Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:24-25
Thomas, one of the 12 apostles is also referred to as Doubting Thomas. You can see in that scripture passage above how he earned that nickname. Not present when Jesus found the apostles hiding in the upper room, Thomas found it hard to believe that the Lord had tracked them down. I hadn't thought about this passage in quite some time, but the latest vaccine news has me thinking more of Thomas and how his doubting attitude kept him from believing what the others were telling him.
Not until later, when Jesus was face-to-face with Thomas, would Thomas believe that Christ had actually risen. I imagine that realization was quite profound. I don’t think they’d have thrown a party, remember – they were still in hiding, but I also imagine that the mood behind their locked doors was somewhat celebratory.
I, like Thomas, have doubted some facts myself. Vaccine injury? COME ON! Surely that's a made up thing. I’d thought that because for the longest time I'd only be told that vaccines were safe and effective.
They were necessary.
They were there to help my child.
They'd keep him healthy.
To be hurt by one? No way!
I believe that a majority of the public, despite the US establishing a program to compensate those with vaccine injuries, still believes that, too. The latest headlines are finally reporting another story though. Severe vaccine side effects do exist!
While I’m shocked, I’m not entirely surprised. The media recently downplayed and even encouraged people to not worry about vaccine injuries. In late November, the public was set up with the thought that the latest liability-free vaccine will be “no walk in the park”. Just like clockwork, the next round of vaccine-related articles posted the very mild and most common reactions. Almost as if to make the point that those post-vaccination events are supposed to happen, a reaction, even though mild, is still a reaction. And like Kim shared yesterday, "A side effect is an injury. A side effect is an injury. A side effect is an injury." Because…it is.
Vaccine injury happens. It happened to my child. It happened to a lot of children. It’s happening all over again, now to adults, with the fast-tracked, minimally-studied, liability-free COVID19 vaccine. But until vaccine injury happens to more people, I think it will still be a hard fact to swallow. I’d never wish any injury or reactoin upon anyone, but even so, remembering that Gospel reading about Thomas this week made me thankful for two things. I thank God that I don't need to physically see Jesus to believe that He exists, and I thank God for those people, who despite how incredibly bizarre it sounds, believe that someone can be injured by a vaccine. I, for one, thought it a crazy notion myself, but through personal experience I finally saw it happen.
For those who have not been personally affected but who believe that vaccine injury is real, not because of what you’ve just read in the papers but because you saw our children suffer years ago, thank you. You saw our kids. You saw their pain. You heard our story and understood our worry. You know that none of it has been easy for us to handle, but you believed. Bless you for that!
…Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. John 20:29
Thank you for not doubting, for not belittling and for not turning away. By just believing, you made things a little bit better. Over the years, you gave people like me hope. I needed that hope to continue to fight for my son, to continue to advocate for his needs, and to continue to want to speak up. I’ll need that hope now more than ever as I watch the world react to the latest vaccine news, to the COVID19 vaccine itself and to the negative consequences that will surely come from it.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.