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Why some orthodox Jewish women are not vaccinated

New York City estimates that health officials will spend as much as $ 60 million on a vaccine-seeking program to combat hesitation and access problems. But in many Orthodox neighborhoods, messages from respected rabbis resonate more.

In Israel, where coronavirus restrictions have ceased now that the majority of the population has been vaccinated, government officials faced similar difficulties with the ultra-Orthodox community. However, community representatives led an effective counter-messaging campaign.

But these announcements have not been as successful in New York.

In the zip code of Borough Park in Brooklyn, which has a large Orthodox community, 28.5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated compared to a 45.7 percent rate for all city residents. In the zip code for South Williamsburg, where several leading Hasidic sects are centered, 35 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. In East Crown Heights, where the Hasidic sect Chabad-Lubavitch is headquartered, the number is 30.5 percent.

Patrick Gallahue, a spokesman for the city’s health ministry, said the agency has run ads in local Orthodox media, worked with community-based organizations to host additional pop-up vaccination sites, and has partnered with trusted organizations like Hatzalah, an Orthodox. volunteer ambulance corps to train members of the community.

Other organizations in the region have made a similar effort.

John Lyon, a spokesman for the Rockland County Department of Health, said fertility has been the biggest problem for ultra-Orthodox residents when it comes to receiving the coronavirus vaccine. Rockland County, home to 90,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, was hit particularly hard by the virus last year.

Sir. Lyon said the department “works through the delicate and personal process” to answer fertility-related questions by working with local health care providers and sending envoys to community rabbis who have the best chance of influencing community outcomes.

In April, the Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association hosted three livestream webinars on the coronavirus vaccine targeting Orthodox women, doulas, before marriage counselors and ritual bathrooms or mikvah companions, involving a total of nearly 5,000 participants.

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