As the United States battles the worst measles outbreak in 25 years, Chai Lifeline has taken several steps to protect the health and safety of its clients and their families, employees, volunteers, and greater community. In consultation with its medical staff, Chai Lifeline has instituted guidelines and policies requiring documentation of MMR vaccinations for all employees, as well as their family members, and volunteers who interact with clients in any way—be it camp staff and visitors, transportation, or respite volunteers, etc.
To ensure a safe summer at Camp Simcha/Special, Chai Lifeline is also enforcing a strict immunization policy for all campers and has taken special precautions to accommodate those with medical exemptions.
Protecting immunocompromised infants and children who are too young or too sick to be vaccinated is a matter of critical importance to Chai Lifeline as the largest children’s health support network in the Jewish world. With weaker immune systems—due to a variety of factors such as chemotherapy, genetic disorders or organ transplants—these children carry the greatest risk from exposure to the highly contagious virus. For them, measles isn’t just an uncomfortable illness; it can be fatal. Indeed, research has shown that for the immunocompromised population, the complication and death rates due to measles exposure are significantly higher, and recovery times much longer.
Chai Lifeline’s Chief Executive Officer Rabbi Simcha Scholar has taken a leadership position on this issue and has spoken out against the dangers of the anti-vaccination movement in the media and in public forums. He has been quoted in several publications and has authored letters and opinion pieces advocating on behalf of immunocompromised children in The New York Times, New York Post, and The Times of Israel, among others.
Chai Lifeline has partnered with community organization to educate the public on the benefits of vaccinations and is committed to countering the spread of harmful misinformation.