COVID-19 has been with us for more than a year, and we have seen and witnessed firsthand its effects. In our family’s case, my wife has lost an aunt and uncle, and has had several friends who have been impacted severely with what is called “long-haul COVID”.
There have been reports locally and abroad of people who have died. It is a global challenge, and the challenge seems to be persisting even while vaccines are being rolled out at a breakneck pace. Vaccines have come to the fore as the world searches for solutions in the absence of a natural or medicinal cure. Historically, vaccines have quelled previous pandemics and have been used to severely diminish or eradicate a number of diseases including smallpox, measles, polio and rubella.
The principle of vaccines has widespread scientific acceptance, but in recent times questions have arisen about possible negative effects some may have, and whether vaccinations are being used for nefarious purposes. Some parties have become suspicious of vaccines and are actively counseling against accepting vaccinations.
The principle of vaccines is a very sound health principle to introduce a weakened form of the virus not capable of causing sickness into the body, which generates an immune response causing the body to fight off and neutralize the virus when encountered in the future.
Vaccines essentially stimulate the body into fighting life-threatening pathogens. The immune system does the work as God designed it to.
When vaccines are effective, they stop virus spread because herd immunity is achieved – meaning the vast majority of the population is immune and will not get sick if they encounter the virus, thereby stopping the chain of community spread. I had the opportunity to study the immune system and vaccines extensively and have done a few videos explaining what I learnt; the videos are available on my YouTube channel (Dave Burrows) and I highly recommend for those people seeking more information on the subject.
The overriding hope of the COVID-19 vaccine is that it will cause herd immunity and allow for a return to normal life. With this objective in mind, in this column, I address the current vaccines, possible benefits, possible risks and side effects and surrounding issues.
My goal is not to make choices or recommendations but to provide information and let each person prayerfully consider the options and make their own decision.
I will also seek to answer both medical, scientific and spiritual questions from a kingdom perspective.
There are several vaccines in development or distribution using different technologies that differ from traditional vaccines, most prominently what is referred to as mRNA or Messenger RNA technology.
Traditional vaccines use a weakened form of live viruses or particles from live viruses, while mRNA technology uses synthetic proteins to essentially trick the body into producing an immune response by mimicking the virus, in particular the spike protein that allows the virus to attach itself to cells.
Traditional vaccines use a live virus. New technologies do not necessarily use the virus itself but use RNA technology to accomplish the same purpose. RNA use in the medical world is a fairly recent development and there are many questions surrounding possible solutions to many diseases and questions about what this new technology means scientifically and morally. At this moment, there are more questions than answers but what is known shows potential benefit. It appears from clinical trials that mRNA vaccines are highly effective and easier to produce.
There is some skepticism among minorities, particularly Black people, who have been the victims of abuse and detrimental experimentation in the past such as what is known as the Tuskegee experiment, where Black people were unknowingly infected with syphilis to study its affects. Suspicion in this case is understandable because of what has happened not only in the United States but in Africa and other parts of the world.
Others have become suspicious of a global agenda to control the population or introduce what is referred to as the mark of the beast, or technology to control behavior and manipulate humans based upon a nefarious purpose and agenda. Whether there is merit or not to these postulations, the suspicion exists and does have an impact on whether persons subscribe to the vaccine or not.
In addition to these, there is a natural suspicion of large corporations and in this case, what is referred to as big Pharma (pharmaceutical companies). There is profit involved in the manufacture, distribution and sales of vaccines, so there is a natural suspicion that some companies would pursue profit over safety. We know that there are billions of dollars involved, so the profit motive exists as companies are businesses with shareholders who expect a return. Pfizer is said to have generated $15 billion in sales since the launch of its vaccine. Moderna is projected to generate over $18 billion.
Against this backdrop, I will seek to provide information and answers that will help each of you to make an informed decision.
I will address 10 issues and provide information for you to make your choice.
Which vaccines are available? Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik (Russia) and the Chinese versions.
What has been the real-world experience since the vaccines have been introduced? Israel is the leader in the world with vaccinations and according to their data, the vaccines have produced a significant reduction in cases, deaths and community spread. The vaccines have a 99 percent rate of prevention of severe illness and death and a 95 percent overall efficacy. Data is emerging from other countries, but this is what Israel has reported. Recently, there has been concern about blood clotting with the AstraZeneca vaccine but to date, there has not been a verified established link. Studies are ongoing.
What have been the side effects So far, according to reports, the vaccines have generated side effects such as fever, chills, headaches, fatigue and in some cases Bell’s palsy – a temporary facial paralysis (although this is alleged to be very rare). Allergic reactions have also been experienced in some people and people with certain allergies are advised not to take the vaccines. The blood clotting link is being studied at the moment.
The mark of the beast. This association seems to be far-fetched because according to scripture, the mark of the best will not be a secret and it will be placed on the right hand and forehead and its presence will be known. No one will be allowed to buy or sell without it. Here is the scripture in the Book of Revelation that explains the mark of the beast. “The beast from the earth: Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” – Revelation 13
Is there a risk of future side effects or DNA programming (genetic modification that can be used for nefarious purposes)? It is unknown at this point but the scientific community in general is stating that mRNA does not impact DNA. Some medical professionals and scientists have expressed reservation about this new technology. The choice to be made at the moment is whether the unknown future risks outweigh the current risk of death.
Should younger people take the vaccine seeing that the death rate is below one percent (in that group)? While the death rate is very low among young people, there is still some risk to young people, and no one knows for sure who will be adversely impacted and who will not be. The mortality rate overall is low but as age rises, the mortality rate is alleged to be as high as 10 to 15 percent in the 70 to 90 age bracket (highest with persons who have comorbidities). Possible death versus future side effects or susceptibility to nefarious genetic manipulation is a tradeoff that each person has to consider based upon their convictions.
How long does the COVID-19 vaccination last? Some vaccinations offer lifetime protection while others require what is called “booster” shots. It is too early to tell how long the COVID-19 vaccinations will last but recent projections have indicated that there may be a need for annual “booster” shots.
Will vaccination be forced on populations or required for travel or certain occupations?: Vaccination policies vary from country to country, but most western countries do not require citizens to take the vaccine. There have been reports of considerations of a vaccine “passport” for travel, but to date no airline or country has required it. There is a possibility that certain professions may require vaccines but there does not seem to be a requirement in place in most countries. Israel is the first country to implement a vaccine “passport”, which limits travel and access to a number of venues without this “passport”.
What impact do mutations and variants have on vaccines? Current scientific information indicates that some vaccines are less effective against new strains, which may require modifications to the vaccines to address the variants. It appears that vaccines may have to evolve with the virus.
What are some of the negative reactions to the vaccine shots? According to ABC health Australia, one in 100 persons will get more severe side effects after the second dose such as nausea, poor appetite and gastric upset.
Decision. Each person should do individual research. Speak with people you trust from a medical, scientific and spiritual perspective and come to your own decision. What I have done is presented information garnered from reliable medical and scientific sources (such as CDC, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic) to put you in a better position to make your decision. The choice is yours.
Whatever decision you make regarding the vaccine, there are some things within your control that you can do to ensure that your immune system is healthier. The Bible admonishes us to use the plants and leaves for both food and medicine. Eat whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables. Stay away from processed, fried and fatty foods, and refined sugar. Use as many natural and organic products as possible. Exercise regularly. Get sunshine and fresh air. Drink water and make sure your body gets rest and as little stress as possible. I would highly recommend that you get a copy of my book, “What God Wants You to Know About Health & Food” and watch the videos of the same name and the immunity videos on the Dave Burrows YouTube channel. The eBook is available on Amazon.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.