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Viral complications

Measles outbreaks have spiked globally amid rising vaccine doubts in Jewish, Christian, and liberal/Buddhist pockets, and a virulent strain has governments resorting to heavier interventions

Viral complications

Antonia Diaz reacts as she receives the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department in Haverstraw, N.Y. (Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Outside a doctor’s office in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn stood a massive sign that read in Yiddish, “If you have a fever and a rash, or have been exposed to the measles, DO NOT ENTER.” On a train between terminals at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, a city ad campaign showed a picture of a suitcase with the word “Measles” across it.

“Traveling overseas?” the ad read. “You might need a measles vaccine! Measles is spreading in many countries.”

Measles cases are up 300 percent globally in 2019, according to the World Health Organization, and now the United States is on track for the largest outbreak since it declared the disease eliminated in 2000. The measles cases cross 20 states, but New York is the outbreak’s epicenter, with about 600 cases. New York City health officials estimate that at least 11,000 people here have been exposed to the virus, one of the most contagious in the world.

Measles spreads through the air and lingers for two hours in the wake of a contagious person. It has a 90 percent infection rate for the unvaccinated in that wake, and brings a fever, rash, and cough. The illness is typically manageable but can cause serious complications and death in young children and the immune-compromised, and can cause miscarriage in pregnant women.

One in 20 children who contract measles gets pneumonia (a leading cause of death in young children), and 1 in 1,000 gets encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Thankfully no one to this point has died in the New York outbreak, although several children have gone into intensive care. The measles vaccine debuted in 1963; before that, measles epidemics killed on average 2.6 million people every year, according to the World Health Organization.

The New York outbreak, now in its seventh month and centered in the Hasidic community, has brought a collision between growing numbers of vaccine doubters and increasingly panicked government officials. The state’s small groups that have religious or medical exemptions to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine say the government is overreacting; the government says the unabated spread of the virus, even after months of attempted outreach to the vaccine-hesitant, calls for tougher measures.

A parent signing an affidavit as V.M. protesting some of these measures, acknowledged the threat of measles but expressed concern: “The amount of power, speech, and money directed toward the small number of us who have filed religious exemptions, or are questioning this practice, is concerning to us on so many levels.”

One reason the government has responded as it has is because of how difficult it is to contain measles and to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity means a certain level of vaccination keeps even the unvaccinated (like newborns) protected because a virus can’t pass through the community.

Herd immunity for measles requires about a 94 percent vaccination rate, one of the highest. Other diseases, like polio, only require about an 80 percent vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity. Measles is so contagious it finds nearly every pocket of the unvaccinated.

Rockland County, a community with a large Orthodox Jewish population just north of the city where many of the cases have occurred, barred unvaccinated children from school starting several months ago. New York City did the same for certain zip codes in December and in April threatened fines for parents who do not vaccinate.

“If we had seen it start to level off, it would have been sufficient,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said as he announced the emergency measures in Williamsburg. Though there had been no measles-related deaths, he said, “We need to keep it that way.” (De Blasio said the city would do its best to avoid fining anyone.)

A handful of parents have sued over some of those measures, but religious leaders in the Hasidic communities have supported the government’s actions and have encouraged their communities to get vaccinated. Rabbis have done robocalls with the city, and Orthodox nurses have held living room meetings with mothers to answer questions about vaccines.

A poster in Hebrew went up in Rockland County: “Opinion of Great Rabbinic Legal Authorities on The Obligation to Vaccinate Against Measles” the poster read. The Orthodox rabbis, calling on fathers to vaccinate their children “immediately,” cited the Jewish obligation to save a life, called “pikuach nefesh,” the highest Jewish law. To prevent a doctor from healing patients, the poster read, “is bloodshed.”

Parents who won’t vaccinate their children “are not fighting with the doctors, with the evil government,” said Rabbi David Niederman, as he sat in his office at the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, a Hasidic social services agency that he leads. “You’re fighting with your own friends who don’t want to get sick! ... You believe that you’re 100 percent right. You might unintentionally affect the life or welfare of someone else.”

In an afternoon that included a flurry of meetings, Niederman cranked on the air conditioning in his paper-strewn office. He quoted the Torah to me in Hebrew about the importance of seeking healing and protecting life.

Normally Niederman oversees work on housing, employment, Holocaust survivor services, and religious liberty issues with the city. 

But over the last several months he has recorded robocalls on vaccines with the Department of Health, helped write culturally sensitive pamphlets in Yiddish to share with the community, and met with parents.

Acknowledging he is in a “press shy” community, he’s also worked as an ambassador to communicate to the outer world that vaccine hesitancy is not an Orthodox Jewish position.

He’s concerned that without such efforts, the anti-Semitism that Orthodox Jews have seen in the wake of the outbreak could grow. A Hasidic man in Brooklyn recently reported to Niederman that a city bus driver tried to avoid picking him up, but he ran and caught up at the next stop. As he boarded, he said the driver covered her face with a sweater and shouted, “Measles!” The city said it was investigating the incident.

“[Vaccine hesitancy] is something that’s spread all over, and the ideology is all over,” said Niederman’s deputy director David Katz, sitting at Niederman’s desk responding to emails as we talked. As I left Niederman’s office, two Hasidic women serving as receptionists stopped to talk to me about reporting on measles in the Jewish community. “You’ll write nice things about us?” one asked nervously.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A sign warns people of measles in the Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A REVIEW OF SCHOOL VACCINATION RATES in New York showed low vaccine rates in a potpourri of schools: some yeshivas, but also Waldorf schools, self-described “progressive” schools, a Seventh-day Adventist school, and Christian homeschool co-ops. Protestant and Catholic private schools generally had high vaccination rates.

In Rockland County, health officials tried not to single out Orthodox Jewish communities, instead issuing a blanket order against unvaccinated children in schools. That prompted a lawsuit from parents of unvaccinated children who were barred from their school, Green Meadow Waldorf School, which had a 37 percent total vaccination rate in 2018.

In affidavits attached to the lawsuit, parents explained their beliefs against vaccinating their children: Some based it on Christian faith, some on Shinto beliefs, and some on their own medical research.

One Christian parent, signing an affidavit as M.R., stated that the Bible had “entrusted us as parents [not the State of New York] with the care and welfare of the children (1 Timothy 5:8).” The parent said based on “research we conducted” the family had decided not to vaccinate, but then after the outbreak had their oldest child vaccinated.

Another Christian parent at Waldorf, signing an affidavit as L.V.G., argued that vaccines are derived from aborted fetuses, and that to take them would be complicity with murder. (Some vaccines were initially developed with aborted fetal cell lines, but no new lines have been created to continue production of vaccines. “Accepting these vaccines does not endorse or encourage abortions being done today,” said Dr. Gene Rudd in a Christian Medical & Dental Associations statement on the issue.)

Other parents cited Buddhist and Shinto beliefs that vaccines interfere with the natural course of illnesses, part of a child’s “destiny,” wrote parent K.K. in the affidavit. “Ultimately it is not our job to ‘play God,’ deciding which suffering our children will be excused from.”

A vegetarian couple cited the vaccines as having animal substances. Another parent, L.P., cited karma, reincarnation, and “anthroposophy,” where children are spiritual beings who choose their parents. Injecting “anything foreign” into her daughter’s bloodstream would be a violation.

For 15 years at his Illinois practice, Christian pediatrician Greg Garrison would listen and talk through vaccine doubts with Christian parents. He noticed the arguments shift over time. As more and more studies refuted any autism link to vaccines, parents began to associate vaccines with PANDAS (a strep complication), or they would ask for a delay in the schedule of vaccines. The conversations were time-consuming and often fruitless. The doctors at the practice decided five years ago that for all new patients, they would ask them to agree to the recommended schedule of vaccines.

“They just don’t want to let go, even with clear, objective information,” said Garrison. “I tell parents all the time, I practice in God’s grace, and there’s a lot we don’t know. But God has blessed people with knowledge and there are things that can be helpful, and they’re factual. But it doesn’t take anything away from God and His omnipotence and power. And I come back to, you wouldn’t … have a discussion with a surgeon about a need for an appendectomy.”

In the absence of convincing conversations, the government has stepped in. The number of people seeking state exemptions for vaccines has been climbing in the last decade. The New York Legislature now has a bill that would eliminate the religious exemption to vaccines, but that bill hasn’t yet found momentum despite the outbreak.

Edward Mechmann, a lawyer with the New York State Catholic Conference, said the Legislature seems content with leaving the issue to local health authorities. Other Christians working in Albany are quietly hoping for the preservation of the exemption even as they support vaccination.

Christian lobbyists I talked to distinguish between vaccines. For example, New York doesn’t mandate the HPV vaccine, but because of that particular vaccine, Christian lobbyists remain wary of efforts to mandate all vaccines.

California ended a “personal belief” exemption to vaccines in 2016 after a major measles outbreak. Both federal and state courts upheld the elimination of the exemption, after parents filed lawsuits saying it infringed on their religious rights. No Christian schools or religious liberty law firms challenged the California measure in court.

ONE THORN IN THE SIDE of Hasidic leaders in Brooklyn these past months has been a largely anonymous group, Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health (PEACH). PEACH’s “vaccine safety” booklet, full of unfounded claims that vaccines contain aborted fetuses as well as pig and monkey cells, has made its way through Orthodox circles. PEACH also plays on historic Jewish fears, noting the arguments of Nazi doctors that their human experimentation was for the “greater good.”

Orthodox nurse Blima Marcus, part of the Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association, has been meeting with mothers concerned about vaccines to try to refute misinformation gently. They would often mention the PEACH handbook to her, so now Marcus’ group of Hasidic nurses is working on publishing its own handbook, titled “Parents Informed and Educated” (PIE). Niederman, too, has encountered these myths in meetings with parents that he described as “passionate.”

“On one hand, I like that. They care so much for their children, that they’re really concerned,” he said. “What I do is I ask one simple question. If, God forbid, your family doctor is telling you, ‘This child really needs surgery, something is wrong,’ who would you go to ask to do the surgery? … I tell them, you answer to yourself. Then you will understand if you should or should not vaccinate.”

Emily Belz

Emily Belz

Emily is a senior reporter for WORLD Magazine. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and previously reported for the The New York Daily News, The Indianapolis Star, and Philanthropy magazine. Emily resides in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @emlybelz.


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  • Jeff T
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 10:27 am


      I enjoy your articles and you are obviously very talented at what you do. Today I respectively take issue with what appears to me to be a very unquestioning pro-vaccine bent of world magazine at least in the articles I have read here on the topic.

    We have a medical establishment that says children at the age of eight (without parental consent in some cases) can choose to self-mutilate themselves and have a sex change and this does not cause physiological and physical trauma and should be applauded and affirmed.

    We have medical establishment that says that abortion is a healthy and morally neutral option for mothers and does not cause physiological and physical trauma. 

    Obviously Christians know that these are great evils and extremely harmful spiritually, physically and physiological yet modern medical science will instantly sideline anyone who does not bow down to the medical ideology of our age. 

    Also as Christians we have to be concerned about truth in all circumstances and I feel it's pretty clear we are being mislead constantly about the threat and dire need for the latest vaccine to protect us from the latest media health scare. My mother-in-law remarked a while back that "no one was scared of the measles in the 1960's and it was considered a normal aspect of childhood if you heard someone had the measles you went to their house so you catch it and get true lifetime immunity." I believe at last count 3-4 Americans have died in last twenty or so odd years that 'had the measles' and what we don't hear is that many times there were other complications from other health issues that were the real story (same deal with reported so called 'flu deaths')

    I feel World magazine is not consistent on how they report on medical ethics/ medical morality in regards to this issue. We are told to beware of being 'anti- science' in previous articles ( yet very clearly the scientific community has become extremely anti-christian, ideological and polarizing.  You cannot even offer moderate dissent on abortion, evolution, lgbtq issues, climate change and now vaccines without being character assasinated, attacked viciously and slandered- how in the world can we just stand by and accept vaccine science as the gospel when the environment is like this? We should all know that these incredibly complex cocktails with varying ingredients (including aborted baby tissues) and varying degrees of quality are and can be more dangerous than the supposed health threat we are being vaccinated against. Then you add to the mix, large, regular doses of these into small developing bodies that- all of which can react much differently. 

    This is not a simple issue at all.  It's a health issue, it's personal freedom issue, it's a religious freedom issue, it's a home school freedom issue, it's a government issue. Yet yet very suprisingly - World magazine seems to me to be covering this issue in a very simplistic one-sided manner like a secular magazine. 

    If Christians just lay down and allow secular science to make decisions 'to what is best for the community' on our bodies and children's bodies we know this power will be abused and it's only a matter of when. Once freedoms are gone, others are usually quickly to follow suit.


  • cln
    Posted: Fri, 04/26/2019 07:32 pm

    Jeff T. Right on! 

  • RE
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 04:44 am

    Great feedback, Jeff T.  I agree!

  • JennyBeth
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 01:29 pm

    You fail to address the article's primary pro-vaccine argument: we as Christians DO accept science/medicine in all other areas of disease and injury treatment and prevention. How do you reason that vaccines should be categorized with abortion and sex changes (which do not treat or prevent any illness), rather than with antibiotics, life-saving surgeries, anti-inflammatory medication, etc.? For your argument to stand, unless you are one who refuses all modern medical intervention, you need to make clear distinction as to why vaccines (which have been around for decades and hardly count as reactions to "the latest media scare") should be considered "medical ideology of the age" rather than basic disease prevention.

    As Christians who recognize that disease is an aspect of the fallenness that it is Christ's work to redeem, then if it is in our means to prevent a disease, then it takes a strong case to say that we do NOT have a Christian obligation to do so in a given situation.

    And in answer to your fears about the "incredibly complex cocktails with varying ingredients", the changes in vaccines over the years have been largely to reduce and simplify the ingredients so as to reduce the chances of allergic reaction, and sometimes ingredients are just removed simply to reduce public fears even when there is no real evidence that they are harmful. For a few references, see and

  • Jebby
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 03:07 pm

    Hi Jeff.  I appreciate your concerns regarding the medical community.  I am a physician, and I understand skepticism.  I did want to point out one specific in your list of concerns: vaccines that your child receives do not contain tissue from aborted babies.  However, the rubella component of the MMR vaccine is still made using a cell line that is from an aborted baby from decades ago.  Merck is the only manufacturer of the rubella vaccine, and it is very clearly lablelled in the package insert that this is so.  Now, as a Christian, I stand firmly against child sacrifice and abortion.  So, what do we do with this information?  I actually don’t know.  I have a 2 month old who will need these vaccines soon.  I want my child vaccinated, but I want to stand against all abortions.  What do we do?  It would be nice if there were an alternative, but there currently is no alternative to this vaccine readily available.  I actually was vaccinated with this vaccine that was made from aborted fetal parents did not know.  So what now?  I don’t have an answer.

  • not silent
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 05:49 pm

    I have several questions: First of all, since I know lots of doctors and others involved with science who are believers-and they agree with the recommendations of the government and the CDC-I'm not sure why you consider this "secular science"?  (I.e., it's certainly wise to look at all the evidence; but calling something "secular" just because it is "science" is a denial of statements by many scientists and doctors who love the Lord.)

    Second, if we decide we can't trust scientists and doctors to tell us what is best for our health, who SHOULD tell us what is best for our health?  I guess I am curious about what sources you feel would be better equipped to help us make these decisions and why you feel they are more accurate than science and medicine.

    Third, I debate atheists all the time; and they often express a desire to get rid of religion because of atrocities committed in the name of God and/or because they fear losing their rights.  Do we want to throw out all science because atrocities have been committed in the name of science? 

    Fourth, atheists also oppose religion as anti-science and anti-reason.  How should I respond to them?


  • Innkeeper25
    Posted: Sun, 05/19/2019 01:43 pm

    Jeff T., 

    Well said, right on, and AMEN.  I hope WORLD is listening!

  • CV
    Posted: Sat, 04/27/2019 05:54 pm

    I appreciate your coverage of this current issue. Yet, I take issue with some of the report. The statistic you quoted (1 in 1,000 children will develop encephalitis) is incorrect. Years ago when the measles was common this statistic was taken from the measles cases that were reported to the CDC. The cases reported to the CDC were serious illness--but many other children like myself and my siblings had the measles unreported. The estimated correct statistic is 1 in 10,000. Those of my generation have lifelong immunity to the measles. Have you seen the note that people born before 1957 do not need a vaccine? We all got the measles.

    I did some research about the development of the rubella vaccine (the R in MMR). In one of the initial research studies done to develop the rubella vaccine, 35 women in Finland were injected with the rubella virus at 14 weeks of pregnancy. They carried the pregnancy for 30 more days and then the fetus was taken out by hysterotomy. I wrote about the development of the rubella vaccine here:

  • not silent
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 12:06 pm

    Hi Carole, I have done quite a bit of reading on the topic of measles.  Despite looking at a number of sources, I could only find two sources that reported the statisitc you claim is an "estimated correct statistic" (1 in 10,000).  Both claimed that the rate of measles encephalitis (1 in 1.000) reported by the CDC "may be accurate for children who live in conditions of poverty and malnutrition" but the actual rate is "probably" more like 1 in 10,000 for kids in the middle and upper middle class. 

    Let me just say right now that I found this extremely troubling and problematic on many levels.  They admitted that the rate of 1 in 1,000 "may be accurate for poor children," but said that the "actual rate" was a number that "probably" appled to kids in middle and upper middle classes?  (Why is the "actual rate" the one that "probably" applies to richer kids, and where did it come from?)

    According to your comment, the statistic of 1 in 1,000 given by the CDC was taken from all measles cases reported in the US before vaccinations were instituted.  (This would obviously include kids from ALL income levels, not just kids living in poverty and malnutrition; and the numbers would be very precise since it was medical reporting.)  Even though you used the CDC as your source, it did not use the numbers you claimed as the "estimated correct statistic."  The only sources I found that did were the ones I discussed above.  Would you mind sharing where you got your "estimated correct statistic"?

    It is true that people who have had measles are immune, but they had to get sick to become immune.  this means that they feel bad for over a week while risking serious complications.  It's one thing for parents to want to make decisions for their own children, but something like this affects the entire population. (While many people are immune, there are people who can't be vaccinated and count on "herd immunity.")  

  • CV
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 11:49 am

    Jeff, you can find the statistic (1 in 10,000) in an article posted on the Children's Health Defense website. Their source is the New York Times and the CDC's Pink Book. 

    The CDC Pink Book states that 1% of REPORTED cases developed encephatis. That is different than the actual number of cases of measles. In the 1950s and early 1960s measles was very common--a mild to moderate childhood illness--not reported unless it developed into serious illness.

  • not silent
    Posted: Wed, 05/01/2019 03:30 pm

    Carole, thanks for providing a source.   I just checked the CDC Pink Book (I.e.,; and it says this: "Acute encephalitis occurs in approximately 0.1% of reported cases."  I even checked the math, and that is 1 in 1,000.

  • Heather M
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 10:21 am

    Thank you, World! I appreciate your reporting on this issue in a respectful and balanced way, as you always do. It saddens me that vaccinations have become such a dividing issue amongst Christians. It’s practically the unpardonable sin in many circles, rather than a private decision made prayerfully by individual families. It hinders our witness and the gospel message when we make this the hill we die on. While I do not believe the government should have absolute sovereignty to mandate vaccinations, Christians must do better in communicating their personal views. 

  • Thor
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 11:06 am

    The vaccination issue is merely a symptom of the loss of trust of the public in the scientific, medical, and political institutions. The scientific and medical communities have corrupted themselves (repeatedly) and people have had to try to research the issue as best they could on their own. Unfortunately, the sources available are contradicatory, untrustworthy, and often outdated. To make matters worse, an overbearing political and legal authority's first inclination is to mandate what it does not understand. 

    This is the worst of all possible scenerios and will undoubtedly lead to the mandation of all vaccines and the lack of discrimination between necessary and valuable life saving vaccinations and any future pharmaceutical company's new venture into the bio-engineering of society and profit mongering.

  • Jeff T
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 03:13 pm

    Well said Thor! 

  • Jebby
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 02:44 pm

    Vaccines, along with antibiotics, are the 2 greatest medical achievements in the 20th century and are responsible for saving millions of lives.  However, in the MMR vaccine (measles vaccine), the rubella component is still manufactured using a cell line that was derived from an aborted fetus from the 60’s.  Merck, the only manufacturer of the vaccine, claims that the abortion was performed with the mother’s consent.  But as a Christian, does that matter?  I don’t even know what to do with this information, as abortion is our generation’s holocaust.  As a Christian, can I honestly say that since the abortion was so long ago, it doesn’t matter now?  I’d prefer to get my kids vaccinated, but you try to find an alternative to the MMR vaccine that doesn’t include products made using an aborted fetus.  It does not currently exist.  Maybe, with enough outcry, someone will create that product.

  • Narissara
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 02:36 pm

    Jebby, thank you for pointing out that the MMR is still manufactured using a cell line from an aborted fetus.  I knew that and wanted to comment, but I couldn’t remember the terminology.  I’m going to chime in with my disappointment at the lackadaisical research and one-sidedness.  

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 10:21 pm

    And if it is this difficult to sort out an issue as concrete as measles vaccination, no wonder we are unable to sort the larger issues, such as climate change, immigration, and politics in general. Lord, help us!

    For Jebby: How about "close to home" rather than "concrete"?

  • Jebby
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 05:56 pm

    Hi there!  Please see my comment on vaccines and you will se why the measles vaccine is nowhere near concrete.  Thanks!

  • VolunteerBB
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 09:04 pm

    There was a new Hep B (I think it was B) vaccine added to the mix of vaccinations for infants.  I had a spread of kids and the first ones had never had it and it was required that they have it later.  My doctor said that we could delay the one the infant was getting because he had the vaccines as separate.  So in Kindergarten the nurse called me to tell me the youngest needed that vaccine also.  When it was first added to all the vaccinations infants were getting, I questioned it because it is a lifestyle disease such as intravenous drug users, sexual transmission, etc., and not through the air or other ways like measles or chickenpox, etc., are.  Why should an infant have to have this vaccination?  I talked to the the head of epidemeology of our state and he said they are putting it in the vaccines for infants because "they won't come back later" to get the vaccine.  I called "bull" on that because no kids can start school or go to a daycare unless their vaccinations are current. Additionally, an infant was 7 times more likely to die from the vaccine than to contract it!  If delaying it somewhat would save infants that risk, then why not?  Again, he cited the so called truth that it may be too late for a kid to get the vaccine for Hep B because they would have been exposed - as he also believed the data showed a lot of kids having sex at a young age.  Well, Kindergarten?  I asked.  He said that the public comment period had ended and it was just too late for me to object.  I was glad that my doctor had the vaccinations separate and I could choose to vaccinate later before starting school instead of as infants.  And what about meningitis and the HPV?  Why are these not mandatory also?  I've seen adds for meningitis vaccines, how a person can lose limbs, etc.,  Why isn't that mandated that all kids get it also?  Why is that optional and something like a childhood disease that most recover from is mandatory.  I am not against vaccines, but I can understand why some are skeptical when we are told things like what I have described and there seems to be no way out.  It's a lifestyle disease for crying out loud!

  • not silent
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 09:32 am

    Hi Volunteer, it is true that Hep B is often spread by "lifestyle choices" like drug use and sex; but that is because it is spread through blood and body fluids.  Since I remembered the precautions we used when I worked in a hospital, I looked it up to be sure.  According to the CDC, Hepatitis B can also be spread by sharing items such as a toothbrush, razor, or glucose monitor; direct contact with blood from a cut; or by exposure to blood from a sharp object that has stuck someone who is infected.  Since it can also be spread from mother to child at birth, it's possible that kids in an elementary school could have been infected that way. 

    I don't know about you; but, when I was a kid, we were always getting scrapes and cuts.  In fact, once a friend and I cut ourselves and touched the cuts together so that we could become "blood brothers."  I suspect the school is just being cautious.

    You claim that you were being deceived when you were told that infants "won't come back later" for the vaccine BECAUSE "no kids can start school or daycare without the vaccine."  However, not all kids GO to school or daycare.  Some are homeschooled.  What if your infant is around a kid who was homeschooled and has not been vaccinated?  

    I am sorry you were not given a better explanation; but sexual contact can happen even when someone isn't making a lifestyle choice to have sex.  I hate to bring this up in this setting; but I know people who were sexually abused at very young ages, and some of them were abused by people at church. (According to the CDC, the virus is present in blood, semen, and other body fluids of an infected person.)  Someone I know was abused by a neighbor, and the abuser was still in elementary school.

    At least in this case, the government is not trying to harm the public.  It's trying to protect kids!  

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Mon, 04/29/2019 10:32 pm

    For Jebby: How about this instead of "concrete"?

    "And if it is this difficult to sort out an issue with only two possible outcomes (to vaccinate or not to vaccinate), no wonder we are unable to sort the larger issues, such as climate change, immigration, and politics in general. Lord, help us!"

    West Coast Gramma

  • ddz
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 05:50 am

    I must say that I am shocked at the bias towards vaccination in this article. So much so that I am seriously considering cancelling my subscription to WORLD, when I've been a subscriber for well over a decade. Why? Because this is not the first time WORLD has had a bias TOWARD vaccination. The people writing articles such as this have obviously not done enough research on this subject and it shows. The author says there are no new cell lines created with aborted fetal tissue. This is not accurate. There is actually a third cell line developed recently in China. It's important for people to know that.

    Vaccinations are a medical intervention that should be discussed with a person's personal physician, and not decided upon because a magazine article steers a person to conclude it would be for the greater good of society. There are many physicians who are against vaccinations in their current form because safety has not been proven. Have you heard of VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System? Have you heard of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which to date has paid out more than 4 BILLION DOLLARS in compensation to vaccine injury victims?

    Do you know that no vaccine is 100% safe, 100% effective, for 100% of the population, 100% of the time? Do a search for the vaccine inserts that come in the vaccine packaging and look for the side effects, which include death. Do you know that 127 people have DIED between 2003 and 2015 from the MMR VACCINE? Do their lives not matter? Estimates vary but it is said that less than 20 people have died from the measles virus itself from 2000-2019. Where there is a RISK, there must be INFORMED CONSENT, and there must be a CHOICE, not a MANDATE.

    Do you know that former Merck (the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine) scientists Stephen A. Krahling and Joan A. Wlochowski are suing Merck alleging MMR efficacy fraud? Why would I want to get a vaccination made by a company that is accused of fraud? I wouldn't.

    I put this out there as food for thought. Do your own research. And consider for a moment that we are supposed to naturally aquire these illnesses during childhood so that we will have lifelong natural immunity. Vaccinations do not provide that.

    I really wish Emily Belz would have taken more time to portray the other point of view more fairly. People who choose not to vaccinate have valid reasons, including religious ones which were superficially presented in this article.

  • Jeff T
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 10:03 am

    Yes! thank you DDZ!

  • MB
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 12:41 pm

    Thank you! 

  • cln
    Posted: Tue, 06/18/2019 06:05 pm

    Agreed with ddz. There is so much to know and a few comments here cannot cover it all. I, too, am disappointed in WORLD on this issue. There does not seem to be a Christian media outlet that will dig and find out the truth. Christians who have injured or dead children from vaccines are treated like the doctors treat them...unbelieving of what happened and ostracized. I have looked at the topic of vaccines for 40 years. It is one of the great deceptions of our time...sold as something that will prevent disease...but really it attacks the immune system and can set one up for autoimmune and a life time of illnesses. I just returned from the Autism One conference in Chicago. I asked WORLD to cover it. Autsim One has many professionals there from various walks of life. Many with dead or damaged kids. Many speakers who have studied the science. There are plenty of reasonable things one can do to strengthen the immune system...and toxins injected do not belong on that list. Doctors are for the sick. Not for prevention. Drink clean water, eat healthy food, avoid drugs, get sleep at night, take Vitamin C, wash your hands, manage your stress, use natural remedies...all zero risk remedies that work superbly well. If you get sick do what my mother did. Put yourself to bed and stay home, fast, drink fluids, take the appropriate supplements if necessary. Let you body heal itself. That's how God made it to work. I read Confessions of a Medical Heretic by Dr. Robert Mendelsohn. Read that book. You will be cured of needing drugs or vaccinations. 

  • Jeff T
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 11:54 am

    deleted comment.

  • MB
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 12:39 pm

    Dear Emily, 

    I've never written a comment on any article ever but after reading the article on vaccines I felt compelled. You did not interview any physicians or scientific researchers that disagree or even question vaccines! Why don't you reach out to parents that have vaccine injured children or lawyers that represent those children to the National Vaccine Injury Council Program? Why not learn more about what the Board Members and Staff including physicians like Barbara Loe Fisher at the National Vaccine Information Center have to say about vaccines? What about reaching out to the researchers and physicians featured on the documentary Vaxxed? Or what about reaching out to see how free speech was stifled for those filmmakers? How about digging into the history and deep reservations President Reagan had before signing The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act? Or even some former pharmaceutical sales representatives that detail how much marketing and money have to say in our medical care? Or my favorite the simple history of medicine--everything from blood letting, electric shock, thalidomide? 

    I do enjoy your work, but this article was one-sided on a very complex issue.  


  • ddz
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 09:58 pm


    I agree. Either WORLD should be hands-off on this topic, or it should thoroughly investigate and report on both sides equally. I realize the point of the article was not an analysis of the pros and cons of vaccinations. But it was SO one-sided, myself being someone who has researched the safety of vaccinations for 20+ years, I could spot the slant instantly, and grew increasingly frustrated as the article went on.

    If WORLD is biased in reporting on this very consequential topic, I now have to look at every article I read and wonder what their slant is, or how might they be deviating from the truth, and readers just aren't going to be aware unless they do their own research. That's not what I want when I come to WORLD. I want to read what interests me, and trust the information is reliable. This article was not.

  • CV
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 09:57 pm

    A Rabbi in New York explains how the measles vaccine has complicated health management.

  • PK
    Posted: Tue, 04/30/2019 11:06 pm

    I am disturbed by the pro-vaccine bias of this article which portrays those who delay or forgo vaccines as a major health threat to the community. The truth is that vaccines are not as safe and effective as the CDC claims. No safety studies have been conducted by the CDC comparing fully-vaccinated children with unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated children. Yet we are told all vaccines are “safe and effective,” even to give to infants with a developing immune system. MMR is a triple live virus that has known serious complications for children under age three. Dr. Paul Thomas, author of the Vaccine-Friendly Plan, has had a much lower than average rate of autism in his practice of 15,000 children when delaying this vaccine until age 3 or later.

    You said, as many other pro-vaccine people also claim, that “more and more studies refuted any autism link to vaccines.” The CDC does list multiple studies that disprove association. But there ARE scientific studies linking autism to vaccines which have been largely ignored. It is also difficult to prove a scientific negative. What we do know is that autism cases have risen greatly in the last 20-30 years, and this rise cannot be just attributed to genetic causes (which are much more gradual) or greater awareness. I would be very interested in a thorough reporting on autism and its possible causes. This is a much more concerning epidemic in our day than measles.

    It is not an “unfounded claim that vaccines contain aborted fetuses as well as pig and monkey cells.” The chicken pox vaccine contains guinea pig cultures and embryonic lung cultures. The MMR was made using cells from an aborted fetus, which your article acknowledges, but then dismisses as irrelevant because it happened in the past. The polio vaccine does contain monkey cells. All this information can be found the vaccine ingredient lists. Besides this, many vaccines contain aluminum, a known neuro-toxin especially for infants. A single shot may not be damaging, but with the aggressive CDC schedule, children are being injected with high levels of aluminum.

  • ddz
    Posted: Thu, 05/02/2019 07:43 am

    I would like to add that the VACCINE-type measles virus has been shown to "shed". This means that the measles virus is found in the bodily fluids of a recently vaccinated person, which can be spread to others. Genetic testing can now determine if the bodily fluid of a person with measles is a vaccine-type or a wild-type. It is certain that recently vaccinated individuals will be spreading the measles virus to others. THEY should be the ones quarantined, not the unvaccinated! How can a person without a disease spread that disease?  Especially if they had the measles as a child, they are covered for life. Just because a person is unvaccinated doesn't mean they are a vector!

  • ddz
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 05:08 am

    "....the MMR vaccine was licensed based on clinical trials which in total had less than 1,000 participants and far more adverse reactions than previously acknowledged."

    And they want every single man, woman and child in the US to get this vaccine. And people will trust that the MMR vaccine is safe and effective, when the truth is it is NOT as safe and effective as people believe, or rather assume, it is. You have to do your own research on every single thing you put into your body.

    Pediatricians get bonuses for FULLY vaccinating a certain percentage of kids in their practices. That's why practices are kicking out families who choose not to vaccinate. They lose thousands of dollars in bonuses. It's about the money, not your health. Because if doctors have done the research and truly understand the pros and cons, they would allow parents to choose what is best for their family and give vaccines to those who want them, and not pressure those who do not. DO. THE. RESEARCH. YOURSELF.

  • CV
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 08:04 am

    The MMR vaccine was licensed in 1979. Now the information about the limited testing of this vaccine's safety has come to light after a FOIA legal battle.  Parents have every right to be concerned about this vaccine.

  • ddz
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 05:01 pm

    Carol, you and I are on the same page. Look at my post directly above yours. ;) I spend the majority of my time informing others, opening eyes, one person at a time.

  • Tricia
    Posted: Sat, 05/18/2019 11:29 am

    Uhg! Another pro-vaccine article. There are areas in China that have over 97% MMR vaccination rates and they still have outbreaks. There are two types of vaccine failure: one is that not everyone produces an immune response; the second is waning immunity. Most vaccines last 10 years at most. Meningitis vaccines last maybe 4 or 5 years. You will never reach 95% herd immunity (which only applies to actually catching the illness, rather than vaccines) because of these two problems. I know a woman whose child died from encephalitis from the MMR vaccine. I know another one whose child is deaf from the MMR vaccines. Something that was supposed to protect their children actually killed and maimed them. Another woman’s child now has epilepsy thanks to dTap vaccine.


    And do you understand you cannnot sue the vaccine manufacturers for injury. No, you have to go to vaccine court. And only if your child’s reaction is listed in the table of reactions can you get money. If your child’s particular reaction is NOT in that table, it becomes an adversarial process where you have to prove your case. And then you usually cannot talk about it to others if you win.

    If you want me to get any more vaccines then: do the safety studies that have never been done; do studies against inert placebos; no human or animal cells, period; no neurotoxins, period; every batch must be spectral analyzed for contamination; and remove the protections from the manufacturers so we can sue them again.

  • cln
    Posted: Tue, 06/18/2019 06:15 pm

    Jebby. You don't need to vaccinate. Aborted tissue is in many vaccines: I don't want you to be one of those doctors who had to learn the hard way. These vaccines use aborted tissue:

    Hepatitis A and B

    Poliovax and IPV


    Rabies (Imovax)

    Shingles (Zostavax)

    Varivax (chickenpox)

    Sepsis (Xigris)

    Aborted fragments get into the cell and it is called insertional mutagenesis. These fragments are thought to be linked to autism in some cases. HOwever, as bad as aborted cell lines are ethically, morally, physically, there are many other issues with ingredients such as aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, benzethonium chloride.  glutaraldehyde, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (MSDS says should never touch human skin), polysorbate 80, MSG, glyphosate and more. If you put this stuff in your kids juice, CPS would likely remove them from your home, but it is okay to inject it? Your child has an immune system. Let it develop and mature and they will be so much healthier than if their system has to figure out how to compensate for poisons.


  • ddz
    Posted: Thu, 06/20/2019 02:04 am

    I have copied everything found below, from the site linked here:

    In April of 2019 Dr. Theresa Deisher published an open letter to legislators on the dangers of human fetal DNA that is in the MMR vaccine, as well as in the chickenpox, Pentacel, and all Hep-A containing vaccines. It is absolutely criminal that a scientific giant such as Dr. Deisher publicly warns that the MMR can cause major inflammatory autoimmune disease in children, and just two months later New York legislators repeal the religious exemption to vaccination in 8 hours with absolutely no public comment. Dr. Deisher’s letter should be read by everyone; it can be found here:

    She states, "The presence of both the high level contaminating fetal DNA as well as the HERVK contamination in the MMR vaccine is an unstudied risk with huge implications and dangers for individual and public health."

    To see a complete list of the precise fetal DNA tissues in each vaccine go here:

    The fact that human fetal DNA is used in vaccines is an irrefutable fact. For years many people said this was a lie or an “internet rumor,” but that can no longer be said. Dr. Stanley Plotkin, who is often referred to as the Godfather of the modern vaccination program, has admitted under oath in a legal deposition conducted by Aaron Siri that his rubella vaccine (among others) was created from a cell line originating from aborted human fetal tissue. You can watch Dr. Plotkin admit this under oath at the following link:

    Let me add that Dr. Plotkin mentions at the end of the video that he is glad to go to hell due to the use of aborted fetal tissue.

    IS ANYONE AT WORLD MAGAZINE PAYING ATTENTION?! Why some Christians believe our Lord would approve of vaccinations, which have killed and grievously injured countless infants to adults, I truly cannot comprehend.