Do I or don’t I take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Rabbis and rabbinical organizations are giving their advice. Some adamant everyone must, others just as adamant that no one should. Opinion

Caryn Lipson ,

Haredi man receives vaccine
Haredi man receives vaccine
Flash 90

Today’s million-dollar question is – Do I or don’t I take the COVID-19 vaccine? To help their congregants, members, and the general Jewish public make this decision, rabbis and rabbinical organizations are giving their advice. Some are adamant that everyone must take it and others are just as adamant that no one should.

Rabbis who have said that it is important to vaccinate said there is nothing to worry about, that the vaccines have been proven safe. Some recommend asking your physician and if s/he advises you to do it, don’t delay. [1]

Other rabbis have a different, more cautious, approach. The rabbis of the Bnai Brak Beit Hora’h L’inyanei Refuah (an organization giving direction in Jewish law regarding medical issues), among others, recommend against taking the vaccine. They cite lack of clear benefit, many associated harms and the possibility of altering a person’s genetic code. The Sassover Rebber said: “I remember how Rabbi Elyashiv, ztz”l (whose knowledge of medical, technological, and scientific issues that he was involved with was undisputed) said, ‘How can we take responsibility for a drug that has only been around for a few years?’” [2]

Rabbi Michoel Green [3] asked a very important question on his FaceBook page [4], Dec. 17.

He wrote:

"I have read shocking reports of prominent orthodox rabbis (allegedly) endorsing this dubious vaccine.

"The UK advises women to avoid pregnancy [5] for three months after first dose.

"So, does that mean that these rabbis have recommended universal birth control or abstinence for three months?"

That’s a very striking observation. Rabbis are recommending that everyone get vaccinated without any apparent consideration of the consequences for all women of childbearing age who heed their advice and receive the vaccine. A decision regarding birth control and abstinence should never be made for an entire population; there are significant religious laws in this area and advice and guidance is ordinarily given by a rabbi to a couple on an individual basis, dependent upon their particular circumstances, not as a general blanket approval.

As it says in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 1:9: “ein chadash tachat hashemesh” – there is nothing new under the sun. And indeed, the question about taking a vaccine which will subsequently require use of birth control for several months has already been asked and answered by one of the most highly regarded American rabbis of the previous generation, Rav Moshe Feinstein, ztz”l. The questions along with his answers were compiled by his grandson, Rav Tendler, into the sefer Mesoras Moshe. Here is one of them.

Rav Shimon Eider asked R. Moshe (as he’s called), is a woman is allowed to get a vaccine for Rubella and afterwards use a form of birth control. Rav Moshe answered that unless there’s a real need for her to take the vaccine, “simply to take it, just because that’s what the doctors are suggesting, and afterwards to worry about getting pregnant, and there’s a difference of opinion among doctors if it’s three months or six months and the like, it doesn’t appear that you should listen to the doctors. And some people have such a faith and confidence in doctors that it borders on avodah zara [idol worship], ch”v.” (Even Haezer, page shin yud beis, gimmel. Emphasis added)

Other queries about vaccines and birth control received different responses, for which he explained his reasoning. No blanket authorization or denial was ever given.

The use of birth control or abstinence among young women who are vaccinated will effectively prevent Jewish children from being born for many months in the year(s) to come. It will effectively lower the Jewish birthrate and ultimately the Jewish population. I am reminded of what Miriam said to her father, Amram, who separated from his wife following Pharaoh’s decree against male offspring – He decreed against the boys and you are decreeing on both boys and girls. Do the rabbis advising everyone to take the vaccine not understand the ramifications of what they are recommending?

Now, perhaps these Rabbis believe that COVID-19 is so serious a threat that it is incumbent upon women to abstain from having children in order to get the vaccine. Let’s consider the facts we have about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Regarding effectiveness and safety:

  • The vaccines have not been proven to prevent transmission, only diminish mild symptoms [6], which means you can receive the vaccine and still become contagious without knowing it.
  • The vaccines have only received Emergency Use Authorization [7]. This means that the product is still considered unapproved [8] and further investigation will continue. (This investigation, however, will most likely stop after six months into the trials because trials will be unblinded so participants in the control group can be offered the option of taking the vaccine. [9])
  • Coronavirus vaccines come with a risk of making the illness worse in vaccinated people who are later exposed to the virus. [10]
  • One of the two Pfizer trial participants who died from the vaccine group was said to be immunocompromised prior to participation in the trial. [11] The CEO of Pfizer says he won’t cut the line[12] and will wait for everyone else to get the vaccine first.
  • The CDC is expecting a large number of systemic adverse events after healthcare workers receive the vaccine, particularly after the second dose, and is advising hospitals to stagger the vaccination of personnel and to provide personnel experiencing symptoms with time off. [13]
  • Volunteers in the vaccine trials have been hospitalized as a result of adverse effects, have had serious near fatal allergic reactions [14],[15] have developed Bell’s Palsy [16] (a type of facial paralysis which may be temporary or leave permanent effects), as well as other serious adverse events.
  • A doctor involved in supporting front-line workers administering the vaccine, claims that fatalities which will occur in nursing homes[17] within a day or two of residents receiving the vaccine will not be related to the vaccine.
  • The mRNA vaccine is a genetic vaccine that has never before been used in humans on a large scale. The long-term affects on our genes may not be known for many years to come. Moderna’s chief medical officer has described the company’s products as “hacking the software of life and permanently altering a person’s genetic code[18],[19]”

Regarding reliability:

  • Vaccine manufacturers have received immunity from liability for any death or injury that may result from the vaccine. [20]
  • Moderna has never before had a product approved for public use. [21]
  • Pfizer set a record for the largest health care fraud settlement and the largest criminal fine of any kind with $2.3 billion in 2009 [22].
  • The FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of pharmaceutical company fraud, fabrication, and scientific misconduct; they hide the information from the public and doctors. Evidence of obfuscation of adverse events has already been identified for the COVID-19 trials. [23]

Regarding necessity:

Here are the survival rates for COVID-19 patients as of Sept. 30:

Ages 0-19: 99.997%, Ages 20-49: 99.98%, Ages 50-69: 99.5%, Ages 70+: 94.6% [24]

If people are treated with hydroxychloroquine [25] or other known remedies that have been disregarded by the establishment in favor of waiting for a vaccine, the morbidity and mortality rate could easily come down and people can be treated and saved.

The CDC V-safe Active Surveillance for COVID-19 Vaccines report, reveals an incrementally increasing percentage of people who had the first dose of the vaccine, 2.8% % as of Dec. 18, had a health impact event where they were not able to perform normal daily activities, were unable to work, and required care from a doctor or health care professional. [26]

Regarding the vaccine and pregnant and nursing women and women planning on becoming pregnant.

The UK government recommends against giving the Pfizer vaccine (the one they are currently administering) to pregnant and nursing women since there is “no or limited data” on the vaccine. They also recommend against becoming pregnant for two months after the vaccines, admitting that they do not know what impact the vaccine has on fertility. [27] Vaccinating pregnant women for the flu shot resulted in a 4,250% greater rate of fetal death. [28]

The FDA has subsequently approved, and the CDC is now recommending the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women, nursing women, and women who want to become pregnant soon. [29] The Israeli Health Ministry is reversing previous policy and is now prioritizing COVID-19 vaccines for them, as well. [30] In addition, the Health Ministry is advising people with allergies to get the vaccine, providing they do not have allergies to the known vaccine ingredients. Several individuals have already had serious allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, even one with no known allergies. [31]

Rabbi Refael Szendro writes that Rav Moshe, in his book Igros Moshe, said that one may not unnecessarily undergo a medical procedure, even one that’s considered safe, since there may be unknown adverse effects (אגרות משה או"ח ח"ג סי צ). He says that every medical injection runs the risk of injury, even if doctors are not aware of any risk. (One such example is SIRVA, a serious shoulder injury caused by inflammation to the shoulder for which the US “vaccine court” pays damages. [32]) Putting ourselves at risk, unless medically required for the individual, is a violation of Jewish law. [33]

How are rabbis able to recommend this vaccine for women planning on becoming pregnant, or for anyone else for that matter? Are they not aware of the great and grave potential for harm that these vaccines carry? How could they not know?

Caryn Lipson is the founder of Nourishing Israel, a site dedicated to helping people make better informed decisions about nutrition and natural health in Israel. She is also a freelance researcher and writer.

[1] Kempinski, Yoni, European rabbis: Don’t delay, get vaccinated. "European Rabbis: Don't Delay, Get Vaccinated - Jewish World". Israel National News, 2020, /News/News.aspx/293232.

[2] Arutz Sheva staff, Sassover Rebbe cites Rabbi Elyashiv, warns of unproven safety of COVID vaccine. "Sassover Rebbe Cites Rabbi Elyashiv, Warns Of Unproven Safety Of COVID Vaccine - Haredi Community ". Israel National News, 2020, /News/News.aspx/293411.

[3]"Rabbi's Blog". Westbororabbi.Blogspot.Com, 2020, https://westbororabbi.blogspot.com/

[4] "Michoel Green". Facebook.Com, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/michoel.green.

[5] Atherton, Matt. "COVID Vaccine Fertility: Does The Covid Vaccine Affect Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant?". Express.Co.Uk, 2020, https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1373413/covid-vaccine-fertility-does-the-covid-vaccine-affect-your-chances-of-getting-pregnant-evg.

[6] Smith, Chris et al. "Dr. Fauci Says Early Coronavirus Vaccines Won’t Stop COVID-19 Infections – But That’S Okay". BGR, 2020, https://bgr.com/2020/10/27/coronavirus-vaccine-efficacy-explained-fauci-interview/

[7] "Emergency Use - Investigational Product". U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2019, https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/emergency-use-investigational-drug-or-biologic.

[8] Kinney, Robert L, Pharm.D., M.A., Americanthinker.Com, 2020, https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/12/were_covid19_vaccine_dangers_covered_up_prior_to_fda_authorization.html.

[9] "FDA & Manufacturers to Terminate Vaccine Safety Monitoring - The Highwire". The Highwire, 2020, https://thehighwire.com/videos/fda-manufacturers-to-terminate-vaccine-safety-monitoring/

[10] McCloskey, Jimmy. "America's Top Coronavirus Doctor Warns Vaccines Could Make Covid-19 Worse". Metro, 2020, https://metro.co.uk/2020/05/12/americas-top-coronavirus-doctor-warns-vaccine-make-covid-19-worse-12692519/

[11] Julian, Hana. "FDA: 2 Participants, 4 Controls Died In Pfizer Vaccine Trials". Jewishpress.Com, 2020, https://www.jewishpress.com/headline/fda-2-participants-4-controls-died-in-pfizer-vaccine-trials/2020/12/08/

[12] Feuer, W., 2020. [online] Pfizer’s CEO hasn’t gotten his Covid vaccine yet, saying he doesn’t want to cut in line. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/14/pfizers-ceo-hasnt-gotten-his-covid-vaccine-yet-saying-he-doesnt-want-to-cut-in-line.html

[13] "CDC Expects Vaccine Injury Epidemic - The Highwire". The Highwire, 2020, https://thehighwire.com/videos/cdc-expects-vaccine-injury-epidemic

[14] Reuters Staff, "Alaskan Health Worker Stable After Allergic Reaction To Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine". Coronavirus, 2020, https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/alaskan-health-worker-stable-after-allergic-reaction-to-pfizer-s-covid-19-vaccine-1.5234136.

[15] Boseley, Sarah, and Denis Campbell. "NHS Told Not to Give Covid Vaccine To Those With History Of Allergic Reactions". The Guardian, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/09/pfizer-covid-vaccine-nhs-extreme-allergy-sufferers-regulators-reaction.

[16] Rahhal, Natalie, US Health Editor. "Four Volunteers Who Got Pfizer's Vaccine Developed Bell's Palsy". Mail Online, 2020, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-9030943/Four-volunteers-got-Pfizers-vaccine-developed-Bells-palsy.html

[17] Bonifield, John. CNN. "Why Vaccinate Our Most Frail? Odd Vote Out Shows The Dilemma". CNN, 2020, https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/04/health/coronavirus-vaccine-acip-nursing-homes-question/index.html

[18] Webb, Whitney. "As Moderna’S Covid-19 Vaccine Takes The Lead, Its Chief Medical Officer’s Recent Promotion Of “Gene-Editing Vaccines” Comes To Light". The Last American Vagabond, 2020, https://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/modernas-covid-19-vaccine-takes-lead-chief-medical-officers-recent-promotion-gene-editing-vaccines

[19] Thune, Eyrun. "Modified RNA Has A Direct Effect On DNA". Phys.Org, 2020, https://phys.org/news/2020-01-rna-effect-dna.html

[20] Andrews, Peter. "Bubble Indemnity: Big Pharma Firms Will NOT Be Held Accountable For Side Effects Of Covid Vaccine". RT International, 2020, https://www.rt.com/news/496801-pharma-not-accountable-vaccine-effect/

[21] Robert Kuznia, CNN. "In Quest For Vaccine, US Makes 'Big Bet' On Company With Unproven Technology ". CNN, 2020, https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/01/us/coronavirus-moderna-vaccine-invs/index.html

[22] Llamas, Michelle, Miller, Emily, ed. "Pfizer | Company History, Products & Lawsuits, COVID-19 Vaccine". Drugwatch.Com, 2020, https://www.drugwatch.com/manufacturers/pfizer/.

[23] Seife, Charles. "The Food and Drug Administration Covers Up Evidence Of Fraud, Fabrication, And Scientific Misconduct". Slate Magazine, 2015, https://slate.com/technology/2015/02/fda-inspections-fraud-fabrication-and-scientific-misconduct-are-hidden-from-the-public-and-doctors.html

[24] Mora, Edwin. "CDC Data Shows Coronavirus Survival Rate: 99%-Plus for Ages 69 And Younger, 94.6% For Older". Breitbart, 2020, https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/09/25/cdc-data-shows-high-virus-survival-rate-99-plus-for-ages-69-and-younger-94-6-for-older/

[25] "Election's Over So AMA Says Docs Can Use Hydroxychloroquine To Treat COV". Www.Independentsentinel.Com, 2020, https://www.independentsentinel.com/elections-over-so-ama-says-docs-can-use-hydroxychloroquine-to-treat-cov/

[26] “V-safe Active Surveillance for Covid-19 Vaccines report”. Docworkspace, 2020, https://s.docworkspace.com/d/ACyY-frjtYA4gI7q5KadFA. Accessed 24 Dec 2020.

[27] "Pfizer COVID Jab Warning: No Breastfeeding, Avoid Pregnancy For 2 Months, Unknown Fertility Impacts". Lifesitenews, 2020, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pfizer-coronavirus-vaccine-not-safe-for-pregnant-or-breastfeeding-mums-potential-danger-for-fertility

[28] "4,250% Increase in Fetal Deaths Reported to VAERS After Flu Shot Given To Pregnant Women | Sovereign Independent UK". Web.Archive.Org, 1000, https://web.archive.org/web/20160531053517/http:/www.sovereignindependentuk.co.uk/2012/11/28/4250-increase-in-fetal-deaths-reported-to-vaers-after-flu-shot-given-to-pregnant-women

[29] Remaly, Jake. "Experts: Pregnant Women Can Get COVID-19 Vaccine". Webmd, 2020, https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20201218/experts-pregnant-women-can-get-covid-vaccine#1

[30] "Health Ministry Updates Priority List For COVID-19 Vaccines". The Jerusalem Post | Jpost.Com , 2020, https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/health-ministry-updates-priority-list-for-covid-19-vaccines-652738

[31] Reuters Staff. "Alaskan Health Worker Stable After Allergic Reaction To Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine". Coronavirus, 2020, https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/alaskan-health-worker-stable-after-allergic-reaction-to-pfizer-s-covid-19-vaccine-1.5234136

[32] "United States Wants to End Most Payouts For Leading Vaccination-Related Injury". Science | AAAS, 2020, https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/us-wants-end-most-payouts-leading-vaccination-related-injury

[33] Szendro, Rafeal. “The Vaccine Debate: Safe and effective or toxic and defective?”. Rodefshalom613.Org, 2020, https://www.rodefshalom613.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/The-Vaccine-Debate-by-Rafael-Szendro.pdf



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