Certainly, pregnant women need to take extra precautions.
Even vaccines considered safe by conventional medicine aren't always considered safe for pregnancy.
See, for example, this Mayo Clinic article which lists vaccines that should NOT be taken during pregnancy:
- Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine
- Shingles vaccine
(In fact, conventional medicine recommends the measles vaccine not be taken within even 1 month of getting pregnant. That's how risky it is.)
So questioning the risk of a vaccine during pregnancy is a perfectly logical thing to do.
In fact, questioning the risk of any new drug or vaccine makes perfect sense.
ESPECIALLY for pregnant women (and children!).
The Covid Vaccine with Gestational Diabetes & a Possibly Pre-Existing Covid Infection
It hit her really hard.
Because of her fear over covid & how her & her husband's businesses necessitated them interacting with all different kinds of people from all over, she decided to take the covid vaccine in her third trimester.
It totally knocked her out.
She suffered terrible coughing & fever & weakness.
When I spoke to her after Rosh Hashanah, she sounded terrible with a hoarse voice full of agony.
She is such an emotionally & physically strong & energetic person; it was shocking to hear how knocked-out she was.
She described how she could not even sit for the Rosh Hashanah meals, instead needing to lie down throughout the chag.
With 7 children, everything fell on her husband and oldest daughter.
Eventually, she recovered & insisted her severe reaction stemmed from an pre-existing covid infection, which overloaded her body with covid with the addition of the covid vaccine.
Fortunately, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl a few weeks ago & the whole covid fiasco seems behind them.
It's difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of such a severe reaction to the covid vaccine without proof.
But in addition to the risk of taking a vaccine while pregnant, I would think the diabetes would throw a wrench into things.
And why was she allowed to take such a new & untested vaccine while pregnant & WITH diabetes?
And why was she allowed to take the vaccine when she already had covid? (Unless no one knew she had it; that part isn't clear.)
I don't judge her. I understand her fear.
But I would think it would be, from a purely medical standpoint, contraindicated to take any vaccine—especially such a new & unnecessary vaccine—while pregnant & suffering diabetes.
Why are so many doctors not only allowing this, but even encouraging this?
Not all doctors are, of course. But why would anyone encourage this?
If it's true that she already had a covid infection, then it's the vaccine that knocked her out so badly, not the covid itself.
But again, there's no proof about exactly what happened. And baruch Hashem, she and baby are fine.
Yet one thing is clear: This pregnant diabetic suffered a truly debilitating reaction to the covid vaccine.
Why Some People Dread Another Bout of Covid
For example, we could hear our neighbor coughing outside when our windows were open.
It made us wince to hear such torturous coughing. And it went on for so long...
His wife told me other family members also caught the virus, everyone with different levels of severity from asymptomatic to hospitalization.
The whole family really suffered, whether it was directly from their own illness or taking care of ill family members.
She spoke in favor of the vaccine with a determined look on her face.
She asked me if we would get vaccinated and I gave her a side-winding reply in the effort to avoid any kind of confrontation or unpleasantness.
She didn't look happy about my apparent rejection of the vaccine, but desiring to avoid unpleasantness as much as I did, she didn't press the issue.
A Beautiful Scene of Mommy & Baby: Young, Idealistic, and Accomplished
I'd been at the wedding of the young couple (she was 17; he was 19) and now their first baby sat between the mother-in-law & daughter-in-law.
The baby was an auburn-haired 8-month-old with sparkling brown eyes & long black eyelashes.
As my neighbor gave her baby granddaughter an affectionate squeeze, she said, "I don't know why, but this one is so attached to me!"
Seeing the chemistry between them, one would think they were mother & daughter, rather than mother-in-law & daughter-in-law.
The daughter-in-law (who's probably only 19 by now) sat decked out in her glamorous Shabbat finery with skillfully applied makeup.
She looked so confident & satisfied with herself—a state I witnessed often among the frum community's young mothers and one I sometimes experienced myself (even though at 24, I wasn't as young as they are when I had my first).
Due to the much later stage the average American gets married nowadays, plus their very different attitude toward marriage & childbearing, I never saw this exact state in secular society.
But the youthful idealism that accompanies the frum young women who feel that managing a home & a baby is an extremely gratifying achievement imbues these young mothers with a certain glow & sense of accomplishment.
When they manage to get their homes & selves into "perfect" shape for their husbands (and doing it for themselves too), plus taking good care of their new baby, they feel so good about themselves.
In addition, there's an innovation toward problem-solving that goes with young motherhood too, and that sense of innovation in problem-solving also builds their self-confidence.
(Side note: This something intrinsic. Even as far back as 1894, the frum 18-year-old Rachel Calof, married & pregnant on the prairie of North Dakota, reflected this same sense of satisfaction & accomplishment when she reached certain self-made goals in dire circumstances. She writes of this in her memoir: www.amazon.com/Rachel-Calofs-Story-Homesteader-Northern/dp/0253209862)
And sure, this pinnacle often fades as the family grows (making it impossible to maintain those high standards without help—if at all), plus the husband usually isn't aware of how much hard work she invests behind the scenes in making everything look so good & function so well, so she relaxes her standards over time.
But this very early period of marriage & motherhood can be a very gratifying time for the young mother.
And that's what I saw: A young woman who felt wonderful about herself, her baby, and her life.
She had it all.
And then she decided to take the vaccine.
The Covid Vaccine while Pregnant (Unhappy Ending)
It came out negative.
But no one knew at the time that it was a false negative.
She actually WAS pregnant at that time.
So unwittingly, she got vaccinated while pregnant.
When my neighbor (the mother-in-law) related how her daughter-in-law's pregnancy ended in a stillbirth at 6 months, she lowered her voice & confided, "I'm positive the vaccine caused it. The bleeding started right after she took the vaccine."
Both the medical staff & the family did everything they could to save the baby.
My neighbor arranged for the young couple to move in with them to relieve the young mother of all domestic burdens, allowing the young mother to minimize any physical & emotional stress in order to save her unborn child.
"It was so difficult," my neighbor sighed. "At 6 months, she needed to go through labor & birth, all the while knowing she wouldn't have a baby in the end."
It hurt to hear the story, especially since this young woman wasn't even out of her teens yet & had been feeling so good about her life & doing so well.
The neighbor sighed again.
"My mother-in-law insisted on taking the third shot. Well, it's understandable due to her age & she's so afraid of getting sick with covid. But now I just think that..."
She flapped her hands as if swatting something away and looked me in the eye. "You know what?" she said. "It doesn't matter. Getting vaccinated or not getting vaccinated...it's all from Hashem. We can't know anything. Only Hashem decides."
And I openly validated her with all my heart.
Then I gave her my heartfelt blessings for their good health in the future.
Say No to Vaccination during Pregnancy
Yes, there are indications their suffering stemmed from the vaccine.
But no proof.
However, it's clear that vaccines can affect pregnant women negatively.
These aren't the only examples.
Maybe some pregnant women respond well to getting vaccinated while pregnant.
But so many do not. That's cause enough for concern.
And why should a vaccine be pushed or even allowed for pregnant women when it has not undergone rigorous long-term testing?
Why take that risk?
Why are pregnant women not only allowed the vaccine, but even encouraged to take an unproven vaccine that could harm them much more than the virus itself could?
After all, when mumps and then measles ran around the frum community here in Eretz Yisrael (including mumps in those vaccinated against mumps), no one recommended pregnant women get vaccinated against these diseases.
So why recommend it for covid?
Combine this with my observation that almost everyone we know who has come down with the Delta variant was vaccinated at least twice (including my husband's other younger sister who was not pregnant & dealt with a very light case of the Delta covid AFTER she received at least 2 vaccinations.).
Based on the above, along with the whispers of other disasters regarding pregnant women & covid vaccination, my present position stands firmly against any covid vaccination while pregnant.
It's not the only vaccine harmful to pregnant women.
A Most Unpopular Position
Rav Itamar Schwartz is not in favor of the vaccine, but nor is he against it either.
He often tells people they need not take it. It seems he himself has not taken it nor does he plan to.
But in some cases, he tells people they can & if so, to do so without fear, but only bitachon in Hashem.
For example, when asked about taking the covid vaccine in order to come to Eretz Yisrael (because people aren't being allowed in without it), he considers this an excellent reason to take it because the merit of coming to Eretz Yisrael will shield a person against any harm.
And this one:
VACCINATING-LEARNING IN ERETZ YISRAEL
October 19, 2021
What should I do if the Israeli government authorities require that I take the corona vaccine in order to learn in yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael?
There is no need to take the vaccine.
But if they require you to take it, do not worry, Hashem is watching you especially [because], you are involved with a great mitzvah and you will not be harmed, with siyata d’shmaya.
This is why when my neighbor went from being gung-ho in favor of the vaccine to giving it all up to Hashem, I supported her so passionately.
From all the vaccine and covid smoke-and-mirrors, she managed to reach the exact point Hashem wants us to reach: There is only Hashem.
And that's why even though I personally continue to avoid the vaccine, I also do not condemn or try to convince people who do believe in the vaccine's efficacy & wish to take it.
I realize this neither-here-nor-there position is the most unpopular one at this point.
Most people come down firmly either in favor or against.
Both sides consider people like me stupid ("Can't you SEE what all the evidence shows?"), ignorant ("Are you not current with the latest information?"), and uncaring about human life ("Without the vaccine, everyone is gonna die!" "With the vaccine, everyone is gonna die!").
And I admit I don't completely understand Rav Schwartz's views on the covid vaccine.
(Actually, I don't completely understand him on anything. But whatever I do understand always gives me tremendous benefit.)
So I cannot answer questions about his views on the vaccine (though I strongly encourage others to do their own research; maybe YOU will understand more & can explain it all to me).
Struggling to Stay on the Straight Path
I also personally know people who received the vaccine and felt just fine. And they still feel fine.
And no one KNOWS the long-term consequences...because enough time simply has not gone by to be considered "long term."
By "no one," I mean no one on either side of the issue.
We can't KNOW something for sure until it happens. We can make very educated—even accurate—predictions. But we can't KNOW.
Certainly, people can make educated guesses based on current studies & observations.
For example, I personally will continue to avoid the vaccine.
I will personally continue to consider the vaccine not a real vaccine because it does not seem to actually vaccinate. (Again, nearly everyone we know infected with the Delta variant received the covid "vaccination." How is it considered a vaccination when it does not seem to vaccinate?)
Or maybe it does actually vaccinate some people?
And my family's hishtadlut for covid-prevention continues to be taking vitamin D, vitamin K2, and zinc. (We forget to take it every day, however. Also, large amounts of vitamin D deplete magnesium, which can cause muscle aches. So if you're taking a lot of vitamin D & you're suffering aching joints & muscles, magnesium can help tremendously. Magnesium helped me overnight.)
Anyway, things are very up in the air & I very much want to focus on Hashem's Hand in it all rather than focusing so much on the vaccine itself (including the nasty plans of powerful people). This includes both opinions, whether believing the vaccine is the answer for humanity or considering it a deadly weapon of the global elite.
I very much want to focus on Hashem's Power.
And I'm just trying to do this in the best way I can.
(Having said all that...PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD NOT TAKE THE VACCINE!)
And thus...any email or comment sent bashing Rav Schwartz in any way will be deleted unread & unanswered.
Even if the bashing is well-intentioned & diplomatically worded, I am not interested in reading it especially since my sensibilities tell me any bashers probably lack the time & intellect to thoroughly comb through everything Rav Schwartz has said, both in Hebrew & in English translation.
After all, I myself lack the intellect to thoroughly comb through & understand everything he says on the topic.
So I don't think a critic or basher would either.
So bashing without fully understanding the person? Pointless.