I was given my vaccine passport and allowed entry to South Africa.

Before 1973, travellers had to carry an International Certificate of Cholera Vaccination. Until May 8, 1980, travellers needed proof of smallpox vaccination. No jab, no travel. One person who commented on my post said, “when I travelled overseas to the [Middle East], 40years ago, we had to carry proof we were vaccinated against cholera, typhoid, smallpox, polio, etc. No one thought their rights were being violated back then.”

From 1 January 2018, Children who have not been immunised due to their parent’s vaccine conscientious objection cannot be enrolled in childcare.

A Little History

An Italian health pass (fede di sanità) for travel during times of plague, 1722

In Bible times, people with leprosy had to show themselves ‘clean’ before re-entering the community and restart everyday living. Until then, they’d shout out “unclean” to warn people nearby to keep their distance.

With the advent of the first vaccine in 1796, it wasn’t long until some proof of vaccination was required. The initial evidence was the scar left on the arm of people who had the smallpox inoculation. During the smallpox epidemic in the United States (1885), the hardest-hit states made vaccination compulsory with “official certificates of vaccination” required for people to “go to work, attend public school, ride trains or even go to the theatre.”

The need for vaccine passports increased with the arrival of air travel because of how much faster local smallpox outbreaks could occur. So, before people could board planes, they had to undergo vaccine certificate checks “with forcible isolation at airports of any passengers considered to have dubious documentation.”

Some Americans resisted these public health measures. The predecessors of today’s anti-vaxxers questioned the vaccine’s effectiveness or falsely claimed that it caused smallpox or other side effects. One writer dramatically claimed in 1923 that “A scar from forced vaccination is a brand, a mark of medical tyranny and despotism.” Some preachers regarded a vaccination scar as the “mark of the beast” referenced in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. It seems little has changed!

What About Freedom?

Much of the current narrative revolves around freedom, and I agree, human free will is an incredible gift from God. But freedom doesn’t mean that we can do as we choose in every instance. Just ask Adam & Eve! There are real-life consequences for the choices we make.

We already accept various requirements in numerous situations. There are compulsory requirements, such as voting or wearing seat belts, and conditional requirements. For example, if you want to go on a mine site, you have to wear a hard hat and a high vis jacket. In other words, if you’re going to do (A), then here’s the minimum you need to do (B). It has nothing to do with personal beliefs. You could say that “Jesus is my protection” and “I’m shielded by Psalm 91.” You can believe anything you want, but you still need to wear a hard hat!

In a global pandemic, the exercise of your freedom NOT to be vaccinated will activate the liberty of others NOT to admit you, NOT to permit you to fly, NOT to allow you to work near others. All of this is because OTHER people have freedom too. Freedom to choose belongs to all, as does the responsibility to face the outcomes of your free choices.

No one is being “compelled” to be vaccinated. It is “optional but conditional.” You can choose not to vaccinate but then face the consequences of how others react to your choice. Participation in certain activities is forfeited for a short period as the community adjusts to living with SARS-CoV-2, just like a visa is denied unless specific requirements are met. It’s called “considerate regulation to minimize risk.”

Living with COVID-19

Society needs to open up as safely as possible. That will include a season, maybe six months, where proof of vaccination is required for entrance into cinemas, swimming pools, museums, spas, indoor restaurant dining, theatres, pubs, clubs, and sporting venues. Tourism and travel need to reopen too. Being stuck in lockdown has taken an enormous toll on these industries, not to mention the impact of restrictions on people’s mental health. We cannot stay locked down forever, but we must open up carefully.

Even if Australia doesn’t introduce vaccine passports or the equivalent, it appears highly likely that Aussies will be impacted as they travel. For example, France bans unvaccinated U.S. tourists. The European country is the latest to tighten restrictions for American travellers. Israel has followed suit. The bottom line? If you want to travel, you’ll need to be vaccinated and be able to prove it.

Medical Apartheid?

Several people mentioned their concern about an ‘us versus them’ society. I find it interesting that it is Christian people saying this. The whole premise of evangelicalism is a separation of ‘us’ and them,’ ‘in’ and ‘out,’ and ‘saved’ and ‘lost.’ John Calvin, in his Institutes divides the human race into “the elect” (chosen) and “the reprobate” (damned).

The Bible speaks of sheep and goats, wheat and weeds, and the book of life and those scratched out. But we feel concerned when it’s us who are excluded! No one likes to be left out.

The term “Medical Apartheid” is highly offensive, especially to people who lived through and were impacted by apartheid in South Africa. The book Medical Apartheid “traces the complex history of medical experimentation on Black Americans in the United States since the middle of the eighteenth century.”  Comparing these atrocities to the public health measures during the current pandemic is highly offensive.

What About Church?

Firstly, if you are part of Bayside Church, Christie and I will communicate privately with you via email. We are still sifting through the detail, but here’s what we know so far:

70% fully vaccinated (26/10): Outdoor gatherings with 50 fully vaccinated people (or 20 of unknown vaccination status).

80% fully vaccinated (5/11): Indoor meetings with 150 fully vaccinated people (or 20 of unknown vaccination status outdoors)

When the Services Victoria app is updated, it will contain your vaccination info when you sign in with the QR code.

I’ve asked our Bayside Church COVID Safe Team to follow up on two questions:

    • What about people who have recovered from COVID and carry natural immunity? Antibodies stay for at least 6-8 months, which provide protective measures against reinfection.
    • Is there any provision for people to prove they are negative 48 hours from receiving a COVID test? Can they be allowed at a gathering?

Rest assured, Christie and I, and the leaders and pastors of Bayside Church will do all we can to protect and accommodate everyone in our church community. I would expect nothing less from any other church.

Concluding Thoughts

The main issue, as we begin to open up, is to prevent hospitals from becoming overloaded. Vaccinations will reduce the number of people in hospitals. If only vaccinated people could gather in large groups, then hopefully, an outbreak in this group would be less severe. But we need to ensure life is possible for everyone. People who are recovering from COVID can’t get vaccinated, and some people react to the vaccine, so the answer is not simple.

I believe Denmark sets a fine example. Vaccine passports have allowed the Danish people to live a semi-normal life until 80% of 12+ people were vaccinated. Having arrived at that point, they have discarded the passports altogether.

Armed with their pass, people could get a haircut, have a drink with friends or attend a cultural event. “It was getting one’s freedom back instead of having to sit at home in isolation.”

Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said, “the epidemic is under control” but warned: “We are not out of the epidemic,” and the government will act as needed if necessary. A majority in the age group of 50+ had the two shots. The face mask is still mandatory at airports, and people are advised to wear one at the doctor’s, test centres, or hospitals. Physical distancing applies, as do strict entry restrictions for non-Danes at the borders. The outbreak is “an ordinary dangerous illness.”

In Australia, Proof of Vaccination is an interim measure to be utilised as a tool to assist the country in reopening as safely as possible. Once that is achieved, the vaccine passports (or whatever they’re called) will no longer be necessary. SARS-CoV-2 will be endemic in society, and we will need to live with it.

In the meantime, let’s be kind to one another so that our friendships endure longer than the pandemic!

Last week, I put the following post on my Facebook page:

With the Australian rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine to begin in early March, I want to gauge how people think about this. And so, are you…

  • Going to be rolling up your sleeve and getting the jab ASAP.
  • Still feeling a bit reticent because of the speed of producing the vaccine, but probably going to get it.
  • Very concerned and unlikely to get the jab for a few months until you’re sure it’s safe.
  • Anti-vaccine, so I will never get it.

I then asked people to post a number that reflects them in the thread. I begged people not to post anti-vaccine videos or articles and “don’t turn this into an argument about vaccines or abortion, PLEASE.” Most people posted respectfully. A few people can’t help themselves!

The results were as follows:

Number 1 – 77

Number 2 – 35

Number 3 – 42

Number 4 – 16

While the overwhelming first choice is “I’m going to be rolling up my sleeve and getting the jab ASAP,” over 50% of people are reticent, very concerned, or unlikely to get it.

Where I Sit

I am in the number one camp. I work closely with a lot of people and currently have Christie’s elderly parents living with us. So, my family and I need to keep ourselves and others as safe as possible.

I will attempt to address several statements and questions in the Facebook thread in the rest of this blog. I’ve consulted with a medical professional who has a BSc in Immunology and microbiology from Monash University and they have helped guide my answers.

Why are we using a vaccine that is only 60% effective?

The question infers Australia will roll out an inferior vaccine that is 60% effective rather than the other ones that are 95% effective? I’ve noticed this comment a few times on Twitter recently, and it’s not accurate.

All of the vaccines Australia has signed up for (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Pfizer/BioNTech) are over 90% effective. Some are approximately 70% effective after the first jab and a follow-up one is needed a few weeks later to boost effectiveness to 95%. The vaccines are only 95% effective because some people don’t get an immune response, as is the case with other vaccines (see reference).

Risks and side-effects

Several people expressed concern about adverse reactions to other vaccines. How do we know this won’t happen with the COVID-19 vaccines? What are the risks and side-effects of these vaccines?

Different vaccines contain different things. Some, for instance, may contain egg proteins, yeast, latex (vial stoppers or syringe plungers), and gelatin, which is added to many vaccines as a stabilizer and is either bovine or porcine. If you’re allergic to any of these or think you may be, speak to your GP first to determine if there’s something in the vaccine to which you could be allergic. Nurses and pharmacists who give vaccines can deal with allergic reactions, and such reactions are rare (see reference).

Many vaccines have slight side effects like fever, headache, arm soreness, redness at the injection site, and tiredness. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines than after the first dose. Such side effects are common for vaccines approved for other diseases and are a good sign because they show your body is developing an immune response. Your body is doing what God created it to do.

Of course, any medical procedure has risks, and these are often highlighted by those who are anti vaccines. Consider Pfizer/BioNTech, who conducted a 41,000-person clinical trial. One hundred seventy of these volunteers contracted COVID-19, 162 had received a placebo. Only eight people who received the vaccine became ill.

During the trial, ten people became severely ill. Nine of those people were in the placebo group, while one severely ill person was in the vaccine group. Among people 65 and older, the vaccine was more than 94 per cent effective. That’s excellent news because vaccines often are not as effective in older people. After all, immune systems tend to weaken with age (see reference).

What about the speed of production?

In my thread, several people expressed concern about the speed at which the vaccines had been produced. Understand that the base of many vaccines is similar. It’s just the protein spike that is different. For example, the Novavax one has a similar base to the yearly flu jab. In other words, it’s the same train, but we’ve just added another passenger! Also, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a tremendous amount of funding has been released to speed up research.

“The world was able to develop COVID-19 vaccines so quickly because of years of previous research on related viruses and faster ways to manufacture vaccines, enormous funding that allowed firms to run multiple trials in parallel, and regulators moving more quickly than normal” (see reference).

I’ll end this blog with a few brief answers to some other questions:

Does the vaccine alter our DNA?

No, it doesn’t. DNA lives in a cell’s nucleus and is thus protected. The mRNA in the vaccine goes nowhere near the nucleus where the DNA is. (See reference).

Have the mRNA components caused irreversible damage to some trial participants?

No, they haven’t. It’s a conspiracy theory spread by someone in Germany who claimed to be a naturopath.

Who should get vaccinated?

Everyone, as long as you don’t have any underlying health conditions or allergies that prevent you from safely being vaccinated. It’s important to talk with your GP.

Where should people get their information?

The Internet is an incredible and horrible tool. It allows us to communicate better than ever, but it is also a cesspool of false information that can lead people astray. We’ve witnessed this in a whole new way during the pandemic with the spread of ridiculous conspiracy theories. So, get your information from credible sources ~ highly qualified Immunologists (Ph.D.), experts in their field, and peer-reviewed journal articles. Please note, watching a YouTube clip is not research. And check people out to make sure they are qualified.

Mims’ Medical Microbiology and Immunology (6th edition) is the textbook used by Monash University on this subject and can be ordered online.

I’ll get the vaccine if God tells me to!

The likelihood of God telling you to get a COVID-19 vaccine is relatively remote. I’ve found that God usually saves audible utterances for events of some magnitude. He’s a deity of few words! For everything else, God gives “a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). A sound mind = sanctified common sense. Does it make sense amid a global pandemic where millions are getting sick, and almost two million people have died, for people to be vaccinated against said virus? It’s a “yes” from me!

Like the Spanish Flu (H1N1 Influenza Virus) of a century ago, the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually end. But we will need to learn to live with this virus for a long time to come. Vaccination will be one way to bring it to an end and, hopefully, we’ve all learned lessons in hygiene that will stand us in good stead as we continue to live in God’s beautiful yet fallen world. Let us do everything we can to love our neighbour as ourselves as we live through these turbulent times.