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Why some Orthodox Jewish women will not be vaccinated



Health officials estimate that New York will spend up to $ 60 million on a vaccine distribution program to combat hesitation and access problems. But in many Orthodox neighborhoods, the messages of respected rabbis echo more.

In Israel, where restrictions on the coronavirus have ceased now that the majority of the population has been vaccinated, government officials have faced similar difficulties with the ultra-Orthodox community. However, community representatives conducted an effective campaign against the messages.

But these reports have not been as successful in New York.

In the postal code for Borough Park in Brooklyn, which has a large Orthodox community, 28.5% of the population is fully vaccinated, compared to 45.7% for all city residents. In the postal code for South Williamsburg, where several leading Hasidic sects are concentrated, 35 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. In East Crown Heights, home of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic sect, the number is 30.5%.

Patrick Galahu, a spokesman for the city’s health ministry, said the agency ran ads in local Orthodox media, worked with municipal organizations to host additional pop-up vaccination sites, and partnered with trusted organizations such as the Orthodox Hatzala Voluntary Ambulance Corps to train community members.

Other organizations in the region have made similar efforts.

John Lyon, a spokesman for the Rockland County Health Department, said fertility was a major concern among residents of the ultra-Orthodox world when it came to getting a coronavirus vaccine. Rockland County, home to 90,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, was particularly hard hit by the virus last year.

Mr Lyon said the department “works through the delicate and personal process” to answer fertility issues by partnering with local healthcare providers and sending envoys to common rabbis who have the best chance of affect community outcomes.

In April, the Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association hosted three live webinars on the coronavirus vaccine, targeting Orthodox women, doulas, premarital counselors, and ritual bath or mikvah staff, involving a total of nearly 5,000 participants.


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