First and foremost, I would like to say that my reason for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine is due to a long list of reasons rather than one or two things, although my medical history and personal Christian values do play a large part.I believe the choice to get this vaccine, or any other medical procedure, should always be with the person whose body it is entering. I also believe no judgment of right or wrong should be attached to a single decision when it comes to a medical choice.
My main reason for not wanting this vaccine is because of my own personal medical history. I’m 37 and have been diagnosed with four medical conditions in the past 11 years — two are autoimmune and two are neurological.
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 27 after I had been dealing with debilitating shoulder pain for approximately two years. I have birthed two children without pain medication and the pain I experienced from the fibromyalgia was comparable.
I’m also a celiac, have an autoimmune thyroid disorder and found out last month that I have high-functioning autism. As a neurological disorder, autism shares a comorbidity with fibromyalgia and celiac disease. In short, I am an extremely sensitive person inside and out.
Due to my medical conditions, I can’t take most pharmaceuticals because they contain ingredients that I can’t ingest. I must be hypervigilant about what goes into my body if I want to function and maintain a positive attitude in life. Having a sensitive neurological and immune system puts me at a much greater risk for complications from this vaccine.
I understand abortion is a controversial topic, but with my Christian values, I personally do not wish to condone the use of aborted fetal cell lines being used at some point in the creation of the vaccines. Johnson & Johnson used fetal cells to create their vaccine, while Pfizer and Moderna used fetal cell lines to test the effectiveness and safety of their vaccines. This reason, and other, smaller reasons, are why I am confident in claiming a religious exemption.
Our government has a Vaccine Adverse Event Report System (VAERS) and there are hundreds of thousands of reports from people (both patients and doctors reporting) who experienced a reaction from the vaccine.
Up to 6% of these reports in the US in 2021 — around 33,000 — included a hospitalization that may or may not have been linked to the vaccine. Many of them are neurological. Those numbers do not convince me that “it’s safe” for everyone. It may be safe for a majority, but let’s not forget the minority — no matter how small.
Our government also gave the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers complete legal immunity in February 2020. Can you think of a business or product that has complete legal immunity? This fact just makes me scratch my head.
Is it at all possible that Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna might not have our complete safety at the top of their list when making this pharmaceutical — especially when this is a for-profit pharmaceutical?
I also want to encourage everyone to entertain the possibility that science might not always be right and is instead a body of knowledge that is continually evolving.
We are still early in understanding this disease and even earlier in the manufacturing of this biologic tool and understanding all its possible effects. Let’s not forget that this vaccine only recently received full approval from the FDA. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson still fall in the emergency-approved and experimental phase.
It is for all these reasons that I exercise my right to bodily autonomy and choose against receiving this vaccine. This is a choice that I believe each person should have the right to make without judgment or public knowledge. Where there is risk, there must be choice.
The Record staff stands behind both of the opinion pieces published today. We firmly believe that our campus is better served by engaging diverse perspectives from across campus; one of the best ways to resolve differences and come closer as a community is first to listen. We encourage readers to approach these with an open mind and heart. Both guest writers come with their open, honest opinions. At The Record, we respect and commend their desire to make a public, accountable statement, and welcome others to do so as well.