Statement of the Vaad HaRabbonim/Rabbinical Council of Baltimore
November 21, 2018 – 13 Kislev, 5779
On Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 13 Kislev, 5779, a meeting of the Vaad HaRabbonim/Rabbinical Council of Baltimore unanimously declared the following:
We consider it a Halachic obligation for every member of the community – adults and children - to be properly vaccinated according to the standards and schedules established by the medical community as outlined by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html). These standards have been responsible for the eradication of many terrible diseases and have significantly improved public health in our country. As we are seeing in the current measles epidemic, ignoring or undermining the policy of universal vaccination endangers the community and is Halachically wrong.
1. Schools, playgroups and shuls should refuse entry to unvaccinated children or adults.
2. Medical exemptions that are based on a specific individual’s medical history, granted by physicians who are wholly supportive of the vaccine program, should be respected. Religious exemptions for people of the Jewish faith should not be respected.
3. Individuals who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children must avoid public places and group settings of all kinds, as their presence poses a serious risk to the community at large.
We recognize that the fear generated by the anti-vaccine movement has made it genuinely difficult for a number of well-meaning parents to vaccinate their children. We hope and pray that they will be able to overcome these fears and vaccinate, so that we can all benefit from their full and complete participation in our community.
We pray that Hashem grant each and every member of our community health and strength, and bless our community and our nation with peace.