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I’ve heard Christians say that COVID vaccines are “against their religion.” What do they mean? Does the Christian Reformed Church have a position?

Religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Christian Science Church oppose some or all medical treatment as part of their core teachings. But Christian teachings and virtually all denominations, including the CRC, see medical treatment as a blessing from God and a way to obey Jesus’ command to care for the sick (Our World Belongs to God, Art. 50).

Vaccines are public medical interventions that are proven to be effective. An estimated 4 million deaths worldwide are prevented by childhood vaccination every year. In making a decision about vaccination for yourself or your child, ask your doctor to explain the risks and benefits of vaccination and the risks of the disease. Vaccines are not entirely risk-free, but for most people the vaccine poses much lower risks than the disease.

Unfortunately, views on COVID-19 vaccines became highly polarized due to the contentious political environment and misinformation on social media. Some people had honest concerns about vaccines; others opposed them as a culture-war statement. Schools and hospitals with vaccination rules often allow a religious exemption, so some parents and health care workers claimed that exemption for the COVID vaccine even when their own religion didn’t teach against it.

Despite what you might have heard, vaccines do not contain cells of aborted human fetuses. Some vaccines are produced using laboratory stem cell lines (which started decades ago from a fetus that was aborted or miscarried), but no new fetuses are aborted to produce vaccines. The mRNA COVID vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer do not use stem cell lines even in production, making them an excellent choice.

COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the United States and the fourth-leading cause in Canada in 2022. Sadly, the percentage of people who die from COVID has been much higher for those who are not vaccinated. Today’s vaccines continue to reduce the risk of serious illness and death (you might still get today’s COVID variant, but you probably won’t get as sick). Vaccines also somewhat reduce the chance you’ll infect someone else, so many Christians embrace vaccines as a way to love their neighbors—especially those with weakened immune systems. Visit this article on to learn more.


Further reading:

Research and data:

States With Religious and Philosophical Exemptions From School Immunization Requirements National Conference of State Legislatures

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