I don’t understand how any religion would advocate against vaccines. I can appreciate that certain products are against certain religious beliefs.

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I just wish we actually knew if vaccines caused autism, developmental delays, and immune compromise. I looked back at my daughter’s childhood vaccinations, and the years of multiple vaccinations she had trouble with her lymph nodes and strep like infections. No medical intervention is without harm. I just wish we knew the harms of vaccination instead of hiding them and pretending they don’t exist.

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It defies logic that a religious group would be opposed to life-saving vaccinations. Taken to the extreme those advocates would avoid antibiotics for infections, statins for CVD, insulin for type 1 diabetes. However, the latter examples impact only that individual, while vaccination impacts the community, protecting others from transmission of the communicable disease.

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"The lawyer who headed the Mississippi effort will now introduce litigation to allow religious exemptions in West Virginia, New York, Maine, California, and Connecticut." I live in Connecticut and this lawyer is wasting his time if he thinks he will get the same result he did in Mississippi. Thanks for the update Dr. Offit.

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Let's see if the comments are mobbed again like Offit's last post. 😅

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Genuine medical exemptions? …Fine, no problem.

These supposedly “religious” exemptions? …throw them out. They are a cop out plea by those who want an ideological/philosophical exemption but who can’t get it. Anyway, all the major religions support vaccination.

If a child gets some specious religious exemption because their fake religion supposedly forbids it, then I’d say “OK”, but unless you demonstrate clear and regular commitment to worship within that religion (eg proof of attendance at meetings/whatever) after a 24 month deadline, then you will be fined $10,000.

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4 years ago, I would have agreed with this piece.

But now we have all seen that hysteria can infect government, the scientific community, and otherwise rational people.

Some vaccines are good (smallpox is a low-hanging fruit), some vaccines are bad (RotaShield), and some vaccines we think are good may later turn out to have caused problems (e.g., debate on the varicella vaccine causing the rise in shingles).

Had there been a Rotavirus panic in 1998 which gripped the media, fearful mothers, and compelled the government to "act", we might have seen the flawed RotaShield vaccine mandated and derision at anyone trying to search for the safety signal that slow, careful scientists wound up finding in the absense of panic.

In 2021 we had California trying to mandate the Covid vaccine in children while other countries around the world were pulling back the shots for anyone under 30. Who was right?

We shouldn't need to compel anyone to do anything. We should make our arguments, express humility, and hope people make the logical choice. If someone can't be reasoned with, firm up your arguments, but you will never convince 100% of people of anything, and that too is OK.

You express concern that people now have the right to use the shield of "religious exemption" - yet look around at the voices of otherwise intelligent people, still caught up in this hysteria, disappointed that a man "they greatly respect" is not wanting the entire population to get the next booster.

(hint, that man is you)

If these types of people were in charge, they would want shot #6 , #7, and every single shot thereafter, mandated across the globe, for all age groups. Do you agree with them? Might it be a good to have protections from fanatics like this? Because I want protection from *their* religion.


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instead of using this space to demonize those who abstain from experimental medical interventions - why not use it as a space to articulate your nuanced rationale for why you didnt take the bivalent covid shot and wont take the updated covid vaccine?

you have many devout readers here, doctor. the dissenters are also curious to this reasoning.

dr offit was quoted in the following artile:


"Offit, who is 72, already had COVID-19 once and is in good health, did not receive the bivalent booster himself and doesn’t plan to get the new one. “I think I have hybrid immunity and clearly hybrid immunity is best.” He says it comes down to the data. “If [CDC is] going to make that broad recommendation, show me why that is,” he says. “Take healthy 12- to 17-year-olds who have already gotten three doses of vaccine or two doses and natural infection. Are they getting hospitalized?”

He notes that the mRNA vaccines made by the Pfizer/BioNTech collaboration and Moderna also have a risk of causing a heart condition called myocarditis. It is rare and often quickly resolves itself, but, he says, “this is a real side effect.” There are also even rarer vaccine side effects that scientists are still trying to understand."

additional commentary for the curious:


perhaps you can also address the glaring omission in your opening comments about not all vaccines being 100% effective...in addition all interventions have tradeoffs.

might this be your reasoning for your vote against the recently approved RSV vaccine which caused a significant increase in pre-term births among vaccinated mothers in the dose group of pfizer's clinical trial?


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Sep 11·edited Sep 11

The closest religion in America that would be vaccine hesitant is Christian Science. My grandmother was a devout Christian Scientist and had her entire family vaccinated.

"For more than a century, our denomination has counseled respect for public health authorities and conscientious obedience to the laws of the land, including those requiring vaccination."


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Is there any available data on the 9 million immunocompromised individuals acquiring vaccine preventable disease’s?

Is herd immunity through vaccination the only countermeasure available for these people?

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A very tragic development; from my point of view, the backlash seems to be a mirror reflection of the un-nuanced approach regarding covid vaccines...

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Excellent piece! I enjoy the sanity you bring to health topics. Always appreciate not being alone on rational issues!

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Summary of the strongest arguments why vaccine mandates are unethical. Moreover, it is ethically obligatory to refuse any medical procedure imposed by coercion. Nothing exposes people to a greater risk of harm than taking away their right to free medical consent. https://michaelkowalik.substack.com/p/why-vaccine-mandates-are-unethical

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Another sad hijacking of religion for other ideological agendas. When we think of all the transgressions that have occurred in the name of religion, it’s really shocking. Not to mention another manifestation of institutionalized child abuse. I feel bad for those who will be hurt by this ruling, some will die, and for the good, sensible religious people in whose name these bills are being passed.

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Vaccines are a hammer. A tool. There are other tools. Maybe optimal cardiometabolic health would better protect most people from disease. (not infection.) Of those who died in this article, how many were truly healthy? I'm 61 and less than 1% of my peers are healthy. Maybe that is the problem. The vaccine hammer works, but I need a rowing machine.

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What a completely disingenuous article from a respected public health figure. The inclusion of a section to pull at heart strings at the end, is the icing on the cake. It's cheap and it wasn't necessary.

I see you also conveniently forgot to mention you decided to forego the bivalent and latest boosters in this piece and assume that reductions in the prevalence of the target disease is all that matters (no, overall health outcomes is what matters) and for the covid vaccines the truth is we just don't know, and we won't know for a long time yet.

I have a close acquaintance who knows their immunology, having got a PhD related to vaccine creation for a different respiratory virus and they are deeply saddened (maybe livid is the right word) by the current state of affairs that has put their whole profession into serious disrepute. Almost everything that was proposed during covid made literally no sense to them and the fact that even now, after everything we know, we can say with a straight face that we must trust what the experts are saying about vaccines, beggars belief. Everything from masks, to purported 100% efficacy on something that mutates so quickly, to lockdowns, to vaccinating kids and pregnant women, to suppression of early treatment, to vaccinating into a pandemic, to using the spike as the vaccine target, to deploying a new vaccine delivery system that was known to go everywhere and is the very definition of a gene therapy then just classifying it as not, so you could skirt the minimum of tests for those things... Need I go on...

Because of this, what are likely to be perfectly good vaccines for a range of diseases is now (rightly) the subject of scepticism. How you can come out and expect people to "just trust you" after you yourselves are basically the chief architects of sowing that distrust by supporting utterly insane policies, that at best you had no idea what the outcome would be, to knowing (if you know anything about your medical fields) that they will cause more harm overall, is just laughable.

You yourself can't even bring yourself to take the 2 latest versions of the covid vaccine when it is being shoved onto the rest of the population and you lament that they don't want them or any other vaccine?! Give me a break.

Generally, you have to know someone in the industry, otherwise you will never get anywhere near the truth in any matter. I'm sure that in private, everything above will resonate with those who know what they're talking about, but you can't expect this from the average person, because unlike me, they won't know anyone. They rely on you! You are the ones who have destroyed that trust. This is just crocodile tears. Maybe you'll choose integrity over towing the line next time. We can only hope.

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