Tag Archives: mumps

Medical Convo about Mumps and Judaism

vaccination[1]I was at the doctor today – follow up to the kidney infection that apparently has now metamorphasized into a kidney stone (got to love our healthcare system). This fellow could see I was a religious Jew – the sheitel, modest dress and the Hebrew necklace that I wear. He started talking to me about the mumps outbreak that seems to have hit a lot of the Jewish schools here. He heard it started at a religious camp in the Catskills and that a lot of the religious kids in Brooklyn are sick with it too. He wanted to know why if there is an outbreak the non-Jewish kids weren’t sick.

He asked me if there were sects of Jews who refuse to vaccinate their children due to religious reasons. I was honestly very surprised at the question, although thinking back, I shouldn’t have been. I explained to him that I highly doubt it. After all we are commanded to look after ourselves – venishmartem et nafshoteichem. If we need blood transfusions or surgery we have to do what we can to ensure our life isn’t in jeopardy. Vaccinating, I believe, falls into the same category. These childhood diseases are easily spread and can be fatal. That’s why most schools that I know of have a legal requirement that all children must be up to date on their vaccinations in order to attend.

But, as I told the doctor, I am not a rabbi or rabbanit and I certainly don’t have the level of knowledge to be able to categorically state that the majority of religious / Chassidic sects vaccinate their children.

Any of my JewCrew have something to contribute?

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Got shot?

As of today, Canada is doling out the H1N1 vaccination. There is a priority as to who gets the vaccinations first. People with chronic medical conditions under the age of 65; Pregnant women (after 20 weeks gestation); Children six months of age to under five years of age; People living in remote and isolated settings or communities; Health-care workers involved in pandemic response or who deliver essential health services; Household contacts and caregivers of individuals who are at high risk, and who cannot be immunized (such as infants under six months of age or people with weakened immune systems).

Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer said “Keeping in mind that we’ve ordered enough vaccine for every Canadian that needs and wants to be immunized, our basic approach is to ensure that those that need it most get it first.”

I am not sure whether or not I plan to vaccinate my children or not, or even to get the vaccine myself. A friend told me seeing as I am still finishing antibiotics my body is too weak to get the vaccine, another told me not to take it as the side effects and risks have yet to be quantified. I don’t actively seek to stick my kids with needles – are they at risk of H1N1 more so than regular flu? Right now I am more concerned with the mumps that seems to have hit their school than with the threat of something seemingly abstract.

Are you vaccinating? Why? Why not? Let’s have a discussion.

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