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On religious exemptions: Sudbury man explains his refusal of mRNA vaccines

Chris Baron says new vaccine types is against ‘God’s will’ because it restructures RNA, although Health Canada says mRNA vaccines don’t work that way
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Chris Baron of Sudbury is a serious person. Serious enough that he has decided he will not accept the COVID-19 vaccine for strict religious reasons. While his comments might not resonate with others, Baron insists he has rational reasons for not wanting the vaccine, but at the same time he will still take precautions toward not being a threat to others.

Baron was responding to an earlier Sudbury.com news story outlining vaccine mandates in Ontario. Baron suggested that some empathy should be demonstrated for people who have valid beliefs against the vaccine.

In an interview with Sudbury.com, Baron said he was aware that the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has said it cannot find any creed or reasoning to support a religious objection to the vaccine. He doesn't agree, characterizing the commission’s position as discrimination. 

"I would say they're wrong. There should be no discrimination in any system. Everyone has a voice and everyone should be heard," Baron said, adding that his personal beliefs should matter when it comes to vaccination.

Baron said he is troubled that people who are labelled “anti-vaxxers” are tarred with the same brush, that they don’t take the safety of their fellow citizens seriously.

"I wish no harm on others," he said. "It is wrong and inexcusable to assume that we don't take the health of others seriously."

Baron was asked to explain his religious objection in specific terms. He said his main opposition is to the mRNA vaccine.

"We believe the restructuring of RNA in the body is against God's will for His creation,” Baron said. “He created us with the ability to fight off infection using our own immune system. This does not contradict other vaccines because they did not interfere with our genetic makeup like this ‘new world’ vaccine for Covid (sic).

“My family and I have personally taken all of our vaccines and are up to date besides the Covid vaccine. We take Covid very seriously and are aware of any consequence to not taking the vaccine. This includes the safety of those around us. We take all other precautions to make sure those around us are protected.”

Despite Baron’s belief mRNA vaccines restructure RNA in the body, Health Canada is clear that that is not how this new type of vaccine works.

Unlike traditional vaccines that use the virus itself to provoke an immune response, Health Canada said mRNA vaccines are more of a recipe that teaches your body how to respond to, in this case, a specific protein made by the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) is a molecule that provides cells with instructions for making proteins. mRNA vaccines contain the instructions for making the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein ... found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19,” Health Canada explains on its website. 

“The mRNA molecule is essentially a recipe, telling the cells of the body how to make the spike protein.” 

Once ‘taught’ how to make the protein, the cells of your body then display the protein piece on their surface where your immune system can see it, recognize the protein doesn't belong there and react by building an immune response and making antibodies. That way, should the SARS-CoV-2 virus get into your body, your immune system is already primed to recognize it and respond quickly, short-circuiting the virus’ ability to high-jack your cells and reproduce itself.

“After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them,” Health Canada explains. “The mRNA never enters the central part (nucleus) of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is found. Your DNA can't be altered by mRNA vaccines.”

Baron cited several quotes from the Christian Bible to support his position that people are entitled to a religious exemption from vaccination. 

Baron quoted Genesis 1:26-27: "Let us make mankind in our image … So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.”

He also quoted Exodus 20:4: "You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in Heaven above."

Baron said he sees this as meaning that we humans "should not play God."

"I can go on and on with Bible quotes, but I'm not sure you want to read them all. The bottom line is that I truly believe that we were created in God's image, we are holy, and we are not to alter God's creation," he said.

Baron is a university graduate and said he also believes in science. He said he is aware that vaccines can save lives, but he still applies his own beliefs to himself. 

"If a medical procedure or vaccine can be administered to save an individual's life, I believe it should be performed. I cannot speak for other individuals as we all have our own set of beliefs,” he said. “I can disagree with someone else's decision to take a vaccine, but that does not give me the right to judge. I expect the same in return. 

“As previously stated, I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I do believe in protecting the vulnerable and being a contributing member to society. This does not mean I personally need to be subjected to the altering of God's creation with the mRNA vaccine."

A family man, Baron mentioned his 16-year-old daughter, an athlete, has struggled with being “pressured” by others to get vaccinated so she can continue with sports. What if she decided to get the vaccine on her own, Sudbury.com asked.

"I'm fully aware she is able to get the vaccine on her own,” he said. “That doesn't mean I agree that a 16-year-old should (be able to ) make adult-minded decisions. She can't sign herself out of school or vote, she shouldn't be able to make this decision until she's 18. 

“That being said, I would be disappointed, but fully supportive of her decision.”



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Len Gillis, local journalism initiative reporter

About the Author: Len Gillis, local journalism initiative reporter

Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com covering health care in northeastern Ontario and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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