Russian Orthodox Church Officially Opposes Compulsory Vaccinations of Children by Patriarchal Commission on the Family for Russian-Faith
“First and foremost, concern for the welfare of children, including their health, is entrusted by God to their parents. The state and society should respect the priority of parental rights”
“It is well known that, along with the risk of infectious diseases, there is also a risk of serious complications — even death — as a result of prophylactic vaccination. In such a situation, it is the patient himself who should make the choice. In the case of a child, the parents should make the choice . . . . No one has the right to make this choice for them . . .”
Editor’s Note: Certain legislators in Russia have proposed new laws that would make vaccines mandatory, making it difficult for dissenting parents to opt out from vaccinating their children. In response to this overstep, the Russian Orthodox Church has released a statement, publicly opposing the proposed legislation and encouraging Russian lawmakers not to implement it.
The following statement was written by the Patriarchal Commission on the Family, an official advisory board which reports to Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. Advisory board members include Fr. Dmitry Smirnov and Fr. Maxim Obukhov, prominent priests in Moscow, both of whom recently spoke at the World Congress of Families in Verona, Italy.
Source: pk-semya.ru (in Russian)
On the Rights of Parents in the Field of Child Health Care and Immunoprophylaxis
Statement by the Patriarchal Commission on the Family, & Protection of Motherhood and Childhood
The Patriarchal Commission on Family, Maternity and Childhood has received appeals to comment on the public discussion of measures proposed by individual legislators, representatives of government departments, and specialists, in order to increase the coverage of the population — especially children — with preventive vaccines.
Recently, at high-level events, the following measures were proposed for public discussion, in particular:
- restriction of the right of parents to informed voluntary consent to prophylactic vaccination of children or refusal of them;
- restricting the rights of unvaccinated children to attend classes in educational organizations;
- introduction of compulsory vaccination passports for children (including electronic ones) and fixing in them the reasons for refusing these or other vaccinations;
- limiting the spread of information that is critical to vaccine prevention.
In this regard, the Patriarchal Commission considers it necessary to state the following:
“The Orthodox Church has consistently high respect for medical activities, which is based on the ministry of love, aimed at preventing and alleviating human suffering” . Thanks to advances in medical science, including in the field of prevention, the prevention and treatment of many diseases, as well as the serious relief of the suffering they bring to people, became possible.
The church does not evaluate the effectiveness and risk of side effects of certain specific medical interventions and drugs. Such an assessment is the subject of research based on scientific standards of evidence and free academic discussion of specialists. At the same time, “The Church warns against attempts to absolutize any medical theories” , recalling that scientific views are developed and are always open to valid criticism, which may well lead to correction and, sometimes, revision of familiar ideas.