The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis, and The EMES Initiative, an Orthodox nurse-led healthcare resource organization — recommend the flu shot every year as the best way to protect yourself, your family, and others against the flu (influenza).

Flu is a contagious disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, or death, even in healthy individuals. Everyone aged 6 months and older should get a yearly flu vaccine. Flu can be especially dangerous for infants, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions. Pregnant women should receive the flu shot. Pregnant women who get infected with the flu are at increased risk for preterm labor and fetal death. Infants born to immunized mothers have a significantly reduced risk of hospitalization for the flu in the first 6 months of life.

While some people who are vaccinated may still get sick from other flu strains, studies show the flu vaccine decreases the severity of the illness and reduces hospitalizations, shortens ICU stays, and reduces death rates from the flu. The flu virus keeps changing, so vaccines are updated every year for the best protection.

Rabbi Aaron Glatt, MD, Director of Halacha and Medicine Commission for the RAA, states “Vaccinating against influenza (flu) is one of the most important things a person can do, to personally protect themselves, their family and their community from, Heaven forbid, a fatal influenza infection. A tragic fact is of the 180 children who died of the flu in the 2017- 2018 flu season, 80% of them were not vaccinated. Many current Gedolim mandate influenza vaccination based upon the Jewish imperative to maintain one’s health.”

Judaism places the utmost value on safeguarding our health and preserving human life. We pray daily for good health and healing. We are Halachically required to take care of ourselves as well as take precautions to prevent sickness and harm to others. The flu vaccine is a necessary measure to keep yourself and the community healthy.

For more information on the flu shot or other vaccines, contact: EMES Initiative 347.669.EMES Email: