I read with interest the report about a measles outbreak in Boro Park after a family from abroad came to New York for Pesach and brought a child who had the measles (Hamodia, May 22). The same unvaccinated family caused a rare mumps outbreak during a visit two years ago. The illness was spread to people at a wedding. The family does not immunize their children for ideological reasons.
While there are concerns about vaccine side effects, including a link between vaccine and autism, a recent National Academy of Sciences report found no link exists. Dr. Jonathan Jacobs, professor of clinical medicine and an infectious disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medical College, was quoted in the article as saying regarding measles, “Some people don’t get vaccinated, which is quite dangerous. It is a very infectious disease.” And highly respected Boro Park pediatrician Dr. Robert Adler said, “Both from a medical point of view and a halachic point of view, there is a consensus now to immunize.”
Nevertheless, people have their beliefs and take what they deem extra precautions when such beliefs and practices don’t hurt other people. When such vulnerability exists they need to arrange their lifestyle so that others are not impacted as a result of a choice — in this case, in the event a family member is ill, chas v’shalom. If that means staying home for Yom Tov or missing a simchah, so be it.