Friday, March 09, 2018

The Vaccine Choice Coalition

Child suffering from Rubella (HSFK)
When I read stories like this, I have to wonder about the intelligence of the people behind it, the people that subscribe to it, or the people that in any way endorse it. There is a new group of Orthodox Jews in Lakewood that has formed an antivaxxer organization. Here is their mission statement:
Thank you for joining The Vaccine Choice Coalition, a coalition of parents who believe that vaccines should be a choice in frum Jewish communities. Your participation enables us to join together and b'ezras Hashem help the many pro vaccine-choice families amongst us. By joining the coalition you agree to have your name and personal information added to our private database. Your information will never be released or revealed to a third party without your permission. If the coalition should find it necessary to release your name in the course of assisting its members you may receive an email requesting your permission. 
It surprises me that there are intelligent educated people that buy into the nonsense that has brought about groups like this. They surely ought know better. But they don’t. They have bought into the ridiculous notion that vaccinating our children against disease is a bad idea. They fear that the side effects from those vaccines causes more harm than good. A while back it was thought that autism might be linked to vaccinations. That view has long ago been discredited.

And yet there are people that cling to that notion and thereby refuse to vaccinate their children. What about the diseases they might get for lack of being inoculated? They rely on the vast majority of the population that has been vaccinated – believing that the probability of contracting any of those diseases is  therefore rare.  

Even if this were true, it is a very selfish attitude to have. They are in essence willing to risk other children being subjected to those ‘devastating side effects’ so that they don’t have to be.

Why do they think like that? I suspect that they may be suffering from a form of paranoia. The kind of paranoia that plagues conspiracy theorists. One of the arguments antivaxers make is that vaccinating the entire population is just one big sacm by pharmaceutical companies to make money. They stand  to make billions!  As if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies. The CDC is a government agency that was created to help prevent the spread of disease. Not to make money. Here is what they say: 
Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very serious, may require hospitalization, or even be deadly – especially in infants and young children. 
Think about that. Antivaxxers are willing to risk serious illnesses that might be fatal to their children based on discredited medical information and conspiracy theories.That is really sick if you think about it. (No pun intended).

It isn’t only their children that are made vulnerable to diseases like measles, whooping cough and rubella. They also endanger the lives of other children that were not vaccinated when they contract those diseases! There are some children that cannot be vaccinated for legitimate reasons (like deadly allergies to the vaccine).

I guess every community has its fools. Including Lakewood. What I did not expect is for prominent Roshei Yeshiva to join them. From their mission statement: 
The Vaccine Choice Coalition is endorsed and backed by HaRav Malkiel Kotler shlit"a, HaRav Elya Ber Wachtfogel shlit"a and HaRav Shmuel Meir Katz shlit"a. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us.  (contact information deleted). 
What are these Roshei Yeshiva thinking? How in heaven’s name can they support a movement that insists allowing unvaccinated children to enter a classroom? And possibly be the source of harm not only to themselves but to others who were also not vaccinated for some reason - valid or otherwise! I'll bet that all of their children were vaccinated!

It behooves every thinking parent in Lakewood to fight this movement with everything they have. And to prevail upon those Roshei yeshiva  to withdraw their support. The is not about free choice. It is about saving lives and not spreading disease!