Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef issued a letter on Wednesday advising people
to have their children vaccinated against the polio virus, as part of a
“I have heard reports from officials in the Health
Ministry that some people are concerned about taking the vaccine for polio,”
Yosef wrote in a public letter published and distributed to the
“This treatment also comes under the [religious injunction] of
protecting one’s physical well-being. Bearing this in mind, it is a holy
obligation and commandment on every parent to vaccinate their children against
the polio disease, in accordance with the precise directions of the Health
Ministry, which is doing holy work. ‘He who listens to us will dwell in
safety.’” The polio virus, which causes paralysis in children, was detected in
sewage treatment plants in February in several cities around the
The Ministry of Health subsequently decided to conduct a
nationwide vaccination campaign which is currently underway.
Wednesday, a joint letter was issued by both Yosef and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi
David Lau instructing people to have their children vaccinated against the
The joint letter noted that failure to have children vaccinated
could lead to harm to public health.
The haredi website B’hadrei Haredim
noted that some parents from the haredi community were not having their children
vaccinated, prompting the pronouncements on the issue from the chief
“May it be God’s will that the words of Scripture will be
fulfilled: ‘All the diseases with which I afflicted Egypt I will not afflict you
with, because I am God your healer,’” Yosef concluded.