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COVID-19 Vaccination Q&A

Questions and Answers:

  1. Why is the COVID-19 vaccine being “recommended” and not “required”?

    The COVID-19 vaccine is a highly effective tool for helping each of us stay as healthy as possible. It strongly decreases the likelihood of serious disease, hospitalization, and death. Although the vaccine does slightly decrease infection and transmission for a short time after boosting, that effect wanes and does not last more than 3-6 months. 

    Beth Emeth follows the recommendations of the CDC and strongly recommends all staff, congregants, and students remain up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines (as well as all recommended vaccines.) 
  2. I thought I was safer in a group setting where everyone is immunized?

    It is important to know that the vaccine’s effect on transmission is slight and wanes with time. If you rely on those around you being immunized to protect yourself, you might be putting yourself at greater risk by not taking other precautions (if desired). If you need additional protection, you should consider wearing a high-grade mask when indoors in crowded situations.
  3. Is my child at higher risk of getting COVID-19 if there are unimmunized children in the class?

    There are no hard data suggesting that you are at greater or less risk based on the immunization status alone. Many children (over 90%) have been infected with COVID-19. Recent studies do show significant immunity against serious disease, hospitalization and death from prior infection. However, hybrid immunity (having an up to date vaccine in a person with a prior infection) provides the best immunity. So even if your child has had COVID-19, they should still be vaccinated. 
  4. Why do some people not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine and why do some parents not want to vaccinate their children?

    Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new. It has been around for many years, however, the discussion during this pandemic has brought it to the news headlines and more people are now aware of vaccine hesitancy. Research has shown that most vaccine hesitancy stems from a lack of accurate information, misinformation, and unfounded fears. Once people are given correct information on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, many will proceed with vaccination.
  5. Why do we mandate other vaccines for our school children and not COVID-19 vaccine? 

    There are many reasons why vaccines are mandated for school age children. Some are vaccines that are very effective and have a long history of preventing infection and transmission of highly contagious diseases. Other vaccines are mandated by local schools and jurisdictions to help increase the uptake in the general population.  Beth Emeth has and will continue to follow the school health recommendations of Fairfax County Public Schools (whose policies are written in coordination with the Fairfax County Department of Health.)
  6. Why did we require the vaccine this past school year and we are not requiring it next year?
    At the time the vaccine first became available for children, we were hoping we would see better efficacy against all COVID-19 infections and their transmission. We now have more real-world data and believe with the new information that strongly recommending the vaccine is the best policy at this time. 
  7. Are we moving backward by changing from a requirement to a recommendation for the COVID-19 vaccine? 
    We actually believe that we are moving forward.  We are in a much better place regarding this virus than we were two years ago. Thanks to widespread community immunity (from both vaccine and prior infections) and treatment options, serious disease, hospitalizations, and deaths are continuing to decline. 
  8. Will or can this policy change back to a requirement in the future?

    All our COVID-19 policies will continue to be reviewed and changed if new information becomes available to support a change.
March 30, 2023
Tue, June 18 2024 12 Sivan 5784