As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage throughout the United States, the news of vaccinations to prevent the COVID-19 disease has been met with mixed responses. Scientists, government, and many others are excited that the vaccine was developed in record time. Others, particularly black and brown people, recall medical experiments and medical exploitation in years past, and are less enthusiastic about taking a vaccination.
For people of faith, including CMEs, the decision to take or not take the vaccine must be an informed decision. You should not let misinformation and/or a misunderstanding of the facts, lead to a decision that is not right for you.
Your College of Bishops are advocates for the COVID-19 vaccination. However, the decision to receive or not receive is a PERSONAL HEALTH DECISION.
Some have asked, what does the Bible say about vaccinations? Well, the truth is the Bible says "nothing" specific about vaccinations. In the historical context in which the Bible was written, science and biology had not advanced to the point where that concept and many other health issues were understood.
However, the Bible does offer us insight into the principles upon which we should make decisions. The principle of love is one such spiritual value that should guide us. We are reminded over and over throughout the biblical word to love God, love ourselves and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Taking the vaccination just be a way of showing love for your family, friends and neighbors. If you don't get the virus, you can't spread the virus. Love of neighbor is a obligation of our Christian faith, not an option.
Second, vaccinations are not a new thing - they have been around for years since scientists came to better understand viruses and how they operate. Most of us have taken vaccinations since we began elementary school. Measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, chicken pox and influenza vaccinations have slowed the devastating spread of those diseases, and most of us have taken those vaccinations. The anti-vaccine movement is a recent manifestation whose scientific data has yet to disprove the effectiveness of vaccinations.
Finally, some are fearful of the side effects of the vaccination. Black and brown people are disproportionately affected and are dying from COVID-19. The long-term effects of survivors are just beginning to be understood. A vaccination is the only long-term preventive measure we have against this disease. All medications have side effects that affect each person differently. No one refuses life-saving medication because of the small minority who have experienced side effects from that same medication.
The decision to receive or not receive is a PERSONAL HEALTH DECISION. Please get the facts, get the information you need, do not rely on what you hear word of mouth or from unreliable sources. Discuss your particular health condition with your doctor, think of the impact a COVID-19 disease will have on you, your family and your lifestyle. Don't procrastinate, the time is now to make this crucial decision that can determine the course of the rest of your life.
THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS OF THE CHRISTIAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Bishop Lawrence Reddick, Senior Bishop
Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr.
Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr.
Bishop Kenneth W. Carter, Chair
Bishop James B. Walker
Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr.
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Secretary
Bishop Godwin Umoette
Bishop Bobby R. Best (Deceased)
Bishop Marvin F. Thomas, Sr.
Bishop C. James King, Jr.
Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr.
Bishop E. Lynn Brown, retired (Deceased)
Bishop Ronald Cunningham, retired (Deceased)
Bishop Othal Lakey, retired
Bishop William Graves, retired (Deceased)
Bishop Marshall Gilmore, retired