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Bible Q

Should Christians take part in vaccinations?

This is a question on which the Bible does not have specific instruction since vaccination was unknown until Edward Jenner 1796 made the first inoculation with the harmless cowpox virus, granting immunity to smallpox, leading in 1798 to the first actual vaccine – against smallpox. The enormous benefits to individuals and society as whole from Jenner’s innovation now extend to many vaccines which prevent a range of diseases.

But this is a question to which the principles in the Bible about individual health, public health, love for one’s neighbour, and personal responsibility all point very clearly to one answer: Yes. The Christian should take a full responsible part in protecting the health of the society in which they live.

The principle of sacrificing some individual freedom for the health of society is already found in the Old Testament where quarantine is used to prevent communicable diseases, particularly in Leviticus 13 and 14. The same sense of community informs the choice of a parent to take part in child vaccinations today. Again the Old Testament guidance is directly applicable to suppression of epidemics by participation in national vaccination programmes as they follow the same principle of community health.

In conclusion:

“Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.” (Romans 13:10 NIV

To actually assist a virus by making oneself a potential carrier to harm others is the total opposite of this command. So the Bible’s overarching teaching about protecting and not harming makes this one of the easiest Bible questions to answer: Yes.


1. An article addressed to US Christian audience about corona vaccines : 5 reasons Christians should get the COVID-19 vaccine by Deborah Haarsma, Biologos, 19 February 2021

2. An academic study detailing the damage done to their own and local neighbours health by anti-vaxxer Christian groups in Holland’s ‘Bible belt’:

In the Netherlands the national vaccination program started in 1957. Despite a high vaccination coverage, in the last two decades there have been epidemics of poliomyelitis (1992-1993), measles (1999-2000), rubella (2004-2005) and mumps (2007-2008) [1–4]. These epidemics were all largely confined to an area stretching from the south-west to the north-east of the country, the so-called Bible belt, where -among others- orthodox protestant groups are living. Almost all patients in these epidemics belonged to the orthodox protestant minority and were unvaccinated because of religious objections.

Religious subgroups influencing vaccination coverage in the Dutch Bible belt: an ecological study. Ruijs et al. BMC Public Health 14 February 2011

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