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Islam and vaccinations: what should I do next?

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Category: Religion - Islam
Forum Name: General Islamic Matter
Forum Discription: Discuss Islamic matters/issues that not covered by other sub catagories
Printed Date: 23 November 2014 at 8:02am

Topic: Islam and vaccinations: what should I do next?
Posted By: lady
Subject: Islam and vaccinations: what should I do next?
Date Posted: 18 October 2012 at 3:56am

Please answer my question as soon as possible.

I am a traveling nurse and I travel to different states every three months, etc.  The hospital that I will be traveling too next week forces all nurses to take the flu vaccination.  I read two years ago an article that said alot of nurses and health care workers later in their older years were having more appearances of MS (multiple sclerosis).  It is a disease that affects the central nerous system, etc.  The article said that the main thing that these health care workers including nurses have in common is that they are forced to take the common vaccinations required by the state, such as the flu vaccination etc.  Now whether these vaccinations causes MS later in life because it is taken for years by these health care workers or nurses is unknown, but it is something that can not be ignored.
Anyway, I took the flu vaccination last year for the first time because I was not thinking that I can argue against it based on my religion.  So this year things have changed, if you refused the vaccination, either you will be fired from your job or you have to show  a letter that is signed by the Imam that this is against our religious belief. 
The problem I am having now is that when I called the mosque that is located in the state of my permanent address, the imam there disgree that the flu vaccination is against islam, etc.  His response was that he has been taking it for 13 years and there is no side effects.  I texted him back and said thanks for his opinion etc. 
I have one week to come up with a notorized signature or a stamp that has the mosque name on my refusal letter stating  only that the "I can not take the flu vaccination because it is against my religion."  What should I do next?
Even if I was not muslim, I do not believe in getting vaccinated. I am the type of person who will not even take tynelol for a headache or belly pain, etc.  I belief in home schooling kids for many reasons but one is so that my future kids will not have to take vaccinations, etc.
Please dont send me any replies saying that the flu vaccination is good for people, etc.  I know both arguments, I just need help on what to do next.  I will try to contact all mosque or even travel far to some just to get this approve signature from an Imam.  Do you know of any imams on the east coast who will sign my letter just in case the others in my state will agree with my local imam? 
Or maybe you can help me to have a better debate with that imam who said that he can not sign my paper.

Posted By: Ron Webb
Date Posted: 18 October 2012 at 10:26pm
What should you do?  Well, the only group I know of that says vaccinations are forbidden in Islam is the Taliban.  Maybe you should contact them.  Evil%20Smile
Seriously, what should you do?  You should get the flu shot.  And you should fulfill your parental obligation to protect your children from harm by ensuring that they get the flu shot too.  Not to mention your obligation to your patients who might get sick and possibly die because of your obstinacy.
But you won't listen to the hospital, you won't listen to the schools, you won't listen to every competent medical authority, you won't even listen to your imam, so why would you listen to me?

Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.

Posted By: nospam001
Date Posted: 19 October 2012 at 12:21am

Originally posted by lady

I read two years ago an article that said alot of nurses and health care workers later in their older years were having more appearances of MS (multiple sclerosis).
Supposing the source were a peer-reviewed scientific paper and the findings have since been replicated then I'd take it to the next step - i.e. weigh it up against all the other arguments for and against and finally make a decision under conditions of less-than-total certainty. 

Having said that, it would take very strong evidence to outweigh the other (firmly-established) benefits that flu vaccinations do provide.
For vaccinating one's child: imagine the two worst-case scenarios and decide how you'd feel in each case.  In one, you refuse to vaccinate and your child later dies from an easily preventable disease - along with some other people you don't even know; in the other, you do vaccinate, and she dies as a result of (what is not yet proven to be) a side-effect of the vaccine. For me, this little thought experiment makes it a no-brainer. But each to his own, I suppose.

God has the right to remain silent. For His advocates, however, each resigned shrug is a missed opportunity to win new converts.

Posted By: abuayisha
Date Posted: 19 October 2012 at 7:34am

Assalamu alaikum,

Lady  your argument for religious exemption should not be based upon whether or not the shot causes harm, but  you are not compelled and can't be forced to take the medicine.

During the Prophet's illness Aisha (raa) said we put medicine in the side of his (asa) mouth, and he waved us away indicating he did not want it, but we continued anyway thinking patients have an aversion to medicine.  The Prophet said, 'Did I not forbid you to put medicine (by force) in the side of my mouth?  We said, 'We thought it was just because patients usually dislike medicine.'  He said, 'None of those who are in the house but will be forced to take medicine in the side of his mouth while I am watching, except Al Abbas, for he had not witnessed your deed.'

So your argument to the Imam is that by forcing you to take something against your will - it is a form of harm, which under ideal circumstance you could retaliate.  There is no compulsion in taking medicine - this is what he is signing off on, and not specifically on "flu shots".    I wish you well, and be careful during your travels.

Posted By: abuayisha
Date Posted: 19 October 2012 at 7:43am
Originally posted by Ron Webb

What should you do?  Well, the only group I know of that says vaccinations are forbidden in Islam is the Taliban.  Maybe you should contact them.  Evil%20Smile
OSHA and Nurses Not on the Bandwagon
While many employers and professional groups promote mandatory flu vaccination, opposition has arisen from the federal government and unions representing nurses.
Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the U.S. Department of Labor, submitted comments to the NVAC in January 2012 saying mandatory vaccinations are not necessary and arguing against employees being fired for not receiving the flu shot.
OSHA strongly supports “efforts to increase influenza vaccination rates among health care personnel in accordance with the Healthy People 2020 goals,” Barab wrote. However, “at this time, OSHA believes there is insufficient evidence for the federal government to promote mandatory influenza vaccination programs that may result in employment termination.”
While vaccination protects health care workers from the flu, scientific literature does not support vaccinating the workers in order to protect patients, Barab wrote. “High [health care personnel] influenza vaccination rates are generally desirable, but we are unaware of any evidence to support the notion that such a high influenza vaccination rate is also essential to protect patients, and should thus bemandatory.”
Barab urged NVAC to rewrite its recommendations to remove references to firing employees who refuse the influenza vaccine. Instead, OSHA encourages employers to offer the vaccination to employees, educate them on the benefits and risks of the shot, and allow employees to sign statements declining the shot if that is their preference.
The National Nurses United union agrees with OSHA’s stance. Nurse DeAnn McEwen, vice president of the National Nurses United Executive Board, told SHRM Online that the union strongly recommends that all nurses receive all recommended vaccines. But any vaccination program “should include extensive education on risks and benefits with an emphasis on patient protection,” she said. And nurses should have the right to refuse any treatment, including a vaccination, for religious or health reasons, she added.
Instead of making the flu shot a condition of employment as a means of preventing flu transmission, McEwen said, nurses and health care professionals should receive education and easy access to the vaccine, education on hygiene and hand washing to prevent spreading the flu, and sufficient sick leave so that ill health care professionals can stay home and not pass the flu to co-workers or patients.
In addition, the nurses’ union objects to forcing employees who decline the vaccine to wear a mask. “There’s not good science to recommend masking,” she said. “Masking is also targeting the individual for exercising her rights to refuse medical treatment and, I think, violates privacy laws. It’s not good policy for hospitals, for patients seeing everyone wearing masks—it’s a facade of protection that doesn’t really benefit the public.”
Some nurses who are fighting against vaccination as a condition of employment have won a major battle: In January 2012, a United States District Court ruled in favor of the Washington State Nurses Association, representing more than 600 registered nurses at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, in upholding an arbitrator’s decision that stopped the hospital from forcing nurses to receive the flu shot. The hospital was one of the first health care systems to have a mandatory flu vaccine policy, starting in 2004, according to
“HR professionals should look at this as an employee satisfaction issue, and what the public’s perception of the employer will be, on how it treats its employees,” McEwen said. “Opt on the side of being professional and evidence-based, providing education and incentivizing employees” to receive the shot. “Avoid being coercive and mandatory. No sound policy supports that.”

Posted By: Ghazzali
Date Posted: 19 October 2012 at 10:22am
Aassalamualaikum. Why would you expect an imam to say its against our religion when actually it isn't? It's a health issue, not a religious one. You dont want vaccination because it can cause MS, but if u catch a deadly flu, it can kill u and u will spread it to other people, most possibly ur patients. It's ur choice. Not an imam's. Why force an imam to lie? The way i see it, u have two options: file a suit in a court against ur employers, or leave the job. Both are costly, but probably less than the threat of MS, as u put it.

May Allah help you.

The world is a dangerous place to live in, not because of the bad people, but because of the good people who does not do anything about it.

Posted By: Ron Webb
Date Posted: 19 October 2012 at 4:49pm
Originally posted by abuayisha

OSHA and Nurses Not on the Bandwagon
Sure, but just to be clear, both groups strongly support vaccination and agree that nurses should be vaccinated.  What they're saying is that they should not be coerced into it by government or employers.
I'm not sure myself whether coercion is justified, but IMHO coercion shouldn't even be necessary.  Health care professionals ought to understand the medical benefits and see through the fearmongering of the anti-vaxxers.

Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.

Posted By: lady
Date Posted: 22 October 2012 at 1:52am


Thanks for all your replies.  Abuayisha I saw the current assistant Imam and he agreed with me.  I showed him what you wrote on this website and he decided to talk to the imam. Anyway later he talked to the Imam, and they will sign my letter.  I was so stressed about this. wallahi. Thanks so much again.
PS Ghazzali, I did not say that the flu vaccination can cause MS. There is no proof of this but only that alot of nurses and health care workers are having it. The article found that health care workers have a history of common vaccinations that they take each year, and whether or not those vaccinations are causing MS is unknown at that point of time I read that article.  Also religion and health can not be seperated. I know all the things you post about how it is more beneficial to take the flu vaccination etc. That is why I said I am not interested to hear that the flu vaccination is good for people, etc.   Even though I 100 percent disagree with you, but thanks for taking out the time to post your concerns.
And may Allah bless you more.
FYI for anyone who is religiously committed to taking the  flu vaccination and they have major concerns about my refusal of it, then know this:
 for the ones who have approval of not taking the flu vaccination, they must wear a different mask upon entering each patient's room.  I am so happy to do this becacuse I feel like it is safer to protect myself this way then to take the flu vaccination.  And also, I am happy that I get to be more modest and hide my face at the same time.Wink

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