COVID Responsibilities

Question

Does a Jewish person have any responsibility (morally or Halchikally) to get a Covid vaccine based on the principles of communal responsibility? Why or why not?

3 months

Answers

  1. According to the Halachic authorities of our generation it is not really possible to define the responsibility to vaccinate as a Halachic obligation. However, there is a moral obligation to take it. Firstly, the vaccine is the most incredible blessing sent to us by Hashem. Those who ignore this detail seem to imagine that the cure for COVID is going to come through some other means.

    They remind me of the famous joke about the person who was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

    The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”
    So the rowboat went on.

    Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”
    To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

    So the motorboat went on.

    Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

    To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

    So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

    Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

    To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

    But more than that, there seems to be the most incredible chutzpa to what those who object to the COVID vaccine. Because at the end of the day, their good health is dependent on all those who do go ahead and take the vaccine. The more vaccinated people there are, the greater is the safety quotient of those who do not vaccinate. It strikes me as being an immoral stand to rely on others doing what they themselves are not prepared to do.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team