Faith in the Vaccine: "We Will Cross Over This Mountain Together"

A masked patient gets a bandage after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: CDC/Unsplash

COVID-19 has been a devastating and rampant part of our lives for over a year, no one can deny that fact. We have lost family, friends, teachers, pastors, and so many other important lives. The 645,000 names will never all be published in a national newspaper, spoken on national news, or acknowledged by those who advocated against public health. However, they will be remembered by those who loved them, the ones who cared for them, and the ones who feel their absence every day. I am no stranger to the loss or pain that COVID-19 has given us, I have lost friends at an age that death should have never crossed their minds. I can never see the people I lost again, send a good morning text to them before a long day of classes, or share in a moment of love or happiness with them. This kind of anguish and heartbreak will be a part of me and many others long after this pandemic has subsided.

The idea that a small virus, one with a diameter of only 50-140 nanometers, can shut down whole countries, rip apart families, and reveal the many societal deficits in our nation has been difficult for me to wrap my head around. We went from living a life where we did not have to face the reality of our failing healthcare system every day; our morning coffee never included the headline, “ICU Capacity Near Zero Percent.” Before COVID-19, I had the privilege and comfort in knowing that if I got into a car accident, there would be space for me. Doctors and nurses would have the capability and energy to save my life; I would be able to see my family again. The healthcare professionals who were hailed as heroes a few short months ago now have to deal with the recent surges of the Delta Variant across the country. Their struggles from the past year now seem futile to many. With many nurses and support staff resigning due to burnout and an increased feeling of animosity, it is unclear the trajectory our health system will be going.

It is because of these stark realities that I made the decision to get vaccinated, wear my mask, and stay distanced from others. Even when it seemed as though we were on the flip side of the pandemic, the dangers still felt imminent. I felt as though it was my duty to not cause harm to an already struggling population.  I shifted from a sentiment of wanting to just protect those around me to a sense of responsibility to those in the greater community. I have called Waco, Texas my home for the past three years while I have attended Baylor University. The people I have met and gotten to know in the Waco community has given me a sense of belonging and pride that I have rarely experienced anywhere else. Through becoming an IFYC Vaccine Ambassador, it has become very clear to me how important the work we are doing is. Through this service, it is possible for us to advocate and inspire people to get their vaccine and indirectly save their own lives and those around them. We have the opportunity to ease people of their concerns, provide accurate guidance, and build a better tomorrow.

It is incredibly empowering to know that by protecting yourself, you can protect so many other people.  The Lord gave us the knowledge and people we need in order to defeat COVID-19. Through all the challenging and spiritually demanding times in the past 18 months, He gives us the ways to deal and prosper. Despite COVID-19 making life difficult in the present, I still cling on to my hope that we will cross over this mountain together and learn from the accomplishments and mistakes we made.

Sophia Garza is a Senior Public Health major attending Baylor University and is a first-generation Hispanic college student. She was raised in Brownsville, Texas, a border city with a population of roughly 182,000. She is a member of the Baylor FIVA Green Cohort, as well as a member of Baylor Student Foundation and Gamma Alpha Omega. She plans on pursuing an MPH in Community Health after graduation and hopes to use her education to serve underrepresented communities.

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.