By COLlive reporter
Due to the recent new wave of Covid infections, Russian authorities issued a series of new restrictions in the capital of Moscow, including stipulating that all public service workers will be required to get vaccinated.
These are the most drastic measures taken by authorities of any country in the world to make its citizens vaccinate.
Although Russia began offering vaccines to the public as early as last year, its vaccination rate is still low, with only about 18 million of its 144 million people vaccinated.
Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar issued an emotional call to all Jews of the country to get vaccinated with the Sputnik vaccine which is given free of charge to all Russian citizens.
In a letter sent out to hundreds of Jewish communities throughout Russia, he wrote: “Unfortunately, the Corona pandemic has recently been on the rise again, and there are many families who got sick. Firstly, I want to wish them all a speedy recovery, and we pray for them and hope that everyone will be able to overcome the disease. I appeal to you with a very important request – get vaccinated against the Corona, as Halacha demands of us to guard our health in every way.”
He added: “It should be remembered that the virus is very dangerous not only for the elderly but also for people with chronic diseases. For many, the disease passed mildly and they are almost asymptomatic, but doctors warn that even in this case there may be various after-effects and complications.
“Most importantly, keep in mind that asymptomatic patients can still infect others. Is there anyone among us who is willing to take such a responsibility for the health of their family and environment? I would like to announce that we have spoken to many doctors in Russia and abroad, and they all say unanimously that the vaccine is completely safe, and those who have not yet been vaccinated should hurry to do so soon.”
At the same time, the Chesed organizations in Moscow have stepped up their activities in light of the growing demand for assistance to patients in hospitals and homes.
In addition to fresh food distributed daily by the Bikur Cholim organization, as the volume of distribution increased during this period, the organization’s director Mrs. Perry Deitch ordered additional oxygen tanks, inhalers and appropriate vitamins, in order to strengthen their immune systems and help them fight infection, and reduce the need for hospitalization.
The organization also works through volunteers throughout Russia, assisting with information needed for home care, and investing in comprehensive outreach activities in Russia via Jewish media, thus reducing the need for hospitalization and saving many lives. Their activity is aided by the well-known charities “Chasdei Amram”, “Gmach Refua veShalom Belgium” and “Covid ASSIST” who are also attentive to the medical condition of the Jews in Russia.