Photo by Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS on 13 September, 2020

Prominent Rabbi: Social Pressure Legitimate Tool in Vaccination Effort

Jewish World By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 19 August, 2021

Jerusalem, 19 August, 2021 (TPS) -- It is permissible to use social pressure to encourage people to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Director of the Tzohar Center for Jewish Ethics and a prominent rabbi in Israel, ruled.

A society has the right to protect itself, he noted, and responding to the continued controversy surrounding vaccinations in schools, said that “while the vaccine is clearly intended to save lives, every person has the right to decide whether he or she wants to vaccinate because a person is entitled to their own personal freedoms.”

“However because it is clear that this pandemic causes direct harm to others, both on an individual and collective level, society has a right to do what is necessary to protect itself.  In that regard, it is entirely legitimate to impose social pressures to encourage vaccinations, and to use those tools for publicity purposes including embracing vaccinations in schools- all with the assumption that no one is actually forced to vaccinate against their will,” he said.

There has been a debate in the government on whether to vaccinate students during school hours, after receiving parental permission.

Likewise, grades 8-12 in red cities with a high infection rate, only classes in which the vaccination rate is over 70% will have frontal learning. Classes in which the vaccination rate is less than 70% will switch to online remote learning, possibly another form of peer pressure.

In a similar venue, several rabbis have ruled that the unvaccinated may not enter synagogues and other places of worship.