Covid-19 Vaccine - Shmu's Views on Taking It or Wait and See
Updated: Feb 5, 2022
by Shmuel Ben Shlomi
It is a fact that Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef in Israel has urged Jews to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and he has even gone as far as to say that it is obligatory according to halacha. While there are several respected rabbis who disagree with these "assumptions," such as Rabbi Alon Anava, Rabbi Michoel Green and the Sassover Rebber (Rabbi Yosef Dovid Teitelbaum) who have voiced their concerns over the current slate of vaccines in their as yet properly untested forms. However, more and more the cautionary rabbis are being shut down or ignored by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the various rabbinic courts across the globe. With Rabbi Yosef and other rabbis joining the chorus for Jews taking the vaccine what are we, the Jewish followers of Torah supposed to do? Blindly follow the advice of our beloved rabbis', look to the disagreeing medical community for direction or have a wait and see attitude as herd immunity over the next several months begins to make its inevitable impact ?
The controversy over these particular vaccines has more to do with the speed at which the FDA and drug companies were pressured to create it and make it available for public use. I have no problem with vaccines if they have been tested and vetted properly, which in all cases of past vaccines has taken years to ensure their true effectiveness on the disease they are designed to protect and immunize against; and to make sure that there are no serious and long term side effects or dangers from the vaccine itself. This takes a lot of time in research, trials beginning in the petri dish, next the move to lab animals - usually rats or guinea pigs, then more developed animals like chimpanzees and orangutans, followed by a couple of years with healthy younger human volunteers and finally another few years with older and ill human subjects.
This has not been done properly in the case of the Covid-19 vaccines currently being developed by the various big pharma companies. An excellent example of the proper way to research and test vaccines was the polio vaccine. From creation to distribution took approximately 45 years. That's how long it took to ensure it would effectively curtail that awful disease with as little long term damage to the body as possible. Smallpox vaccine took several decades before research showed its safety and effectiveness. These Covid-19 vaccines have had a total of 4 months at minimum and 7 months at maximum of research. To date (March 2021) nearly 1000 people in the United States alone have died as a result of taking the vaccine with countless others showing from mild to severe reactions to it. And, the long term effects of taking them will not be known for decades to come. This current push to inoculate the population without the proper and safe testing of these vaccines is very poor medicine, dangerous in the least and criminal in the extreme.
There have been some within our Community of Israel who have assumed, based upon my comments about the Covid-19 vaccines being made and distributed, that I am anti-vaccine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having had a Nuclear Medicine Technology, Nuclear Cardiology practice and been a Medical Technologist and graduate nurse from 1972 until my retirement in 2015 I am very pro-vaccine. Vaccines have saved untold millions of lives since their first serious research in the 1800's to today. They have literally changed the face of medicine and how we humans deal with pandemics and viral diseases that have led to longer and healthier lifespans, particularly for those on both ends of the life-cycle -- the young and elderly. My problem is not with vaccines but with the current trend relating to the Covid-19 vaccine and its release to the public without proper research of the real advantages versus the dangers of long-term (and in some cases with this vaccine - short term dangers). Vaccines, in order to being properly vetted for their effectiveness take years, sometimes decades, in the lab before making them available for public inoculation. This has not been done for the Covid-19 vaccines. For reasons of unfounded public fear, governmental control and financial gain these vaccines are being distributed with only a few months of research and development with absolutely no idea of its long term effects on the health of the person receiving it or any future offspring they may bring into this world. Very poor medicine by any Hippocratic Oath standard, regardless of what a rabbinic court may recommend. An acceptable standard of care must be maintained and that has not occurred for this "pandemic" and its supposed cures.
After all of this I must add a disclaimer. I am no longer a part of the medical community and have not been in over six years since retirement and therefore cannot give medical advice. What I can do is relate the facts as they are currently known, facts I think I have adequately laid out in the above statements. In the end it is up to each person to do the research for themselves, get sound advice from those medical and rabbinical sources you trust and make the best decision you can for yourself as it pertains to either getting or rejecting the coronavirus vaccines. May HaShem guide you in all your seeking.
I will close with this one promise from Psalms 91, a psalm of Moshe Rabbenu, our greatest Rabbi:
"I will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day. The pestilence that prowls in darkness, nor the deadly plague that ravages at noon. A thousand will fall at my left side and ten thousand at my right side but it shall not come near me....I have proclaimed Adonai is my refuge, the Supreme One I have made my dwelling. No evil shall befall me, and no plague shall come near my house."
Baruch HaShem and Shalom!