Theologian Russell Moore revealed that he's battling COVID-19 despite getting both doses of the vaccine, and said he feels as though he was “run over by a bulldozer.”
On Wednesday, Moore, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, revealed that he, along with his wife, Maria, and their sons, was hit with “breakthrough COVID.”
“Maria feeling ok; the older vaccinated boys were fine all along,” he tweeted. “I feel like I’ve been run over by a bulldozer. Still, that’s nothing compared to what others are experiencing around the world. Grateful.”
In a follow-up tweet, Moore, who left the ERLC and now serves as the director of Christianity Today magazine’s Public Theology Project, revealed he feels “awful” and is only “getting worse.”
"I’ve tried to watch some of y’all’s streaming suggestions, but since I’m awake for only two-minute intervals, it’s really hard to follow,” he wrote. “Take care of yourselves, friends, this stuff is terrible.”
Shortly before revealing his diagnosis, Moore had urged his social media followers to get the vaccine: “The numbers are showing us: the rates of vaccinated people hospitalized is tiny. Deaths even more so. I am glad to be vaccinated, but plead with y’all to do so too,” he wrote.
Moore is among a rising number of individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. Researchers in Britain this week announced that protection against the virus from two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines starts to fade within six months.
The CDC notes: “Some fully vaccinated people will get sick, and some will even be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. However, there is evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick. The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated people.”
Some 59% of white evangelicals said they have already been vaccinated for COVID-19, according to an NBC News poll released this month. It also found that 69% of all adults have been vaccinated. The poll, however, did not release the survey results for non-white evangelicals.
In February, a Pew survey of 10,121 U.S. adults found that 54% of white evangelicals “definitely or probably” planned on getting vaccinated or already had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
In an August interview with The Washington Post, Moore blamed “misinformation,” often circulated on social media, for driving vaccine hesitancy among evangelicals.
“I hear from pastors often who are saying, ‘I’m trying to encourage my people to be vaccinated, showing them all the things that we can do together if we are,’” he said. “But there’s a great deal of misinformation that comes through on social media feeds, and sometimes cable news networks, and that simply has much more time in the week than an hour or two hours on Sunday.”
Still, the theologian said he’s seen an increasing number of Christians change their minds about the vaccine after witnessing firsthand the “great suffering” the virus can cause.
“Sadly, many people are seeing people that believed themselves to be invulnerable getting sick or dying,” he said. “And there’s a great deal of concern about that so, that, I think, is having more of a motivating factor than even all of the public service announcements and information that we can give.”
Other pastors and Christian leaders have used their platforms to encourage evangelicals to receive the vaccine, including Franklin Graham, Max Lucado and Pastor Robert Jeffress.
"For me as a Christian, it's very easy for me to support the vaccine," Graham, the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, told CNN. "Because as a Christian, Jesus Christ came to this Earth to save life."
Some studies have shown that people who've already contracted COVID-19 will likely have lifetime immunity. Similarly, a Cleveland Clinic study found that vaccinating people with "natural immunity" did not increase their level of protection. An Israeli study also found that people with natural immunity have a far greater level of protection than those who were vaccinated.