Faith leaders agree people should get vaccine to protect health of community

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INDIANAPOLIS — Some faith leaders in our community agree people should choose to receive the vaccine as they feel it is the charitable and safe move to make.

For those we spoke with, it comes down to trusting science and thinking of the common good. Assistant Rabbi Dovid Grossbaum helps lead hundreds of Jewish men and women at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life.

When discussing COVID-19 vaccines, he said it is not a religiously complicated topic for the Jewish Community.

“If someone’s life’s at risk, the entire Torah, the entire gamut of Jewish Law can be abrogated,” Grossbaum said. “So in this case, coronavirus, obviously people’s lives are at risk. If the vaccine will prevent any form of risk, you embrace it.”

Grossbaum added that Judaism encourages people to follow directions from scientists and doctors when it comes to preserving human life.

“You’re not going against God by curing any sickness, by requesting the opinion and the directives of a doctor,” Grossbaum said.

He added that Jewish Law requires people to care for their own health and the health of others. This idea of “the common good” is shared with Catholics as well.

Archbishop Charles Thompson explained the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committees on doctrine and pro-life activities studied the vaccine before speaking publicly regarding their stance.

“They have studied this, the moral implications of receiving the vaccine,” Thompson said. “They’ve cleared that for us, that we can receive that. As Catholics, we can morally receive that vaccine.”

Health experts tell us well-informed faith leaders can certainly help spread useful information about this vaccine.

“Assuming the faith leaders have an understanding of the science that went into creating the vaccine, and they appreciate what the vaccine can do for the population, I think it’s a great opportunity for the faith leaders to talk about the we vs. the me, and why we should all go be vaccinated if possible,” said Shandy Dearth, director of the undergraduate epidemiology program at the Fairbanks School of Public Health.

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