In just a few days, the Israel Ministry of Health will offer several vaccinations to eighth graders including diphtheria, tetanus and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Should your child receive the HPV vaccine? Is this morally obligated for every child? How does Jewish law relate to the obligation to vaccinate against HPV?
There are several reasons to vaccinate in grade 8. HPV vaccine is endorsed by the World Health Organization and over 100 countries and is part of the national immunization program in 67 countries including Israel and the United States. The vaccine is designed to protect against HPV infection, a virus that is primarily sexually transmitted and infects more than 79,000,000 Americans. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), without the HPV vaccination, virtually every sexually active American will be infected at some point in their life. Vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides protection for individuals who have not developed immunity (commonly called herd immunity). Therefore, those who refuse vaccination increase not only the risk of their own infection, but also the infection of others.