Editorial: US Catholic colleges and churches should require vaccination | National Catholic Reporter

While the eyes of the world will be attuned to the various races and contests at the Tokyo Olympics this month, a more consequential race is going on here in the United States: This race pits getting people vaccinated against COVID-19 versus the virus’ ability to mutate into variants, some of which may diminish the effectiveness of the vaccines currently available. Everyone has a moral obligation to get vaccinated unless they have a legitimate medical condition prohibiting them from doing so. It is not even a close call. COVID-19 remains a public health menace. It has killed more than half a million of our fellow citizens and required the closure of large parts of our economy for long periods of time. The thought of a new variant becoming resistant to the vaccines and the country being forced again into lockdown is difficult to even bear. “Unvaccinated people are potential variant factories,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, recently told CNN. “The more unvaccinated people there are, the more opportunities for the virus to multiply.” Against such weighty moral and medical concerns, it is shocking that so many millions of Americans still resist getting vaccinated. Shocking, but not surprising. The amen corner of the Republican Party — Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Trumpian wannabees and, sadly, some Catholic clergy — somehow think not getting vaccinated is a sign of toughness. How did a fight against a virus become a battle in the culture wars? For example, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, published a churlish letter scolding the University of Notre Dame for requiring its faculty, staff and students to be vaccinated before returning to campus. He insisted that vaccination “must be voluntary.” Does the bishop have difficulty understanding the “public” or the “health” in the words “public health”?

Editorial: US Catholic colleges and churches should require vaccination | National Catholic Reporter

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