An Argument for Why Christians Should Get the Covid-19 Vaccine
Note: I wrote this last fall, but just got around to posting.
In this post, I will argue that Christians should get the Covid-19 vaccine. Before we get to the argument, allow me to clarify: By "Christians" I'm referring to any believer in Christ who has not experienced a severe or immediate allergic reaction (as the CDC defines those terms here) to one or more of the ingredients (Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson or Moderna) in the Covid-19 vaccines. About 1% of the population has experienced a severe or immediate allergic reaction to one or more of the ingredients in the Covid-19 vaccines. Additionally, I'm excluding Christians who have been instructed by their doctor not to get the vaccine. Doctors are receiving the vaccine at the rate of 95%, so I'll assume that a slightly lower percentage--to account for possible allergies or other health issues in their patients--are recommending the vaccine to their patients. Let's call it 10% to be on the safe side. Therefore, the following argument will apply to about 89% of Christians.
One more caveat: I'm not trying to coerce or manipulate anyone into receiving the vaccine. Consider my argument, think through your own reasons for waiting, pray about it, talk to someone (I would be happy to be this person), and then make a decision.
1) Jesus commands Christians to love our neighbors (Matt. 22-36-40).
2) Loving our neighbors can require personal cost (e.g. the Good Samaritan).
4) Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is a way of loving our neighbors.
5) Either the Covid-19 vaccine involves slight personal cost or the Covid-19 vaccine involves great personal cost.
6) If the Covid-19 vaccine involves slight personal cost, then Christians should get the Covid-19 vaccine. (From 1, 2, & 4).
7) If the Covid-19 vaccine involves great personal cost, then Christians should get the Covid-19 vaccine. (From 1, 2, 3, & 4).
8) Therefore, either Christians should get the Covid-19 vaccine or Christians should get the Covid-19 vaccine. (From 5, 6, & 7 by Constructive Dilemma).
9) Therefore, Christians should get the Covid-19 vaccine. (From 8 by Disjunction Elimination).
Premise 4 and Premise 7 are the weakest points of the argument, so allow me to say a bit more about those.
Concerning 4: assume that the vaccine included no risk to yourself. Do you think it would be loving of you to receive it? Reasons here could vary. You might think that the vaccine will minimize your own chance of contracting the virus, and consequently minimize your chance of spreading it to someone else (which would be bad for them). If you think it would be loving in this scenario, then you should accept premise 4. (We will get to the risk bit next).
Concerning 7: You might point out that Christians shouldn't be required to do some action that is considered loving unless that action has a very good chance of actually helping our neighbors. This is especially true in cases that involve great personal cost.
You are right.
As a result, Premises 6 and 7 require some modification:
6') If the Covid-19 vaccine is highly likely to help one's neighbors AND involves slight personal cost, then Christians should get the Covid-19 vaccine.
7') If the Covid-19 vaccine is highly likely to help one's neighbors AND involves great personal cost, then Christians should get the Covid-19 vaccine.
I think that it is clear that the vaccine is highly likely to help one's neighbors, but I recognize that many of my readers will not share that view. At this point, I'm going to stay in my lane and appeal to the experts in the medical field.