The Matzav Shmooze: How Do I Convince My Sister To Vaccinate Her Children?

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Dear Matzav Shmooze,

I’m at my wit’s end. Ever since the measles outbreak, I’ve read through hundreds of comments on this site and many others, watching the anti vaxxers argue and spout their nonsense. I’ve spent hours arguing with neighbors and family about the issue and I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing is going to help them understand.

Show them the doctors, science and history of vaccines? They’ll cite their own medical sources that say the opposite.

Show them that Rabbonim and poskim who have said everyone should get vaccinated and they’ll quote their own Rabbonim and poskim who say the opposite.

Explain to them how herd immunity works and why we need them to vaccinate even though we already vaccinated and they’ll explain about viral shedding and how vaccinaters are the ones spreading the disease!

Tell them it’s an issue of lo saamod al dam reyecha and they’ll tell you that chayecha kodmin. 

It’s enough to make me want to tear my hair out.

Is there any way to get through to these people or should we stop trying? Because at this point I don’t see any way to make an anti vaxxer realize their mistake. If anyone has ever changed an anti vaxxers mind, please let me know what it is you told them that helped them understand.

At My Wit’s End

44 COMMENTS

  1. The stress you are causing yourself is much more unhealthy than the rare chance of becoming infected after being vaccinated. Eat well, sleep well, relax, & trust that Hashem is in control despite the antivaxxers.

  2. Can the anti-vaxxers bring at least 100 good sources to prove their point?
    On the other hand
    Can the pro-vaxxers bring at least 1 good source to prove their point?

  3. You see, here in it of itself lies the problem. Your letter is an assumption that your way is correct and your at wits end because since you decided you are right and the others are wrong they must listen to you.

    Who said you are right? Who said you have any right to convince others you are right?

    I happen to be up to date BH on all the shots for my family and extended family and I truly believe in vaccines. What I struggle with is when people like you decide that you are entitled to someone else’s opinion. You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to anyone elses.

    With the release yesterday in Lakewood of the Ocean County heath department saying schools may NOT keep un-vaccinated kids out of school it just goes to show how the mad hysteria is out of control. Yes, perhaps shots is the safer way to go but nobody is killing anyone else by not vaccinating. If there is a breakout of any disease the reality would be the same. The flu kills more people a year then the measles and if there is an outbreak of a flu in a school the same measures would be taken as if there was a measles outbreak.

    Do as you feel with your family but please don not think you are correct to impose your opinions on any other family. Like you, the too have the right to choose.

    • > really

      “With the release yesterday in Lakewood of the Ocean County heath department saying schools may NOT keep un-vaccinated kids out of school”

      As worded, I could see that it is a lie pure and simple. Without even investigating it is obvious that the Health department has no authority to force any school to take any child. In terms what the Health department actually stated as reported by the jerseyshore web site dated 08 November 2018:

      > Non-immunized children are not automatically excluded from school

      All that means is that they do not interfere until there is a reason to interfere. As it continues:

      > Where there is a confirmed case of the measles, children “may be subject to an order of exclusion,” Rumpf said.

      > The local health department—in this case, OCHD—would determine if an unvaccinated student should be excluded from school, health department Public Health Coordinator Daniel E. Regenye said.

  4. ask them if frum doctors are knowingly harming their patients by administering vaccines. and if they are harming their patients what would be their motive.

  5. Just keep voting Democrat and they will make vaccinations mandatory. Mayor DeBlasio has already done that here in NYC Public schools. The Democrats love intruding into ones personal life. No need to worry. NY and NJ is almost completely Democrat now, so it will be the law very soon. Enjoy your soda and chips in the meantime. Keep using the public towel in your Shul.

  6. Convincing anyone to get the measles is silly because the fact is that over 85% of children who were vaccinated get the measles. That’s because most people are unaware that this vaccination has to be repeated every few years even as adults, otherwise it has no affect since a single vaccination does not grant lifetime immunity. Which is why even teenagers today are coming out with measles. Before 1965 all children got the measles and hardly any child ever died from it (although big pharma would like you to believe otherwise).

    • Over 85% of children who were vaccinated get the measles?! Need to repeat the vaccine every few years?! What have you been reading?!

  7. If I wish to drive with my kids unsecured by seatbelts or infant seats, why is it anyone else’s business? Despite the obvious ridiculousness of that remark, some people who say they aren’t anti-vaxxers seem to see the logic in that argument when it comes to not inoculating one’s children.

    • The glaringly clear difference is that seat-belts and infant seats PROTECT people and DO NOT harm them. By sharp diametric opposite contrast, vaccines DO NOT protect people but do very severely HARM them!

  8. to all pro VAXes you people are so naive and believe everything your frum doctor tells you
    there is a world out there of the medical field and yes there are different opinions and there are dangers involved as all shots are full of mercury – aluminum … which are toxic for some people so before all the rabbis scream lo samod al dam raechu we have a right not to vaccinate as who said your life is more important than mine.

    so stop screaming LIKE LUNATICS AGAINST US AND WHAT DOES YOUR SHTIEBEL ROV KNOW ABOUT THIS MATTER ANYWAYS
    WE HAVE GEDOLIM AND T0P DOCTORS ON OUR SIDE SO BE QUIET

  9. Many doctors have come forth and stated that in medical school, the only thing that is taught is the vaccine schedule and that “Vaccines are safe and effective”. They are not taught the ingredients or the risks vs. benefits.

    They receive a glossy edition of the journal of Pediatrics on a weekly basis which continually discusses the benefits of vaccines.

    Doctors practice according to their education.

    • Ahhh, so frum doctors aren’t deliberately poisoning our kids, they are simply too dumb, uneducated, incurious and ignorant to realize how dangerous vaccines are. They are also (by necessity) liars, since they actually *DO* claim to know exactly what vaccines consist of, how immunity works, who shouldn’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, and how effective the vaccines actually are.

      Thank you for this glimpse into the tortured logic of an anti-vaxxer.

      • they do not claim to know at all
        Dr Shanik himself said he did not do any research and relies fully on the CDC and AAP
        there is a video of him saying that!!!

  10. Maybe they are right regarding viral shedding and Chayecha Kodmim? How do you know they are “making a mistake”?
    Thank you to “really” for one of the most mature comments that has been posted on this topic.

    There is a very powerful documentary called “The truth about vaccines”. Medical professionals give you the science and history of vaccines and their personal experiences. They show you graphs and data and discuss the ingredients in the vaccines. Although there is no pritzus on it at all, I would recommend that only woman see it, because some of the women being interviewed may be wearing a drop low cut.

  11. To Anonymous at 1:15:
    I did NOT state my own opinion in regard to whether or not doctors are knowingly hurting children. I repeated what DOCTORS THEMSELVES have said.
    Doctors give statins and all kinds of medicines which are all questionable and could be debated.
    The nature of western medicine is that it is more intrusive, has risks and benefits.
    Doctors are trained in Western medicine.

    • If your feelings are hurt when you’re called out for spouting lies and lunacy then you should probably stop spouting lies and lunacies.
      “Doctors themselves have said” that they don’t know what’s in vaccines, how effective they are, and what the risks are, yet they continue to forcefully advocate their usage?
      “Western medicine” as opposed to what – shamans?

  12. Somehow… More and more people are not vaccinating, but the ex-vaxxers are firm. You cannot convince them. Maybe it’s time to look into why.

  13. Harvard Immunologist: Unvaccinated Children Pose ZERO Risk to Anyone and Here’s Why
    My name is Tetyana Obukhanych. I hold a PhD in Immunology. I am writing this letter in the hope that it will correct several common misperceptions about vaccines in order to help you formulate a fair and balanced understanding that is supported by accepted vaccine theory and new scientific findings.
    author of the book Vaccine Illusion
    Do unvaccinated children pose a higher threat to the public than the vaccinated?

    It is often stated that those who choose not to vaccinate their children for reasons of conscience endanger the rest of the public, and this is the rationale behind most of the legislation to end vaccine exemptions currently being considered by federal and state legislators country-wide.

    You should be aware that the nature of protection afforded by many modern vaccines – and that includes most of the vaccines recommended by the CDC for children – is not consistent with such a statement.

    I have outlined below the recommended vaccines that cannot prevent transmission of disease either because they are not designed to prevent the transmission of infection (rather, they are intended to prevent disease symptoms), or because they are for non-communicable diseases.

    People who have not received the vaccines mentioned below pose no higher threat to the general public than those who have, implying that discrimination against non-immunized children in a public school setting may not be warranted.
    Measles Outbreaks
    Can discrimination against families who oppose vaccines for reasons of conscience prevent future disease outbreaks of communicable viral diseases, such as measles?

    Measles research scientists have for a long time been aware of the “measles paradox.” I quote from the article by Poland & Jacobson (1994) “Failure to Reach the Goal of Measles Elimination: Apparent Paradox of Measles Infections in Immunized Persons.”

    Arch Intern Med 154:1815-1820:

    “The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons.”

    Further research determined that behind the “measles paradox” is a fraction of the population called low vaccine responders.

    Low-responders are those who respond poorly to the first dose of the measles vaccine. These individuals then mount a weak immune response to subsequent RE-vaccination and quickly return to the pool of “susceptibles” within 2-5 years, despite being fully vaccinated.

    Re-vaccination cannot correct low-responsiveness: it appears to be an immuno-genetic trait. The proportion of low-responders among children was estimated to be 4.7% in the USA.

    Studies of measles outbreaks in Quebec, Canada, and China attest that outbreaks of measles still happen, even when vaccination compliance is in the highest bracket (95-97% or even 99%). This is because even in high vaccine responders, vaccine-induced antibodies wane over time. Vaccine immunity does not equal life-long immunity acquired after natural exposure.

    It has been documented that vaccinated persons who develop breakthrough measles are contagious. In fact, two major measles outbreaks in 2011 (in Quebec, Canada, and in New York, NY) were re-imported by previously vaccinated individuals.

    Taken together, these data make it apparent that elimination of vaccine exemptions, currently only utilized by a small percentage of families anyway, will neither solve the problem of disease resurgence nor prevent re-importation and outbreaks of previously eliminated diseases.

    Is discrimination against conscientious vaccine objectors the only practical solution?

    The majority of measles cases in recent US outbreaks (including the recent Disneyland outbreak) are adults and very young babies, whereas in the pre-vaccination era, measles occurred mainly between the ages 1 and 15.

    Natural exposure to measles was followed by lifelong immunity from re-infection, whereas vaccine immunity wanes over time, leaving adults unprotected by their childhood shots. Measles is more dangerous for infants and for adults than for school-aged children.

    Despite high chances of exposure in the pre-vaccination era, measles practically never happened in babies much younger than one year of age due to the robust maternal immunity transfer mechanism.

    The vulnerability of very young babies to measles today is the direct outcome of the prolonged mass vaccination campaign of the past, during which their mothers, themselves vaccinated in their childhood, were not able to experience measles naturally at a safe school age and establish the lifelong immunity that would also be transferred to their babies and protect them from measles for the first year of life.

    Luckily, a therapeutic backup exists to mimic now-eroded maternal immunity. Infants as well as other vulnerable or immunocompromised individuals, are eligible to receive immunoglobulin, a potentially life-saving measure that supplies antibodies directed against the virus to prevent or ameliorate disease upon exposure.

    Conclusion: Discrimination Against Unvaccinated Children Unnecessary

    In summary:

    1) due to the properties of modern vaccines, non-vaccinated individuals pose no greater risk of transmission of polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and numerous non-type b H. influenzae strains than vaccinated individuals do, non-vaccinated individuals pose virtually no danger of transmission of hepatitis B in a school setting, and tetanus is not transmissible at all;

    2) there is a significantly elevated risk of emergency room visits after childhood vaccination appointments attesting that vaccination is not risk-free;

    3) outbreaks of measles cannot be entirely prevented even if we had nearly perfect vaccination compliance; and

    4) an effective method of preventing measles and other viral diseases in vaccine-ineligible infants and the immunocompromised, immunoglobulin, is available for those who may be exposed to these diseases.

    Taken together, these four facts make it clear that discrimination in a public school setting against children who are not vaccinated for reasons of conscience is completely unwarranted as the vaccine status of conscientious objectors poses no undue public health risk.
    Sincerely Yours, Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD
    See full article on Website

    • This all sounds nice, but the fact is that most parents who don’t vaccinate against one disease, don’t do any vaccinations. Therefore, it’s important to keep them out of schools.

    • Utter Rubbish!
      https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/appeal-to-false-authority-who-is-tetyana-obukhanych/

      Who is going to believe her nonsense about vaccinated adults being just as susceptible as unvaxxed kids to the measles?! I am not ‘pro-vax’, I am actually a modified vaxxer, but that’s irrelevant. This article is total rubbish. Of all the families of anti-vaxxers that you know who have more than one child infected with measles — did any of their parents come down with it?! Why not? Tetyana claims that adults are getting it more than children, that vaxxed are just as susceptible — and none of the parents (who were vaxxed) are getting it now with their unvaxxed children!!!!!

      You may have a point that the whole vaccination parsha is not so clear-cut, but don’t bring proofs with possibly bogus credentials that the actual “facts” therein are clearly nonsensical.

  14. To Somehow – it is exactly what you wrote that is frightening…That is why we can’t keep quiet.
    You are putting more and more people in danger by convincing them not to vaccine, and for some reason you aren’t able to see the simple logic that before there were more and more people convinced not to take vaccines – we didn’t hear of measles anymore, and now that it became in style and more and more people are unfortunately getting convinced – there is an outbreak all over. The Rabbonim are able to speak out and have, the rest of us – what can we do other than daven that Hashem should protect Klal Yisrael.

  15. You know what they say, when a lie has an ounce of truth in it, its the best kind of lie. And that is because there IS a slight risk to live vaccines. But the actual disease is much much worse. So the people who don’t want to vaccinate are using the wrong statistic and turning it over to say it (the vaccine complication rate is worse) the other way. That’s why it gets confusing. But on the well worn path of parents who have vaccinated they can do the following to help minimize and make them more comfortable with it:

    1. Request a single dose or ask if the vaccine has Thimerosal (mercury component which most don’t have anyways)
    2. Ask if they can take only the MMR and not the combined MMRV (with varicella)
    3. Spread out so that only MMR is taken at one visit, don’t do multiple vaccines in one visit

    That’s IT. That’s what I did and the pediatrician was very receptive to it.

  16. I do not vaccinate my children for a few reasons. You must first understand that the dr makes money when you come to his office for whatever reason and would like you to come in for the flu shots. His testimony is invalid. Big pharmaceutical same thing. CDC all full of curruption. So no one can be trusted 100%.
    The cdc will weigh the pros and cons of everything and will decide for all of us what they think is the proper procedure. There may be a korban or two but it’s ok for the greater good.
    I had the measles and chicken pox as a child and I lived to tell the tale.
    I am not required to take a shot for the greater good of the world, my life and health comes first. I don’t have a requirement to be part of the herd community.
    Thank you to all vaxers for making a herd community and participating for the greater good of society (taking the risk for me).
    Now that there is enough followers my children are no longer in a position of imminent danger and I don’t have to vaccinate.
    As a child I got sick after every one of these shots and I will not impose that on my children. When there is an epidemic that is life or death I will reconsider my decision. Until then respect is a two way street, I respect your decision respect mine.

    • I love the way everyone pushes aside their doctors as “making money from every visit”. Welcome to Israel where you have some excellent doctors, American and Israeli and other backgrounds, who also encourage vaccination — and guess what, they don’t give the shots, so they make more money on sick visits than on vaccines!!! And the health funds don’t make money on shots, they spend it!!! So everyone ought to stop using money-hungry doctors as the punching bag in this debate…… there are two sides to it, and it’s NOT ABOUT GREED!!

  17. To Joseph. I absolutely respect your decision, and I trust you will do likewise and respect my decision to keep your kids out of my schools.

  18. Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a has refrained from coming out against parents that dont immunize even with tremendous pressure from many individuals trying to have him do that (I know a rav who is extremely close to Rav Chaim Shlit”a).

    Rav Chaim’s silence is very very telling.

    The issue that I strongly believe is that the people that are posting and blogging which such untold animosity, hatred and scorn are empty, amay aratzim. Lets take an example in Lakewood, where from over 50,000 children, 3-4 children came down with measles (which they are already almost all better) what has happened? Over 125 children are not being let into school (illegally and against halacha)!! Where has this hatred and split come from??? Who made this decision to ostracize part of klal yisroel?? A metzorah is chushuv kmaas because they are not allowed with the rest of the klal. Embarrassing someone braabim is akin to killing someone and the person that did it losses his chelek loolam habbah. WE are talking about chamuros sh’bchamuros and WHO is making these decisions. IN one case which I know it is a lady in charge of a very large girls school that has went through “the cesspool of college”, YES, she decides things with you probably would need 72 members of sanhedrin to decide. SO yes, all the very competent college educated, (with minds full of kfira, and totally the opposite of daas torah) are the ones making decisions. THis goes without saying that when it comes to there own relatives they allow them into the schools even though they are not immunized. it seems people are really very leshem shamayim overhere??!!! I wonder what are peoples intentions when bashing, denigrating and embarrassing parents and children of the “group” that does not give the MMR vaccine due to having a horrible real life experience where their child was born perfectly normal, verbal and smiling and interactive and after receiving the MMR became autistic. Is it the people that are bashing that are putting up with never having a shabbos meal without having food thrown all over the floor or at the parents, or do they have to contend with going years not being able to sleep more than 2 hours a night because their child is breaking walls, running out of the house or smearing feces on the walls?? What happened to one of the traits of yidden being rachmanim??!! how dare you close your hearts and feeling to these suffering parents and siblings. Do you really think that because your life is normal and you were not tested that you can say and do what you please?? How in heavens name do you discount what hundreds of special needs parents say, for no ulterior motives, in favor of supposed cold science and skewed empirical data. I believe that there will be retribution for hurting this group of tzaddikim and tziddkonious if not in this world then defenetlye in the next world.

    • To Joshua:

      You really have very eloquently and very forcefully clearly said what absolutely has very long need to be said and absolutely must be said on this extremely serious problem!!

      Yivarech’cha HaShem!! May G-D Bless You and Yours!!

  19. To mr anonymous, if your children are immunized what worries do you have? They will be immune anyway. If the vaccine isn’t fool proof and that’s why you are worried, that’s precisely why I am worried.
    Secondly why do you think you have any bigger right to the school system (or shul) more that I do that you feel you have rights to ban people from entering. When you own your own retail store you are more than welcome to put a sign banning any non vaccinated customers. Until then you are more than welcome to put you and your entire family in a box and controlled all the air they breath so that they are safe. (Please don’t)
    Again respect your boundaries. Plublic space is not for sale and you can’t ban people that don’t agree with you.

    • > Joseph

      “why do you think you have any bigger right to the school system (or shul) more that I do ”

      Your argument, if valid, would mean you expect (for example) my shul to allow you and your family to attend completely naked as if it was a nudist colony?

      My point is that the question is not about “right” but about the institution’s rules. We have our rabbinic and medical authorities who attend and are hired to provide us with the all necessary positions for our elected officials (elected by vote open to all members) to set our shul (and school where relevant) rules and policies.

  20. Every one can do whatever they feel is the right thing to do ,stop accusing people that what they are doing is wrong ,everyone speaks to their own rabbinim and goes according to his psak .stop the Sinas Chinam

  21. Boy did the Steelers whip up on Cam Newton and the overrated Panthers. Maybe it was in zchus of showing solidarity with the Yidden who lost their lives.

  22. For a while I really tried pushing myself to understand the anti vax stance. I have so many people around me not vaccinating and I wanted to understand and maybe join.. But after reading all the portfolios availble I have to say it did not convince me. Most of the tests and proof come from animals and not humans. There isnt a lot of proof ; its very circumstancial and not based enough on facts… I also dont see those kids being calmer or healthier…
    I came to the conclusion that ein chadash tachas hashemesh.. If hkbh allowed us to discover how to avoid these diseases then I will use it. Just like Epidural.

  23. Here is a research letter about academic medical center personnel serving on pharma boards with annual compensation:
    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/JAMA/articlepdf/1853147/jld130049.pdf

    Here is an explanation of what academic medical centers do, including run vaccination clinics:
    https://www.ummchealth.com/About_Us/Academic_Medical_Center/Why_Should_You_Choose_an_Academic_Medical_Center/Why_Should_You_Choose_an_Academic_Medical_Center_.aspx

    Excerpt:
    Community health services
    Teaching hospitals also serve their patients and the larger community by offering important services, including:
    • Health fairs that offer medical tests and screenings.
    • Support groups for various medical conditions.
    • Patient information centers.
    • Community services, such as AIDS services, nutritional programs, senior services and crisis prevention.
    • Vaccination clinics.
    • Research to help find new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat illnesses.

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