“Who is my neighbor?” This question, posed coyly by a slick lawyer looking for an easy answer, is most poetically answered by Christ in his parable of the Good Samaritan. The story involves a man who is robbed, beaten, and left for dead by the side of the road. Many supposed noblemen pass by and offer no help, while a foreign stranger of an offbeat faith comes to the man’s aid with great compassion and becomes the silent hero of the day. The Good Samaritan was insightful in its Biblical time, but I also find the story to be most relevant now in our post-pandemic world.
It has been over a year now since I began working on a tribute art piece honoring lives lost in the Houston, Texas area due to Covid-19. I’ve combed through obituaries, news articles, TV programs, and have spent literally thousands of hours trying to place a name and a face to the over 7,000 deaths that have occurred just in and around my own city. So many stories have come out of this project—the loneliness, isolation, separation of families, the inability to properly grieve and bury loved ones, the mental strain—so much sadness.
As more Covid-19 vaccines begin to be made available to the public, Orthodox Christians are asking important questions regarding vaccine safety, efficacy, the differences between the various vaccine technologies and/or which vaccine they should receive.
In a document published by the Orthodox Theological Society in America (OTSA), Drs. Hermina Nedelescu, Catherine Creticos, and Gayle Woloschak provide answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Covid-19 vaccines, including how they are made and how they work to prepare the immune system to fight the virus. The goal of the document is to provide bio-medically accurate and timely information.
Vaccination against Covid-19 has become an urgent priority because vaccinating a significant portion of the population as quickly as possible will (1) save lives, (2) reduce illness, and (3) potentially help stop the spread of the virus.
The authors of this document hope that by providing accurate and up-to-date information about Covid-19 vaccines, Orthodox Christians will be able to make informed decisions regarding vaccine options for themselves.