TLS EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Shanik Speaks About The Whooping Cough Outbreak

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: In light of the recent incidents resulting from the Whooping Cough outbreak in the Tri-State area, TLS sat down with leading Lakewood Pediatrician Dr. Reuven Shanik for a deeper look and understanding into the sometimes-fatal illness.

Following yesterday’s exclusive TLS report of the two Lakewood children who contracted the illness, Dr. Shanik says his office has been flooded with thousands of calls from parents and playgroups looking to take necessary precautions to prevent the illness from spreading within the community.

By Wednesday morning says Dr. Shanik, the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia had admitted another six patients who contracted the illness.

In this exclusive video, Dr. Shanik discusses the symptoms of Whooping Cough, immunization ages, immunization for pregnant women and their babies, as well as those who oppose proper immunization.

If you cannot view the video on YouTube, you may also watch the video on Vimeo, below. TLS.

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  1. From the words of a Tzaddik. Thanks for taking the time out to help the klal. I really hope all those out there who are are not immunized will change thier minds and i hope all playgroup morahs send home notes so that mothers can sign that thier child has taken the shots!

  2. My sister who has no internet just called me and said she heard the interview on 718-506-1111.

    TLS is saving lives by spreading their exclusive report to people without Internet.

    Same thing for posting the Vimeo for people with filters who can’t access YouTube.

    You should be Gebentched!

    Yossel C.

  3. As I am very concerned as I have a medically fragile child I just checked the local news reports to see what is really doing:
    There’s been a recent outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) in Hunterdon County, NJ, and the last report I’ve seen puts the number of ill children at 32. A separate news report stated that the ill children had been vaccinated, and then another report confirmed that all the infected children had all of their recommended vaccines.

    Most of the infected children were (29/32) between the ages of 7-12. These children, if vaccinated according the CDC recommendations, had DTaP shots at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years. That’s FIVE doses. Five doses of the vaccine, and still this many children are not immune?

    There’s been a recent addition of a SIXTH dose of pertussis in New Jersey near age 10, as there is concern that the temporary immunity to pertussis from the previous five doses wanes as quickly as ages 7-9.

    Apparently when five doses of a vaccine aren’t sufficient to induce immunity the answer is to just keep giving more doses, as perhaps after the 10th, 25th or 33rd dose they will hit the jackpot. If we’re lucky.

  4. im scared my eight year old daughter has a cold cough and fever…i thought it was just the flu! what does a whooping cough sound like?
    is it a ‘wet cough’ or does it sound like a dog howling???
    please someone answer me!

  5. The “recent” outbreak in Hunterdon County you referred to happened in January 2009!!!

    No other reports of Pertussis outbreak in vaccinated children since…

    Very irresponsible to try refuting Dr Shanik in such times before verifying your facts!!

  6. To #5, i hope if you have a fragile child, that you rely on your doctor at least as much as the local newspaper, which in general are not reliable. May Hashem protect all our children

  7. To #6 (please help!):

    Not sure the best idea is to ask the “doctors” here on TLS. You should take your child to a real doctor.

    I’m not trying to tell you how to Parent your child… just giving my opinion.

    Refuah Shelaima to your daughter

  8. I realized after but the reason for that mistake was that there are no recent reports perhaps this outbreak is not considered an epidemic as the health departement would like you to believe.

  9. reports seven to possibly ten cases of Pertussis in Hunterdon County alone as of this morning…

    Maybe you should look at real news reports and not simply copy and paste from a blog (as with your previous post).

  10. I would like to just point an irony that I see here.

    From all the comments on TLS over the past few days, it would seem to me that virtually EVERYONE is ganging up on those that don’t vaccinate their children. Even though those who don’t vaccinate their children think they have a valid reason for doing so, we still think we’re smarter than them, and we are very upset at them for not vaccinating their children.

    Whatever happened to “just live and let live” that I see here on TLS whenever we’re discussing tznius or zumba issues. We all love to say how accepting we need to be for others who dress in a way that can harm our neshamos. Are we allowed to be upset at those who dress immodestly???? No way! We need to be accepting of them! “Live and let live” is the new motto of Lakewood!

    So let us all accept those who don’t want to vaccinate their children for (what they think are) valid medical reasons. They may be wrong, but “Live and let live”.

    And now we have people calling for playgroups and schools to expel, or not accept, children who are not vaccinated. But hey, aren’t we supposed to be accepting of all children, even if they don’t conform to our dress standards? Aren’t we all upset at the schools that they aren’t accepting enough of all the children of Lakewood? Now we’re supposed to expel children who’s parents don’t agree to our vaccination standards?????

    See the irony in all this? I think we are being hypocrites.

    Now, some will say that there is no hypocrisy, because when it comes to tznius, everyone has different dress standards and we need to accept everyone else’s standards. But when it comes to vaccinations, we are discussing pikuach nefesh, and everyone must agree to our vaccination standards or be kicked out of school.

    But you know, the people in Lakewood that have high dress standards believe that the rest of us are killing them spiritually. So they won’t accept us into school. And we’re upset, right? We want them to be more accepting of us, even though we’re killing them spiritually.

    So why are we not accepting of those who don’t believe in vaccinations, They should be accepted, even though supposedly they are killing us physically.

    But then again, we are hypocrites. Hypocrites always believe they are right, no matter which side they’re on.

    And that’s us.

  11. Why we don’t want to give shots…..What’s the ingredients?
    DPT: Diptheria and tetanus toxoids, acellular pertussis, formaldehyde, aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, thimerosol, washed sheep red blood cells, and more.

    MMR: measles, mumps, rubella live virus, neomycin sorbitol, hydrolized gelatin, chick embryonic fluid, and human diploid cells from aborted human fetal tissue.

    Also including sheep blood, monkey blood serums (why are our children running around acting like monkeys), horse blood serums, (and running around like wild horses), pig blood, monkey kidney cells, dog kidney blood, antifreeze and much more to preserve it and extend the shelf life.

    Also the human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue is now suspect in the cause of bipolar behaviors in humans. Whose aborted fetus was that taken from, and what soul was in that blood?

    The holy (moderated) always refused medicines and any naural cures too because he wanted nothing to interfere with his soul for torah learning. What about “Timtum ha lev”, how do you get rid of the blood of non kosher animals from the system? What flaw does it leave on the soul?

    Shots are injected to bypass the stomach and liver so there is no processing of the chemicals to filter them out.

    Too many children tainted by the shots, convulsive disorders, paralysis, autism, SIDS cancer viruses. No wonder mothers are reluctant to immunize. Even AIDS in the early polio vaccines.

    There is a homeopathic formula of Pertussis, whooping cough, to take, to prevent the disease in the human, if it is spreading epidemically. Right now it is not. Dr. Shanik, don’t panic.

    The cure is the homeopathic remedy Veratrum Album. Works fine in three days or less.

    May HaShem bless us that all the children and all the people will stay well.

  12. To “Yid”: This is not just a case of “live and let live”. If YOUR child is not vaccinated, it can affect MY child. So yes, I may be selfish, but I care what you do when it can possibly affect my family. And no, I don’t view myself as a hypocrite.

  13. To YID:
    If you don’t dress in the spirit of tznius or you talk down about talmidei chachamim or you let your children watch videos on a consistent basis – even kosher ones,etc. etc… hten i don’t want your kids with my kids either.

    It’s not either a case of live and let live. like it has been said many times before, if you don’t like the rules, open your own school for like minded people.

    So Yes, i may be selfish, but i care what you do when it can possibly affect my family – both in gashmius and ESPECIALLY in ruchnius!!!!!

  14. yenta1 – I agree with you 100%

    I am pointing out the hypocrisy of those who say “live and let live” when it comes to tznius and refuse to conform to other standards, but when it comes to vaccines they demand that everyone conform to their own views.

  15. Dr Shanik – you have this whole town’s sincere appreciation and gratitude for all that both you and your wife do for so many of us here in Lakewood in so many ways. May H-shem repay you and your family immeasureably.

  16. talking about how one dressess as opposed to how a parent refuses to protect their child against what could be a fatal disease is well to put it mildly insane!
    its not a matter of accepting that others have a different viewpoint its a matter of provideing the best possible protection for your child when it comes to what could be a fatal disease ,this is so simple it should not even take an ounce of intelligence to figure out

  17. To Grandma #17: Until now I’ve held all “health nuts” in very low esteem since their ignorance is just glaring. The health nuts I know are the ones who are always sick and whose kids are always getting sick. I don’t know which is the cause and which is the effect. Are they getting sick because of all the homeopathic junk they’re using or are they using that stuff because they are sick and don’t know where to turn? In any case, the natural stuff isn’t working. But now it’s not just a matter of low esteem. It’s a matter of putting us all in danger! Grandma, just keep your “natural” kids away from my ainiklach!

  18. If you are an older grandmother, maybe you remember the days when people gave birth to 15 children and 4 lived? The countless infants who died or were permanently harmed from diseases like polio, whooping cough etc.
    The ONLY reason these diseases are making comebacks today are because of selfish people like you (and your children who I’m sure you force to follow you) who don’t immunize their family.

  19. Yid thanks for the comment best comment ever read on tls so true we should throw out all the people that don’t get vaccinated and all the people that are not tznius from our playgroups and schools
    Heard from r ephraim wachsman once ( not sure who he said it over from ) that we are so nervous about our gashmiyus and not worried about our ruchnius . The opposite is what should be our gashmiyus (Health , money ) that is taken care of to the fullest by Hashem ( of course have to do your hishtadlus ) but our ruchniyus u have to be very concerned

  20. Give me a break. The good outweighs the bad. If you feel putting “poisonous” material into children is worse than CH”V ending up with a severely sick child or worse, then you need to get your head checked. Not to mention putting other innocent children at risk.

  21. To Yid

    A valid reason for not vaccinating?

    Rebbaim have a valid reason for stuffing our children with junk food….it’s in the name of learning.

    Parents have a valid reason for leaving their children in the car while they run to do errands…’s too difficult to shlep everyone in.

    Drivers have a valid reason for double parking….I’ll only be a minute.

    Parents have a valid reason for sending their 6 years old child to the store with their younger siblings…. I’m too busy to go.

    Yes….everyone can find justification to explain their actions, and it will make perfect sense to them. The question is….when does this thinking infringe on the safety of an individual or on a community?


    That wasn’t my point. My point was that the same people who say “live and let live” when it comes to tznius and refuse to conform to others’ standards, but when it comes to vaccines they demand that everyone conform to their own views.

    (Those who dress immodestly also have justification for their actions……. and they want to be accepted into schools, and they want everyone to just live and let live……..)

  23. I have called some of my friends that dont have internet to make sure that there kids have had all their shots and people that have playgroups to make sure the kids that go there r up to date

  24. YOu think you know better than Dr Shanik? You think he wants to harm our children. Maybe he just wants to make sure your child lives to a healthy old age bechasdi hashem. hashem gave us these healers to help us,not harm us.
    Live and let live..your talking about my childs health. If your child is not vacinated them my child is in danger

  25. EXACTLY……. You think you know better than the Rabbonim who say that Zumba should not be allowed at the Gym. Yet when the Gym closed down the Zumba class, you went ballistic, and couldn’t stop crying “live and let live”.

    When schools don’t accept children from families that dress like prutzim, as per Rabbonim, you go ballistic too.

    Because you are smarter than the Rabbonim. You don’t understand why they don’t “live and let live”. You think we should accept all children into school, as is. Even if their dress standards are spiritually dangerous to my children.

    But if someone thinks he’s smarter than Dr. Shanik, and begs you to just “live and let live”, you don’t understand them. You want to throw them out of school. Suddenly you don’t understand these “insane” people who “think they’re smarter than the doctors”. Suddenly you don’t want the schools to be so accepting of all children, because their vaccination standards are physically dangerous to our children.

    Hypocrites are people who always think they’re right, no matter what they currently believe.

  26. Hey Grandma! For your information, the way all vaccines work is by injecting the disease into animals such as horses and then the horses develop antibodies to the diseases which are then injected into humans. Maybe you would like to go back to the days when you were a little girl and people were dropping like flies from these diseases! Don’t be an iberchuchim and try to figure out ingredients that you don’t understand–next you will be telling us not to take penicillin because it is made from mold!

  27. Yid,

    You make a good point, but I disagree with you.

    Ruchnius is subtle. You may want to protect yourself from spiritual harm, but HaShem may want you to act with chessed, love, and understanding. In ruchnius, up can be down and down can be up.

    In gashmius on the other hand, up is up and down is down. Safe is safe and dangerous is dangerous.

    You can’t compare the two.

  28. I think that if the health department would not keep adding more and more vaccines to the recommended/mandated schedule, more parents would be happy to comply with the most important ones. But every time a new one is added, it gives more reason for parents who are worried about long term side effects (and I believe there are some, which may never be proven because no one is studying to see if there are) to not give all the important ones, such as DPT. You can speak to your doctor about which vaccines are of vital importance, and which can be delayed/spaced out, or possibly never given.
    It is also important to know that adults and older children may have pertussis and not know it. They do not necessarily have severe symptoms. If you have a cough for a week that is not getting better which may have started with cold-like symptoms, you need to go to a doctor to check for pertussis.

  29. I agree. Varicella (chickenpox) is now mandated!
    Not all doctors are pushing their patients (at the moment) to be up to date. People have to respect different views. I’m not saying you shouldnt get any shots. But some people don’t feel comfortable giving shots to infants and their doctors are fine with their decision to wait.
    What bothers me, is that the playgroups in this town follow one view and force everyone to follow. If Dr Shanik wants to implement a policy in his office , then he can, its his practice.
    But why do all the playgroups push one opinion without any regard to the other wonderful doctors in this town?
    I was given a weeks notice to get my child up to date otherwise i’ll be asked to leave. Sweet no? where should my kid go?
    The playgroup can implement a policy but they have to give me more time! After all , Its not a epidemic where drastic measures need to be taken.
    We shouldn’t all be forced to follow one view. And i certainly shouldn’t be given such a short notice to leave.

  30. I am hard pressed to believe that these other “wonderful” doctors aren’t secretly rolling their eyes at you for your decision not to vaccinate. Let one of them make a public statement which says taking away Lakewoods herd immunity is ok…they know that they can’t physically force you to vaccinate but don’t think for a second that they would ever publically condone such a decision. May all of our children stay healthy…we all know the Eibishter protects all of us (even the stupid).

  31. To Yid

    I understand and appreciate your point of view ( and many others with the same view)….if a women chooses to dress immodest, but expects a school to accept her child regardless, then a school should accept a child who’s mother chooses not to vaccinate…. why?because many people see the decision of not vaccinating as a personal decision, and personal choices cannot bet mandated by a school or a community. This is caled hyprocracy.

    It is possible then, that I did not make my point clearly….Let me try again with this example:

    Two boys are applying to yeshiva. Boy A is a shtark learner, great middos, from a very yeshivish family, father is a menahel of a prestigious boys school, and mother is principal of a girls high school.

    Boy B is an average learner, good middos, family not as yeshivish, father works in a grocery store, and mother babysits. One spot left in the school…which boy does the school accept? …..

    The school accepts boy B…..why you ask? ……because boy A smokes, and the manahel is convinced that smoking will harm the other boys in his yeshiva. ….so regardless how great boy A is, the menahel knows that second hand smoke can kill, and therefore has the policy of accepting no child who smoke.

    In this discussion we need to compare apples to oranges…physical safety to our spiritual safety….yes, dressing tznius is a personal choice, and it may harm someone spiritually, but it will not physcially kill another individual. Allowing a child into a school without vaccinations will and is killing other children. There is no hypocracy to this scenerio.

  32. Where should your child go?… Stay home! Don’t endanger my child for your misguided beliefs. If there is a safe shot to prevent chicken pocks then why would I want my child to get the disease.
    There is a new meningitis shot. Bh we are so you know what a danger meningitis is? Bh we have the ability to prevent it.
    Don’t endanger my child.

  33. to yid you right 100%
    wake up people hakol bidey shamayim” no matter if your child get the vaccine or not, we should have “emuna”
    and be for each other and not against…….

  34. Grandma, do u believe in Daas Torah. If there even was a slight issue in giving shots the gedolim would’ve come out and said so.
    Did u ever ask a Rabbi if its permissable to place others in danger?

  35. I’m sure your playgroup morah wouldn’t be worried if all you said was about the varicella. What I am also sure of is that you probablly did not give a lot of other shots like MMR etc.
    If you choose a playgroup, you have to follow the Morah’s rules. Just like when you choose a school, you are essentially agreeing to follow whomever is the daas torah that the admin consults with.

  36. Regarding poster “Grandma”, She recommends a homeopathic cure for this. In case anyone doesnt know what Homeopathic is, let me explain. They take whatever herb or plant is said to be curative and water it down If the bottle says 3x its one part whatever herb to 1,000 water. If its 6x its 1 part whatever herb to a 1 million parts water . 3 of the 4 ingredients in Hylands teething gel is diluted to this amount. The fourth ingredient is diluted even further. You pay all this money for a tube of essentially just water. Next time you have a headache, fill up a bathtub with water, drop in a pain reliever such as advil or tylenol and let it dissolve. Mix it around and then drink some of it then let me know if that makes your headache better. This is what homeopathic is but to an even greater scale. With even greater dilutions on many products it would be akin to throwing an advil in the Lake in lakewood and hoping the water cures your headache. I am not saying there arent natural cures but the homeopathic market is a big ripoff. Dont spend $7.00 for a tube of teething water.

  37. I think the playgroup runners (?) should get educated on which vaccines are vital to be given, and by when they should be given. They should speak to their own pediatricians for guidance. All children need to be in a safe environment in all ways.

  38. To. 44: With all the playgroups I’ve sent to, I have never once been asked about vaccinations. However, if yours did, the Morah is inviting your child into her home. She can demand whatever makes her comfortable, and whatever she thinks is safest for the other children, and her own children. If she uses Dr. Shanik, then it makes sense for her to follow his guidelines.
    And while people may feel that the chicken pox vaccine is less important than others, and it may well be, it doesn’t mean that it is not important at all. I remember when an unvaccinated child brought chicken pox into my son’s playgroup and the Morahs 6 month old ended up with such a horrible case he was hospitalized.
    We have to give vaccinations to our healthy children to protect the sick and very young babies in our community.

  39. to yid: i thought ur post was extremely on the mark and very well written. ur point was clearly brought across. but i must add that u have shown an enormous amount of patience in re-explaining that point numerous times to all those commenters who kept missing the point. woww! amazing!!

  40. The pediatricians know which patients aren’t up to date on their immunizations. Why don’t they pressure the parents????

    They know when a baby is born, where’s the phone call as to why the infant isn’t coming into the office for appropriate check-ups and immunizations?

  41. The 6 week old baby who was never vaccinated, being too young, is “recovering rapidly” while the 7 month old patient of Dr. Shanik was, we can assume was vaccinated 3 times is not doing so well (he should have a refuah sheleima b’korov)-what does that tell you about the vaccination?

  42. Grandma:
    I am astonished by the ignorance in your comment. SIDS cancer virus!!! What is that? Which medical school did you hear that? It sounds like a collection of scary words. It is easier to just shout BOO!
    BTW, there is no timtum from injecting pigs blood, only from eating it. Chazer is not ossur behano’oh.

  43. maybe no one should drive in a car because some people dont put on seatbelts or double-buckle etc. what about cell phones in cars? i don’t see a witch hunt on that topic. these things affect everybody EVERY SINGLE DAY

  44. and.. why are all adults allowed in stores or shuls or takind kids in carpool if most adults DO NOT have their boosters? why is it only a problem with unvaccinated children?

    “Whooping Cough Is a Family Affair

    “The real danger of pertussis is in unknowingly transmitting the illness to a vulnerable baby, either directly or through other people,” Skoff says. Most whooping cough infections in children come from family members, most of whom have no idea they have the disease, studies show.

    Currently, about 80% to 90% of people in the U.S. have been vaccinated against whooping cough. No doubt many of them believe that means they’re immune to whooping cough indefinitely. But they’re not. Unlike some vaccines, which offer near-lifelong immunity, the pertussis vaccine wears off after 3-5 years.

    That’s plenty of time to get children through their most vulnerable phase of life. After that, though, “it’s easy, and relatively common, to catch pertussis again,” says Keyserling.

    Thanks to residual protection from the vaccine, whooping cough in adolescents and adults is usually mild. “Most often, it’s mistaken for a cold,” with a bothersome cough that lasts days to weeks after initial symptoms subside, according to Keyserling.”

  45. Maybe this is not the most appropriate thread to raise this issue, but a commenter raised a very important point which I feel is being completely overlooked in Lakewood as a whole. Any Morah bringing your child into her home has a right to expect a certain level of sechel and precautionary measures when it comes to health issues. As someone who has provided childcare services to the Lakewood community for over ten years, this expectation is in no way an infringement on the rights of the childs parents…it is basic respect for the health and well being of others. For years, I spent many (unpaid) sick days wondering why yet another mother decided to put myself, my family, and the rest of the group at risk of illness for _any_ reason.

  46. Maybe this is not the most appropriate thread to raise this issue, but a commenter raised a very important point which I feel is being completely overlooked in Lakewood as a whole. Any Morah bringing your child into her home has a right to expect a certain level of sechel and precautionary measures when it comes to health issues. As someone who has provided childcare services to the Lakewood community for over ten years, this expectation is in no way an infringement on the rights of the childs parents…it is basic respect for the health and well being of others. For years, I spent many (unpaid) sick days wondering why yet another mother decided to put myself, my family, and the rest of the group at risk of illness for _any_ reason. If a parent has an ill child, that child is required by halacha and by public health standards to stay home. The same can be said for unvaccinated children. They can remain unvaccinated, but may not attend playgroups or schools outside their own home. Parents who believe this strongly against vaccinations need to accept the full responsibility that such a decison implies.

  47. all you peaple think your all that handeling in med just let the doctor( who by the way did go to med school) tell you what to do

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