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Immunity in the Jewish Community

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Topic: Immunization

Jeff Levin from Lakewood, New Jersey wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Are we required to immunize our children? Since the scientific knowledge is not 100% accurate and there is ample proof that vaccines in fact damage children permanently and sometimes they can cause death ... are we allowed to vaccinate children?

Dear Jeff Levin,

Our Sages teach that in medical matters we should rely on the experts in each generation. Today, there are differences of opinion among doctors concerning which immunizations are helpful, safe or advisable to receive. Therefore, as with any medical issue, you are required to find a doctor with sufficient expertise in the subject such that his opinion may be relied upon.

There's no blanket answer concerning all vaccines, but certainly many childhood diseases have been practically eliminated or reduced since their introduction. Smallpox, for example, once a great killer of children, is today extremely rare. On the other hand, some vaccinations are of highly questionable value. Find a doctor whom you trust to help select the proper immunizations for your child.

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