Despite a massive campaign by New York's health officials calling for people to vaccinate their children, the measles outbreak here in New York and nationally continues to grow.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that 880 new cases have occurred 24 states have been identified. Most of these cases are in New York, and the number of cases in the Empire State is currently over 725.
This is the highest number of infections in a quarter of a century, and the problem shows no sign of early decline. In fact, if the protest rally against vaccines held last week in Rockland County is a sign that the number of cases continues to increase.
Unfortunately, the event attracted hundreds of attendees and was presented by speakers as speakers with a passion for propagating vaccine propaganda
As Chairman of Chai Lifeline, North America's largest network for promoting the health of Jewish children, I am committed to myself to defend against such carefree, irresponsible and dangerous attitudes to vaccines.
The fact is that numerous rigorous scientific studies have debunked the alleged damage-related vaccines. Leading doctors and medical experts have repeatedly and almost unanimously spoken out in favor of vaccinations. Pseudoscientific opposition exists only in the fiery, conspiratorial margins.
Similarly, there is no religious reason against vaccinations. In the Jewish community, almost all rabbis throughout the religious spectrum have endorsed and strongly encouraged the vaccination of children, many of whom call it parental responsibility. Fortunately, the vast majority of American Jews have followed this advice.
And yet, a highly contagious disease declared dead by the CDC in the US in 2000 celebrates a comeback due to the actions or inactions of a US president making a comeback. These vaccine opponents claim that the measles are not a serious threat. They argue that the consequences of the virus are minimal. Some parents go so far as to deliberately expose their children to the virus through "measles parties," mistakenly believing that such exposure enhances immunity.
This is not just complete nonsense; it can be deadly. Measles are among the most contagious diseases. The virus can float in quiet room air for up to two hours after someone who has been infected has coughed or sneezed. Up to 90% of exposed persons will get the measles if they are not vaccinated.
Therefore, I have to speak out for those whose voices can not or will not be taken into account. These are among the most vulnerable in our community ̵
Measles are not just an unpleasant illness for her. it can be deadly. Studies have shown that in the immunocompromised population, the complication and mortality rate due to the mastoid exposure is significantly higher and the recovery times are significantly longer.
When it comes to highly communicable diseases such as measles, this is crucial for most people who can vaccinate their children to achieve "herd immunity" and protect the entire population. The weakest and most vulnerable among us rely on the herd or community to vaccinate, so they can be protected from life-threatening illnesses. These children count on us with their lives.
The Talmud teaches that "anyone who saves a life has saved a whole world". All of us, Jews and non-Jews, must follow these words. Our future – the lives of our children – is at stake.
Rabbi Simcha Scholar is Chief Executive Officer of New York-based Chai Lifeline.