As the vaccination discussion goes back and forth between Christians across Australia, key opinion leaders begin to weigh in, often rushing to draw false conclusions and assert authority on un-decided “science”.
For example, this week Dr Megan Best, in Australia’s Gospel Coalition, shared the following:
“Therefore it is important to know how vaccination impacts transmission of the virus. In fact, vaccinated people are much less likely to pass on the virus: double vaccination reduces the chance of onward virus transmission by 40-60%. The reason for reduced onward transmission is that there is significantly less virus detectable in vaccinated people. In summary, vaccination protects not only yourself, but those around you.”COVID Vaccination and The Church – The Gospel Coalition: Australia
The truly disappointing thing about this article (apart from the various strawmen built around the theological basis of physical worship) was the seemingly blatant disregard for honesty.
Dr Best, chose to quote the study, “Levine-Tiefenbrun M, et al. (2021). ‘Initial report of decreased SARS-CoV-2 viral load after inoculation with the BNT162b2 vaccine.’”
The choice of this study (and others) was because it demonstrated a reduction in viral load in vaccinated people, which Dr Best concluded, “protects those around you.”
What the doctor did not inform her readers, however, was that these studies were short-term studies (0-21 days or 0-2 months) that have since been replaced with much more thorough pieces of work.
It is the latest in the disinformation war being fueled by so-called academics that should know better.
Incredulously, at the time of writing her article, the very people she quoted had already released a follow-up pre-print, where they clearly stated:
“However, this viral-load effectiveness declines with time post vaccination, significantly decreasing already after 3 months and effectively vanishing after about six months.”Viral loads of Delta-variant SARS-CoV2 breakthrough infections following vaccination and booster with the BNT162b2 vaccine – medRxiv
It seems given the nature of her credentials, and the fact that people may be using this advice when visiting a sick or elderly relative, the least the doctor could have done is a quick Google search for any updates.
What if a vaccinated person thought they were not at risk of sharing COVID with a relative based on such bold statements of expert advice, only to find out later the information is only valid for three months after vaccination?
What if in trusting her, a reputable doctor in the Sydney Anglican scene, they put vulnerable family members at risk, not knowing that all the studies used are outdated?
So the average Christian must be left wondering, was this merely an accident? Or is this a willful attempt to pressure people and the church into making decisions with only part of the information they may want or need?
We can understand when the world plays these games – but now should we expect it of Christians too?