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.
Science seeks truth in the natural world through observation and experimentation. Scientists are driven by curiosity, which encourages inventive thought, leading them to discover how nature works. Science is a tool to penetrate into the unknown physical world, which at first might seem incomprehensible. However, scientists know that within this perceived obscurity lies a perfected beauty, comprised of meaningful patterns waiting to be discovered. An example of this being, the brain, which remains largely unknown, is an exquisite universe of intricate, structural, nonrandom patterns, with functional implications for survival. Scientists make the assumption that nature is intelligible, bringing discovery of the unknown physical world to light. This supposition made by scientists is an ancient idea of the Church that has Scriptural resonance: “For as rain comes down, or snow from heaven, and does not return until it saturates the earth, and it brings forth and produces, and gives seed to the sower and bread for food” (Isaiah 55:10).
The Orthodox Church and scientific knowledge typically parallel each other. In the event that a reconciliation appears unreachable between the Church and science, it signals that it is time to reconsider past traditions in light of current scientific evidence. Science cannot in any way dictate Orthodox theology, but rather provides a contribution to the theological aspects of the Church and to society in general.