UNVACCINATED members of Melbourne’s Jewish community are tragically paying the price for not getting COVID jabs, according to the Australasian Jewish Medical Federation (AJMF).
AJMF Victorian president Dr Jack Green told The AJN this week that “unfortunately, there are still some of us who are holding out and although they have a right to refuse COVID vaccination, this comes at a cost.
“I am aware of unvaccinated members of our Jewish community who are very sick in hospital with COVID-19. Some are in fact requiring ICU care. This is unfortunate and it doesn’t have to be this way. Obtaining the COVID vaccine can prevent the severe manifestations of this disease. Let this be a wake-up call to all those who have yet to get the jab that now is the time to act. This virus is here, now and travelling though our community.”
Green reiterated that the vaccine “is safe, it has been thoroughly tested and has been endorsed by our Therapeutic Goods Administration. There is no reason – apart from rare exceptions – to not get vaccinated. Do it now. Do it for your family. Do it for the community.”
The AJMF’s plea came as Associate Professor Deborah Friedman, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, told an online panel that religious leaders need to take action to persuade hesitant members of their communities to receive the vaccine.
Speaking at a Hatzolah webinar on Sunday, Friedman said, “Severe COVID-19 is a disease of the unvaccinated. We need our community, we need religious leaders, together with local councils, to play a role. We know that COVID-19 is in the communities … We recognise the role of all of the good people in the community to protect each other, and we know that communities can do an excellent job of promoting vaccine, promoting testing and promoting [COVID-safe] behaviours.”
Debunking myths that COVID vaccines can alter DNA, affect fertility or actually cause COVID, she emphasised that these vaccines have strong, trusted origins, have been rigorously tested and have now safely been rolled out to five billion people worldwide.
Friedman said that “at most hospitals right now, intensive care units and the wards are full of patients with COVID-19. At my hospital, there is only one patient in our intensive care unit who’s older than me – I’m 52 – and that shows that you don’t have to be very old to get very sick.”
Watch the Hatzolah webinar at hatzolah.org.au/news/living-with-covid-webinar/.