Protect ourselves and others

Brothers,

We are on the verge of opening back up in many ways. Covid restrictions are being lifted more and more and we are feeling safer as the weeks go by. Our meeting have shifted to in-person meetings after a year and a half of zoom only meetings and we are anxious to get together in per-son again. We do need to keep a few things in mind as we begin to mix and mingle in the coming weeks and months.

COVID-19 is not going away any time soon, probably never. We will never be going back to the way it was in 2019, where we could mix at will and not worry about catching this thing. Not that we didn’t have anything to catch. There was always the flu and other diseases that we were familiar with. We just had learned to live with them and to accept that we might become sick. What COVID brought to us is the realization that if we catch something (yes, even the flu) we can die rather unpleasantly. COVID-19 has us particularly in fear but we have lived with the spectre of death from Flu or even the common cold in the past. So, what do we need to do?

I think we will need to learn to keep ourselves protected as well as protecting our loved ones and friends by protecting ourselves. In the past, we didn’t think much about showing up to work feeling sick or “under the weather” but doing so increased the risk that we might infect our friends and co-workers. Since no one was tracing every-one’s contact (a term we have become all too familiar with) we never even realized all the ways we might be infecting someone else or getting infected ourselves. Now, we do know much better how infection works.

Last year, the flu was almost eliminated, with just 29 confirmed cases in Ontario last year whereas normally there would have been thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths every year. So, what we are doing this year worked. Masking, hand-washing and staying some distance apart has worked to nearly eliminate the flu from our midst. Prepare to see it return as we ‘forget’ all about our precautions this coming year (hopefully not). What we should also realize is that despite all those precautions that worked so well against the flu, COVID has been infecting many more people and killing more of us as well. COVID is much more infectious than the flu and much more deadly. I shudder to imagine what would have happened if we had not been masking, isolating and handwashing these past 19-20 months.

So, if we want to start meeting again, we need to maintain the precautions we have been becoming all too familiar with. Keep our mask on, keep away from each other and just like we used to do in the past, get vaccinated.

I have encountered many people who have resisted that last item and I know there is so much false information out on the web that seems to offer up reasons to avoid getting the COVID shots. Even our own Bishop wrote a letter in September that said a few things that were not quite right and he seemed to equivocate on whether we should get the shot. The Pope did not make such equivocal statements, calling it a moral imperative to get the shot. Reports from the Vatican just this week indicate that both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have now received their third (booster) shots. They are clear that there is no moral objection to getting the shots and they are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

Now, I have had a few people explain to me that fetuses are aborted to make the vaccine. That is simply incorrect information. The cell lines that these people are referring to originated decades ago and are being used in medical research to test and develop many modern therapies ranging from headache medicine, stomachache remedies, cancer therapies, and hundreds more. A very high proportion of all medical advances made since the ‘60s have used these cell lines because they are a standard, because they are viable and because we need to be able to test our new drugs on human cells but not on humans. So, if you are resisting getting the vaccine because you think there are aborted fetuses in there, then you will want to stop taking pretty much all drugs developed since the 60s, just to be consistent.

There are a couple of cell lines used in medical research that come from fetal stem cells (cord blood). They all date back 50 or 60 years. They are thousands of generations removed from the actual fetus that died way back then and we are not even sure how the baby died. The medical term “Abortion” does not mean that the child was deliberately killed. What we commonly call a miscarriage, is medically called a natural abortion. The word simply means “ended”. So those cell lines are NOT fetal cells. They are a line of stem cells that have been used by medical researchers worldwide for decades and are only distantly related to the original stem cells.

Finally, If you need to totally avoid even the hint of aborted cell lines, then the Pfizer vaccine does not use fetal cells. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine does not contain fetal cells, contrary to online claims (apnews.com) They are completely clear so your conscience can be clear too.

There are, of course, web sites that will dispute that but there are conspiracy theory sites that also claim the vaccine is being used to inject GPS trackers into us (we all have cell phones, why would the government need to inject trackers). There are sites that claim the vaccine is dangerous and will deliberately misrepresent data they pick and choose to make them look useless. Literally every country in the world is trying to get their citizens vaccinated. No conspiracy theory can be maintained with that many conspirators involved. It would be impossible to keep a secret while involving that many people. If you read an antivaxxer’s web site, you can rest assured that it is either a mistake or a deliberate lie.

Another mistaken claim by antivaxxers is that the vaccines are useless, and they misuse various statistics to ‘prove’ that. I have seen people misquote our own medical officer of health to “prove” their antivaxx stance. How is it that some web site has found something that the world’s experts have ‘missed’? That’s impossible to explain other than these antivaxx sites are wrong. The vaccines all work at reducing the spread of the virus. They all do an extremely good job at protecting people from getting very sick. They are not perfect but that is not a reason to not take them. Seatbelts are not perfect either, but we have all come to wear them, despite some strikingly similar arguments against their use when they were first mandated back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

COVID is here for a long time yet, and may never be eradicated, especially if people continue to resist getting the shot and it continues to be able to spread and mutate. For the sake of your vulnerable friends and neighbors around us who may not be as healthy as you, Get vaccinated, wear a mask, stay socially distanced and wash your hands. Let’s do everything we can do to protect ourselves and others.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight