The Uneducated Teaching the Unvaccinated

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By Sarah Levine, BSN RN & Dr. Blima Marcus, DNP ANP-BC RN OCN

The regional measles outbreak has sparked major controversy within the Jewish community. Heavily-populated Jewish communities are seeing dozens of cases of the measles, and it’s only getting worse. Confirmed cases in Chicago occurred after a family traveled to Lakewood with a newly vaccinated child who didn’t yet have time to develop immunity. This child contracted the measles in New Jersey, returned to Illinois, and exposed as many as 80 children in a daycare.

Some may point to a variety of reasons as to why the measles epidemic is so concentrated in Orthodox Jewish communities. This article will focus on the the biggest one: lack of education leaving people vulnerable to misinformed, devious, and outright propaganda efforts which attempt to paint vaccination as a dangerous and money-driven policy.

Anti-vaccination propaganda is led by uneducated and clearly biased Orthodox men and women in our communities. The Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association, a national group of frum nurses, received many requests for information regarding vaccines and its safety. A group of 30 nurses, with varying professional degrees and credentials, formed a Vaccine Task Force. The goal of the task force is to examine where frum people were receiving their misguided vaccine information, what the content was, and to provide proper education and allow for question and answers on the topic of vaccines and its safety.

Our findings are both astounding, yet unsurprising. We learned that the Akeres Habayis hotline offers vaccine lectures delivered by ill-reputed anti-vaxx activists. One nurse called in and was appalled to hear vaccine information shared by a Binyomin Rothstein, a Maryland physician whose license was revoked after a decade of probation for practicing subpar medicine – including treating patients for illnesses such as pneumonia and heart attacks with injections of vitamins and injections of hydrogen peroxide.

Toni Bark, another frequent lecturer on this hotline, is a holistic practitioner who sells beauty products online. Bark was discussing the (nonexistent) link between vaccines and infant mortality rates.

The founders of Akeres Habayis also publish and distribute a propaganda pamphlet called the Vaccine Safety Handbook: P.E.A.C.H. Magazine – Parents Educated and Advocating for their Children’s Health. This comforting and benign sounding pamphlet is actually a collection of virulent propaganda against vaccines and the entire medical system. The Task Force received a copy and found it full of outright lies, misleading graphs, and inaccuracies. Quotes in this pamphlet are taken out of context, statistics are twisted and distorted, and most of the sources were found to be openly biased.

Furthermore, some of the information in the pamphlet has been taken word-for-word from anti-vaccination websites, implying that the distributors of the pamphlet made no efforts to vet or substantiate the information they regurgitate.

It truly is the blind leading the blind.

Another propaganda effort is the creation of WhatsApp groups disguised as “educational courses” which recruit participants to “learn about vaccines”. When an OJNA member attempted to join such a group, she was rejected due to her “preconceived biases.” When we questioned the qualifications of the administrators, we were told that they are “mothers with brains” who have done “hundreds of hours of research” and know how to read a study.

We beg to differ. Throwing around titles and credentials may seem arrogant, but higher education confers a degree of knowledge and experience not found in those without these rigorous educational requirements. Knowing how to read a study is key, and it takes years to learn how to do it properly. If you’re not familiar with hazard ratios, risk ratios of odds ratios, you don’t know what you’re reading. If you’re unfamiliar with p-values and correlation coefficients, you can’t full appreciate and understand what you’re reading. We listened to the hotline, we read the magazine, and we planted moles in the WhatsApp “course.”

Our focus and involvement have shown us that we found the exact same thing everywhere: almost all disputes against vaccinations are not fact based, not evidenced based, taken out of context, or incorrectly quoted. Not only did we dig into and find the false data provided by these propaganda efforts, but we have refutations and true answers to every lie and misleading sentence.

Based on science we understand how vaccinations work, we understand herd immunity to be just as important as receiving vaccinations, and we identified no correlation or causation between vaccines and either autism or SIDS. Based on science and research, we found there to be a very small percentage of side effects to the vaccine, but severe and sometimes fatal effects from non-vaccination.

We aren’t here to argue, and we aren’t here to make noise. We know there are skeptics and people who may disagree. We want you to ask questions, we want to hear what you have to say, and we want to do our best to answer the correct way – with evidence, with facts, with confidence. Ask us, and we will answer you.

Sincerely, The Nurses of the OJNA Vaccine 

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  1. FINALLY! As the husband of an anti vaxxer, I have been waiting for an article like this. Without the hate and insults. I would love to present my wife with a response to the above mentioned materials. If I may ask please follow up with specific point by point rebuttals of these claims so that we can see the problems with the anti vaccination crowds claims.
    Thank you again for being decent and respectful to us who are sincere and ehrliche people.

  2. And yet NOT ONE VAXXER throughout these months of Matzav’s articles was able to explain intelligently how it is possible that they can contract the measles despite being immunized?

    All they were able to say “it was answered many times” or “see below”. NO it was not. The question was posed many many times but not one vaxxer gave any response besides calling you a rasha, a rodef and whatnot. That’s not a response to this logical question.

    • The simple fact is that it has been answered many times on many websites. Measles may be contracted despite the measles vaccine because the measles vaccine did not take affect. CDC states that the dual doses of vaccine takes affect in “normal” people at a rate of about 97% (a little lower when only the first dose is given).

      Over time some people’s immune system weakens, so that even when they were immune when younger – whether the immunity was because of a vaccine or from having suffered actual measles – they may lose the immunity as the immunity system weakens from old age.

      • #1 It has NEVER been answered. Prove me wrong.
        #2 How is it that measles vaccine did not take affect when the last time these adults who now contracted measles were vaccinated was when they were about 6 years old? Ain’t make no sense.
        #3 Assuming the 97% is accurate, how do you know if you fall in this category or if you’ll contract the measles nevertheless?
        #4 People who contracted natural measles are immune for life.

        After all is said and done, the safest and healthiest is for young children to contract measles, rather than contracting it as adults which is extremely dangerous and rather than ch”v becoming autistic or getting other neurological and head injuries.

        • Not safe, not healthy, you just want one or two in a thousand to die (which is what would happen if everyone just stopped taking vaccines), and you hope its not you

            According to the CDC and VAERS it’s the vaxxers who got measles that died and not 1 who got the childhood measles naturally died.

  3. Let these “educated” doctors and nurses have a public discussion with whistleblowers senior CDC scientist Dr. William W. Thompson and pharmacist Dr. John Virapen on the MMR vaccine and autism and then come back to us.

    • Matzav, will you have the courage to let any of these whistle-blowers come forward so that the vaxxers will hear it all loud and clear instead of going around with gullible fantasies?

      • learn the words Cherry Pick. how ironic around 900000 doctors in america and antivaxers hold up a handful of doctors as the only ones who know the “Truth”. who is the one believing in fantasies.

  4. So the child who was immunized exposed 80 somewhat immunized kids? So…whats the problem…they were vaccinated. They should be immune…no? Im confused.

    • This is exactly what logical people are asking. But then you get Georgeg (above) with some convoluted answers which makes absolutely no sense.

      • Kids in daycare are generally newborns. Had their mother gotten the childhood measles disease naturally, her immunity would have protected her newborns. Babies whose mother got the vaccination are indeed vulnerable, just like the mother is unless she keeps her vaccination up to date every 3-5 years.

        • if that was the case. than the boomers immunity would have passed on to their children and their would have been no need for vaccines on the 70s and 80s. but go ahead continue reading utter garbage and arguing with medical professionals over medical science. quick question do you do your own electrical wiring? or install your own plumbing pipes and all?

  5. Anonymous at 10.48. The simple answer is the vaccine is not 100 % foolproof. It might only be 90 % percent effective. But I prefer that my child will be from the 90 % vaccinated and be protected then to be from the unvaccinated and be 100% unprotected. The 10% chance is something I cannot control but at least I did my best.
    Another point is that a lot of the people who are getting the measles are actually the people who are not vaccinated. You can ask me to prove it which I cannot since I am relying on the information I have seen online but then again so are you relying on your online research. So I am an authority on this as much as anyone else.
    But the question you asked is actually a question on the non vaccinators. A common reason not to vaccinate is because “they say” good hygiene will make sure that the illnesses will not spread and 50 years ago they did not have the level of hygiene we have today. So the question is why is it spreading (amongst the non vaccinated) if your hygiene and sanitary conditions are so good today? Surely it should be self contained and die out by itself and yet it is just spreading. Imagine an outbreak of any other disease Chas VeShalom. You so sure it can be contained easily???!!!

    • Still doesn’t make sense that you’d rather your child be from 90% vaccinated and ch”v get measles as adults when it’s extremely dangerous (and many die from it according to the CDC and VAERS) when it’s much safer and healthier to be from children who get measles at a young age and are 100% immune for life and ZERO died from it according to the CDC and VAERS.

      “Another point is that a lot of the people who are getting the measles are actually the people who are not vaccinated.” Very rarely do adults who were not vaccinated get it. Most of the time they get it as young kids. And those outbreaks you hear about lately are 99.99% from the vaccinate.

      “A common reason not to vaccinate is because “they say” good hygiene will make sure that the illnesses will not spread and 50 years ago they did not have the level of hygiene we have today.” Then it was a normal childhood disease like chickenpox and there were hardly ever any death from young children – according to doctors and nurses.

      “So the question is why is it spreading (amongst the non vaccinated) if your hygiene and sanitary conditions are so good today?” Because one is NOT immune for life with the double dosage of vaccination they got as kids.

  6. “Ask us and we will answer you.”
    Ok, I am asking, please answer.

    I would like to know which studies show that aluminum injected into our children has been proven to be safe. I also would like to know which studies were done on the other questionable ingredients in vaccines, such as human DNA, human blood products, polysorbate 80, formaldehyde, etc. I would also like to know which studies show that the current CDC vaccine schedule has been proven safe for our children.

    New scientific studies in animals are showing that injected aluminum travels from the injection site to organs in the body, including the brain. Chances are it is doing the same in our children when they are injected with aluminum adjuvants. Question: Is it safe for the brain to have aluminum in it? (Please do not compare ingested aluminum, which is mostly excreted by the body, to injected aluminum that is retained in the body.)

    Another question: I am sure you are familiar with Dr. Stenley Plotkin who literally wrote the book on vaccines. In a deposition in January 2018 in Michigan (Matheson-Plotkin – available online), Aaron Siri asked Dr. Plotkin (page 246): “But the study to determine whether Dtap or Tdap does not cause autism has not been done, right?” Dr. Plotkin answered,”A study that would definitely show that it doesn’t has not been done, but there’s no evidence that it does.” Aaron Siri asked Dr. Plotkin (page 247), “I’m asking you, as a scientist, can you make the statement that vaccines do not cause autism if you don’t know whether Dtap or Tdap cause autism?” Dr. Plotkin responded, “As a scientist, I would say that I do not have evidence one way or the other. ”

    Question: So if Dr. Plotkin, the leading authority on vaccines, says that proper studies have not been done to determine whether vaccines can cause autism, how can you say unequivocally that they don’t?

    I also have these questions: How come years ago it was not considered safe for pregnant women to get vaccines and now it is considered safe – even though the manufacturers’ inserts say the product has not been tested for safety in pregnant women? How come high fever, inconsolable prolonged crying, seizures, collapsing, and shock-like state were considered “adverse” reactions to a vaccine (and therefore reasons not to give subsequent doses) but now ACIP has declared them “normal” reactions to the Dtap vaccine and thus not a reason to not give further doses? And how come years ago if a child was sick with a fever of any amount or a cold, etc., they were not supposed to be given vaccines, but now a child “with mild illness even with a fever” may still get vaccines? Can you share with us studies that show all these new decisions have been proved safe?

    This post is dedicated l’ilui nishmas Basya Rivka bas Eleina, a twelve and a half year old girl who was nifter after contracting myocarditis after receiving two vaccines. You can hear her brave mother speak at this link:

    And here is a link about myocarditis and vaccines:

    • [Question: So if Dr. Plotkin, the leading authority on vaccines, says that proper studies have not been done to determine whether vaccines can cause autism, how can you say unequivocally that they don’t?]

      Scientists work at an entirely different level of thinking than the general public. From Richard Feynman himself: “Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.” He also said, “I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything.” To me, having that kind of mindset would be paralyzing, not being sure of anything, ever? I cannot even imagine, but THAT is how scientists operate.

      In science, to know something with 100% certainty is simply impossible, but we can approximate certain truths through the use of the scientific method. Dr. Plotkin was being truthful to his scientific self when he answered the question, but that kind of uncertainty is only affordable by the great minds. For the rest of us, things can work “well enough” to work in our world. Case in point: Nobody 100% understands how airplanes fly, but physicists and engineers understand the science “well enough” to make them work. With vaccines, we understand “well enough” how our immune systems work and can get vaccines to protect us against disease.

      Be careful of sources claiming to “know” the truth.

  7. do antivaxers believe frum doctors are harming jewish children? get this through your skull the frum doctors arent poisoning the children!
    stop believing everything you read. the fact that the antivaxers pull out the same few dog and pony sources shows they are reading the same garbage regurgitated through facebook and mommy blogs etc! but dont you worry they read a small five sentence blurb about evil vaccines or watched a 10 minute clip. and now they know more than medical doctors!

    • One thing I can definitely tell you: the Dolphins season is dead. Over. Done. Finito. They stink to high heaven. They are an embarrassment to the rest of the league. They probably didn’t get their flu shots.

    • Doctors are good and caring people who want their clients to be healthy and well. They are taught by university’s that are controlled in part by greedy drug companies. They give lots of money and use their “studies” in the university to prove that their medications are the answers. Doctors receive follow up education on new medications from who? you guessed it, those same companies. Doctors are given kick-back to push certain medications too. Thinking that this helps their patients they are happy to comply. This doesn’t mean that all meds are bad, but there are quite a few that are not worth taking. It is up to the parent to decide whether they are safe or not for their children, not the doctors. there is a lot more to write, but i hope you get the picture and can start respecting the anti-vaxes.

      • do you trust your electrician or plumber? do you trust engineers? or architects? why when it comes to docters do the conspiracy theories run rampant. no workplace/industry can avoid corruption 100 percent. but that doesnt matter because medical experiments can be tested by replicating the tests to see if they are true. that’s science!

  8. Although we call measles a childhood disease, doctors who researched the subject have found that there are benefits in measles. Children with a certain kidney condition who contracted measles were cured of the condition. Other doctors write how the body created antibodies during measles which can later protect the child from diseases such as brain tumors. If every child gets certain childhood diseases maybe this is by design from Hashem and there is purpose to it.
    A member of my shul mentioned that when he was young his mother wanted him to contract measles! a We know that there was something called “pox parties” in which unaffected children were purposely put in contact with the infected child.
    Sanitary conditions took away many diseases but diseases which are built in to our health will not necessarily disappear with improved sanitary conditions

    There were deaths from measles, but there are deaths in childbirth too. Even a condition which can result in death can have benefits.

    We need to be responsible and keep our immune systems strong and with the help of Hashem we will overpower viruses easily.

  9. Let’s switch the topic for a minute, from measles, to polio- much more devastating disease that is not fully eradicated. I would like to ask the antivaxxers- If polio would chas v’shalom come back to New York, and start spreading, would you vaccinate????

  10. the “confirmed case” in chicago was a rash and measles virus from the shot the baby got 1 day before he went to lakewood. he had no other symptoms (skokie health department) there were no other cases. Boohaa

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