Op-Ed: The Anti-Vaccination Disgrace

By Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD. There is a small yet very vocal and influential group of “anti-vaxxers” living in our heimeshe communities. They should stop reading now, as they will not like what I have to say, will not listen to what I have to say, and will write personal non-scientific scathing diatribes against me. However, I hope the rest of Klal Yisroel keeps on reading this critically important pikuah nefashos article, which the Yerushalmi essentially states is a primary chiyuv of a Rav to darshen (explicate).

Measles Outbreak in New York City in the Orthodox Jewish Community” was the title of a letter sent this week by the Department of Health to physicians across the state. Unfortunately, this is only the latest such tragic headline amongst numerous similar and preventable outbreaks in recent months and years, in our communities, in the US, Eretz Yisroel and Europe. I was truly saddened, embarrassed and pained.

Almost all the cases of measles are directly related to someone (or many people) being unvaccinated and spreading their illness and ignorance to others. I am very sorry if that offends anyone, but my vaccinated granddaughter (2 years old) just had to get an urgent premature second dose of MMR vaccine after being exposed in “gan” in Israel; her 5-month old brother, too young to be vaccinated, had to get a painful gamma globulin shot, because of such incorrect and therefore dangerous medical views. Hashem yeracheim.

There is absolutely no one who disagrees with the psak that a parent is required to remove one’s child to safety when a danger is present. Indeed, this is part of the basis for the halachic ruling of HaRav Elyashiv zt”l who viewed normal childhood vaccinations as being an obligatory part of parental obligations. HaRav Asher Weiss, shlita, poseik for Shaare Zedek Hospital, a premier orthodox run hospital in Eretz Yisroel says it is a mitzvah and chiyuv to get vaccinated, bringing a proof from the story of Sodom from this week’s Parsha (which I do not have the room to reiterate here). He further states that Yeshivas have the right and even obligation to protect other students, and should not allow unvaccinated children into school. This is similarly the written psak of HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita as well as the psak of HaRav Elyashiv, who ruled that parents have the right to have unvaccinated children excluded from class so as not to cause unnecessary risks for their children.

Many other gedolei Yisroel, including HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l, HaRav Yehoshua Newirth, zt”l, and yibadeil bein chayim lechayim, HaRav J. David Bleich, HaRav Reuven Feinstein, HaRav Hershel Schachter and HaRav Mordechai Willig, shlita, have all ruled that there is no basis in halacha to suggest that vaccinations should be avoided. All strongly urge and support appropriate universal vaccination against the major childhood potentially fatal illness that are preventable. Indeed, it is sheker (dishonest) to officially avow that Jewish law forbids vaccination – which is the only way in some states to avoid mandatory state vaccination laws by providing such a false attestation about our religion.

So why all the headlines, anguish and outbreaks in our camps, amongst the “People of the Book”? Why did 180 children, 80% who were unvaccinated, die in the US 2017/18 from flu, along with 80,000 adults? Why do Yeshivas and camps have to close down and stop learning because of mumps outbreaks? Why were six babies hospitalized with measles in the past month at Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv? Are we living in the 1950s?

In my humble opinion, as a community Rav and board certified infectious diseases physician expert, it is because we somehow have forgotten to read the (halachic and medical) Book. Halacha states that if there is a dispute regarding whether a patient should eat on Yom Kippur, or if Shabbos desecration is necessary to save a life, the most competent and / or the majority of experts make the determination.

Regarding vaccination against the major vaccine preventable illnesses, both determinants (expertise and majority) are the same. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, all 50 State Departments of Health in the US, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, the American College of Physicians, plus every other major professional infection control organization in the world, clearly opine unanimously. Bar none – “leis man depalig” -there is no mumcheh (expert) organization that disagrees. The evidence is overwhelming that vaccination is the only way to control these preventable fatal diseases. Chasdei Hashem – no one dies anymore of smallpox; polio is almost wiped out – solely, and only because of very successful vaccination programs. Rachmana leztlan, why should anyone in 5779 die from measles???

Why are people not following these medical experts as halacha requires? Why are my (and your) precious children and grandchildren unnecessarily exposed to lethal illnesses, forced to take painful and additional medications and shots, because non-experts “believe” otherwise.

Imagine if parents were to insist their child come to school armed with a revolver. Would even the most ardent gun rights activist insist this is right? So why are we letting children come to our shuls, schools and camps spreading serious potentially life threatening illness that could have been prevented by vaccination?

All the major rabbinic organizations have rightly and strongly spoken out against physician assisted death; I myself also recently published on this subject. Therefore, I feel compelled to publicly speak out (again) against “non-vaccination assisted death”, a cause which unfortunately does not get enough similar support. Please ask your Rav to speak about this on Shabbos – it is a matter of pikuach nefashos.

This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 20,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp Community!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.


  1. I totally agree with you. Everyone should be Vaccinated and secured. We need protection of our children and Adults. We cannot get sick and it is Assur from the Torah to ingorge your health situation.

  2. I can not get the vaccine do to my medical condition but the chance of me getting these sicknesses is close to none if people are vaccinated and very likely when around people that are not but if I do catch them it is a situation of life and death so…… pleeeeasee

  3. @Must be a reason Most anti-vac people are Conspiratists, who are anti medical establishmemt, they only believe in hocos-pocus medicine. I don’t know why they choose to believe some money guzzling Chinese Sorcerer over proven science. As for your idea of bad experience, statistacly some people will happen to get sick after vaccination, just like they happen to get sick any other day, and they will blame it on vaccination.

  4. Even if ppl feel they have a valid reason ie; they believe it causes autism etc., they have no right to expose anyone else.
    Let them go live in caves, open their own schools, have separate bathrooms in public.
    And this goes for poskim and gedolim on the other side of the debate. Nobody has a right to say that I have to put myself in danger because you are maikil on your own pikuach nefashos.

  5. Rabbi Dr Glatt, thank you for posting such an important message. Fellow yidden, how can we the am of gomlei cheeses, that prides itself in selflessness, be so self-centered, I implore all of you to vaccinate yourselves and certainly your young children. my vaccinated son caught the mumps during the (unnecessary) outbreak 9 years ago, I cannot describe the distress and havoc that it caused. The health department verified that the outbreak was because of nonvaxxers, needless to say, it was a chilul Hashem. Please think beyond yourselves!
    A medical professional

    • what does it mean that the health department confirmed it was from the anti vaxxers? what proof did they have?

      Do some research into the litigation that Merck is now subject to because they lied about the efficacy of the mumps vaccine. in plain English for the educated vaccinating population- Merck is being sued by several competitors for falsifying study records that show that the Mumps vaccine is more than 95% effective when really far less effective. The competitors are suing not because they care about your children but because they claim that this falsified result gave Merck an unfair competitive advantage and a monopoly of the MMR market because they could not achieve such high levels of efficacy. So maybe your son got Mumps because Merck lied about the efficacy of the vaccine. could it be they are lying about anything else?

      • How many people who have contracted mumps in the last 2 decades were immunized? Since you are throwing facts around please back up your tangential argument with a number that proves that a lower potent vaccine led to someone contracting mumps. The lawsuit is about money not a compromise in healthcare.

  6. Its amazing that people don’t realize that every year more and more vaccines are being “invented”
    The only reason is for money!!!
    They could not care for a second if the whole world becomes sick on the contrary that only means more money
    The sad part is that doctors have no idea what is in these deadly vaccines (I personally heard from many the same thing that they don’t teach them this in medical school.. they just know to give it and that’s it!
    Everyone make your own research I also looked at anti vaxxers like danger then the day I actually started to look into it I realized OY these poor kids that are bein injected !!
    Remember the more medicine and vaccines they make the more money in there pocket it’s the bigggest mafia you can find

    • You are 100% right. The researchers who created the vaccines couldn’t find another way to make money. All the richest people in the world are scientists. They are only in it for the money. The people who believe in natural and holistic medicine treat their patients for free and the vitamin companies just give their products away.

      Why can’t everyone see how intelligent your argument is?

  7. I agree, why do the schools allow these kids in?? They bring letters from rabanim, but that puts us all at risk!!!!! They should not be allowed in public places!

  8. Its not so simple and its definitely not so one sided. People that dont vaccinate are pro science too. They push past the fear and look deep into the science and research it very thoroughly

    • Is there even one scientific peer-reviewed article written by a board-certified doctor that advises against vaccination? NO. If you do not vaccinate you’re children you are by definition not looking deeply “into the science and research.” The science here is clear as day that vaccinations are vital for the health of our children.

  9. Look online at stories of ppl that are against vaccines, most of them have valid reasons to be scared to vaccinate!
    All my kids are vaccinated and bh we never had a bad reaction but i wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it as a coincidence if chas veshalom a child who have died or became sick within a few hours of getting a vaccine.
    Not all of them are health nuts.
    I realise it’s more dangerous not to vaccinate but i also understand their point of view!

  10. Please give us some footnotes from where you get all of your information about the rabbanim you say gave psaks to everyone to vaccinate. I can also say whatever I want in the name of rabbanim, but if I can’t substantiate what I say, why should anyone believe me?

  11. I disagree with article. Vaccines are not “safe”.

    99.99999% of those who get measles do not die. In fact, getting and recovering fron measles is good for your immune system.

    The chances of being disabled or dying from a vaccine is far greater than from anything happening as a result of getting measles.

    Lastly, listen to the people who were affected from vaccines. They have nothing to gain from telling their stories. They were all pro vaccine (they vaccinated their children) until something disastrous happened.

    • Your comment actually just gave the best solution to the problem. Since you are confident that there is virtually no risk when catching the measles, I would like to suggest that you expose your children at around 6 months of age to the virus. Of course you would have to live in quarantine for the duration of the illness. Then your child will be immune and will no longer be a risk to anyone else. If you are willing to do that, I agree you do not need to vaccinate.

    • @Baruch Klein

      Actually, 1-3 out of every 1000 people who contract measles dies. When you say the chances of having an adverse reaction from a vaccine is far greater, do you have a number or just an uninformed opinion.

  12. Gdolim get their info from Doctors. Doctors are clueless when it comes to vaccines. Listen to the people who were effected. They were all pro-vaccine, yet they come out and tell their terrible stories. At the very least, Before getting vaccinated, read the insert. Dont believe the “outbreaks” that are out to scare you. I highly recommend that you watch “Dr Sherri Tenpenny: vaccines 101” on youtube. Research the subject. Dont be naive and dont vaccinate blindly. There’s a lot of research out there.

  13. Please name 5 Vaccine ingredients. What is MRC-5? What is WI-38?what is the 1986 Act? How has the schedule changed since the 1986 Act? Why all the concern about children when all the adults walking around are not up to date as vaccine immunity wears off And their missing over 40 vaccines based on the current childhood schedule.

    • @Iris If you want vaccine ingredients, check out the CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm.

      Can you list five ingredients in Tylenol? How about in Amoxil? Adalimumab?

      We aren’t pharmacists. But every pharmacist and doctor in the world is recommending them. What does that tell you? There is more of a consensus behind vaccines than any other medical procedure.

      If you are worried about side effects, the CDC lists the exact percentages of possible side effects. They are much lower than many other procedures that are a lot less important.

      • Aproximately 100,000 people die every year from properly prescribed prescription drugs. I would be very careful before I take any drug or medication. Just because it has been approved on the market, doesn’t make it safe. There a thousands of lawsuits for prescription drugs causing harm or even death. Pharmaceutical companies have knowingly pushed drugs onto the market that they knew were unsafe. Yes, you should look at the ingredients before you inject or ingest anything.

      • there are several hundreds of doctors across the US that question the current CDC recommended schedule. Several have been questioning the approach of giving every patient the exact same medical treatment without considering personal and family medical history while others are calling into question the efficacy and safety of vaccines in general. I can back up this statement (while you can not back up your statement) by referring you to an organization called Physicians for Informed Consent – you can look at their website and see how accurate the statement “every doctor” and “every pharmacist” in the world recommends this is.

        I find it interesting that people always try to represent those that hesitate to vaccinate their children as “ignorant” while those that are trying to force everyone to perform a medical procedure on other peoples children are considered educated yet they espouse statements and ideas that are not factual and to which they cannot substantiate.

  14. The anti-vaxxer crowd in my opinion is simply wrong. Just like the Dr says.

    The funny thing is the more popular this meshugas gets the more the anti-vaxxer crowd is at risk. This craze only works if you are a very few people and you do not travel overseas and go in public places etc…Why would someone want to live at such at risk state when there is a proven cure?? Totally illogical. You are worried that someone is making money?? That is the conspiracy?

    Lets go with the argument you do not vaccainate when they are infants. Why not do it when they are 7+ years old?? What is the worry then?

    Any Rav who paskens and believes the anti-vaxxer crowd and someone gets sick or dies from the psak, in my humble opinion is risking his chelek in Olam Haboh Now I really really doubt there are true Torah RESPECTED Rabbonim who believe this.

  15. Im opening a shul you may only enter if you are not vaccinated however if you are attending a simcha you may enter as long as you have not had a vaccine in 3 month no exceptions

  16. Question to Iris: Do you know what all the ingredients are in your whole wheat bread? Can you actually tell me with a straight face that you know HALF the ingredients in your food!!!?

  17. Can the author please address how people with the MTHFR gene mutation should approach this topic?

    How effective was last year’s flu vaccine?

    How effective is this year’s flu vaccine?

  18. @Dr. Glatt – can you please address if you have ever seen a vaccine injury?

    There has been over $5billion (with a “b”) in damages paid out to date to vaccine injured children. So we know with certainty that the concept of vaccine injury exists. This is not a myth this is a fact.

    If you have never seen a vaccine injury than how can you speak on this topic?

    If you have so tell us about it, shouldn’t you be sharing both sides of ot the story?

  19. Wow! and the Vaxing debate fever begins to ratch up. It really gets me excited because there is so many passionate people on both sides. It is very very complimentary to a community that cares so much about there health and their children so dearly. Hashem is proud.

  20. Is anyone here over 60 years, befor there were vaccinnes ? Please don’t comment unless you had measles, polio, etc.
    I am 59 and remmber measles breakouts in the late 1960s. My sisiter was about 10 when she got the mealses. It was terrible.High fever, couging. I wouldn’t want any child to get it
    I go Chicken Pox when i was 6. Try telling a child not to scratch.
    I am sorry for people who got side effects from vaccines.
    The side effect for asprin or ibuprofen are, heart burn and bleeding stomach. Maybe they should not be sold too?

  21. Very interesting. The people who are vaccinated are complaining that the vaccination doesn’t work. The premise of vaccination is that if you get the vaccine you are protected. you should not blame others who have a right to make decisions that is best for them.

  22. Vaccines have been proven to be mostly effective. What’s sad is how these anti-vaxx commenters have this warped belief with no basis in factual reality, no evidence to provide other than made up nonsense “stats” (somehow only their bogus, false statistics are valid but actual research stats aren’t). What’s even more sad is their twisted belief that a child is better off dead than autistic (that Dr Wakefield actually got paid by money hungry lawyers to concoct a made up falsified “research study”…pot, meet kettle! Look who’s talking about money making conspiracy schemes!).

  23. Where have all the pro vaxxers been hiding while the anti vaxxers were waging their propaganda? Why did it have to take such an outbreak to get smart people like you to speak up?

    As a new young mother I have been bombarded with anti vaxx info day in day out but there were hardly any info available to counteract that which frankly left me quite confused regarding vaccinating…

  24. Of course the people who research and creat the vaccines make money. So do your doctors, lawyers, therapists and mechanic . Doesn’t mean they are out to get you

  25. We’re not anti-vax, we’re pro-safe-vax. Unfortunately, the CDC does not subject vaccines to the same rigorous testing that all other pharmaceuticals are required to pass. No placebo, double-blind, long-term studies. If vaccines were really safe and the risks minimal, we’d all line up. Unfortunately, the risks are enormous, and we feel the risks of the disease are much lower than the risks of the vaccines. The dangers of these diseases were mitigated before vaccines even became available, by better living conditions, hygiene, and discovery of infection/bacterial pathways.

  26. Why is a gamma globulin shot more painful than an MMR shot. my daughter has to get it every few weeks due to her compromised immunity CAUSED by a vaccine she received. She is now homeschooled due to a misdirected immune response, caused by the vaccine related injury. You really should spend a day researching the other side. It’s unfair to comment until you review both sides adequately.

  27. You don’t even need any contemporary posek although it is nice that almost all have chimed in that vaccination is a chiyuv. It has been the accepted halachah for a thousand years that we follow doctors on medical matters, as Rav Sherirah Gaon famously ruled.

Comments are closed.