Despite a massive campaign by New York health officials urging people to vaccinate their children, the measles outbreak continues to worsen here in New York and nationally.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that 880 new cases in 24 states have been identified. Most of those cases are in New York, with the Empire State’s total now standing at more than 725.
That’s the highest number of infections in a quarter-century, and the problem shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Indeed, if the anti-vaccine rally held last week in Rockland County is any indication, the rash of cases will only continue to grow.
Sadly, the event attracted hundreds of attendees and featured speaker after speaker fervently spreading anti-vaccine propaganda.
As the chief executive officer of Chai Lifeline, North America’s largest Jewish children’s health-support network, I feel obliged to push back against such cavalier, irresponsible and dangerous attitudes about vaccines.
The fact is that numerous rigorous scientific studies have debunked the supposed harms associated with vaccines. Leading doctors and medical experts have repeatedly and almost unanimously come out in support of vaccinations. Pseudoscientific opposition persists only in the fervid, conspiratorial fringes.
Likewise, there is no religious case against vaccination. In the Jewish community, nearly all rabbis, across the religious spectrum, have ruled in favor of, and strongly encouraged, vaccinating children, with many calling it a parental obligation. Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of American Jews has followed this advice.
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