A doctor who experienced immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) after receiving several vaccinations for a mission trip says that he supports immunizations despite the risks. Matthew Loftus, a family doctor in Baltimore, said that Christians especially should opt for vaccines.
In an article published in Christianity Today, Loftus wrote, “I know the risks of vaccines quite intimately. Even so, I continue to take vaccinations, I ensure that my children get them, and I recommend them to all my patients… Like all parents—including, of course, those who refuse vaccines—I want what’s best for my children. As I have thought about my own story and studied vaccines, I’ve grown confident in this: The benefits of vaccines are far too great for us to refuse, and the risk of refusing them extends far beyond our own families. This is not just a medical issue, but an issue that touches on our faith and our public witness.”
Vaccinating against measles, mumps and rubella is effective and has led to a decrease in the diseases worldwide, according to the doctor. Though some people experience side effects, Loftus argues that the benefits of immunizing children far outweighs the risks.
“The scientific evidence overwhelmingly suggests that vaccines carry a high chance of benefiting us and an incredibly low chance of harming us. The more effective a health intervention is in saving lives, the more morally responsible it is for a community to promote it,” Loftus writes.
Vaccinations are a way for Christians to take care of their communities Loftus says, thus promoting stewardship.
He says, “...health means stewarding all the resources God has given us to bring about human flourishing and full image-bearing among our families and neighbors. Preventing the most deaths for the lowest cost with the simplest interventions is a core part of stewardship.”
“We can celebrate that God has mercifully given us insight into how the human body and the diseases that ravage it work; because of his mercy, we can exercise dominion over the natural evils of disease.”
Publication date: May 6, 2015