BEN GREIG* lives in regional NSW and has a fear of needles. He explains why overcoming his fear was important.
I have a not-so-well-kept secret. I have a bit of a phobia of needles (trypanophobia). Even the mention of the things gives me an uncomfortable shiver down my spine. For most of my close friends and family it was a matter of if, not when, I would go get a Covid vax. Despite this, a couple of weeks ago I found myself receiving a pile of ‘distraction’ text messages from my wife as I waited in a small vaccination clinic and then explaining to the medical staff that I was completely ok with not inspecting the needle before they jabbed me.
The issue of vaccinations is taking centre stage more and more as the Delta variant sends Sydney back into the depths of lockdown. Our communities are again flooded with a mixture of fear, frustration and despair, and our government officials are pleading with us to get vaccinated.
Protecting (loving) our neighbour, and the vulnerable specifically, has become a priority at this unique time. The impact of an outbreak on Regional Australia, where I live, would be challenging. ICU infrastructure in the regions was boosted last year when the pandemic began. However, an outbreak would stretch the limited resources in some regional areas.
Let me be upfront in saying that I don’t think the government has a right to force anyone to get vaccinated. Government should be careful in anything that potentially results two discriminatory strata of citizens – the vaxxed and the unvaxxed. Having said that though, our allegiance isn’t simply to Australia but rather to Christ and His Kingdom, so at the risk of being a little corny, let’s consider WWJD (What Would Jesus Do).
Christians have a great opportunity to serve our communities in a practical way, even if the benefit to ourselves as individuals is small. I can think of a few reasons Christians should be interested in getting vaxxed:
- We help protect the vulnerable. There are those in the community who are unable to be vaccinated and/or for whom covid would have dire consequences; these are the people who are already disadvantaged in our society so we should seek to do good by them – (Heb 13:16).
- We speed up the return of freedoms that have been lost, e.g., friends and family can attend weddings and funerals, travel between States and overseas.
- Current responses to Covid have reduced options for Gospel mission and discipleship.
This is not to say that getting vaxxed is without some drawbacks or personal costs, but Christ calls us to sacrificial love; there may be good reasons for you to not get vaxxed now, but many Christians I’ve spoken to simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. Let me commend to you the call to be eager to do what is good (Titus 2:14), so that we may show Christ’s love in a practical way.
*Ben Greig serves on the Gospel, Society and Culture committee and is an elder at Bathurst Presbyterian Church. He did Metro training at Bathurst Church and has since worked as a baker. He is married to Jenni Greig and has a strong interest in hobby boardgames, social media, distribution of wealth and sex in advertising. He has served as moderator and clerk of Presbytery and has regularly been a commissioned elder to NSW General Assembly and GAA.