Via The Vancouver Sun: Chilliwack pastor tells congregation vaccines interfere with God’s care. Excerpt:
The pastor for the community at the centre of the Fraser Valley measles outbreak says he sees vaccines as an interference with God’s providential care.
Rev. Adriaan Geuze says his 1,200-strong Reformed Congregation of North America in Chilliwack mostly shares that view, which is why vaccination rates in the community are “very low.”
“We leave it in (God’s) hands. If it is in his will that somehow we get a contagious disease, like in this case the measles, there are other ways, of course, to avoid this. If (we get sick), he can also heal us from it,” he said in an interview Friday.
Health officials last weekend confirmed two cases of measles and identified up to 100 suspected cases at a religious school in Chilliwack where vaccination rates are low. On Thursday, the Fraser Health Authority advised that the measles had spread into the general populations of Chilliwack and Agassiz and said it would open special vaccination clinics in those communities over the weekend.
To date, one nine-year-old child has been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak.
Measles is a potentially fatal viral infection characterized by a rash, high fever, runny nose, coughing and tiny spots inside the mouth.
A vaccination rate of 95 per cent is necessary in order for community immunity to work, said Fraser Health spokeswoman Tasleem Juma, adding that in the East Fraser region, vaccination rates are about 60 to 70 per cent.
Geuze counters that there is no need to make a healthy “God-given” body “a little bit sick” through vaccination.
He does not oppose other means of boosting immunity, such as rest, healthy living and eating well. Nor does the church oppose medical treatment when a person is already sick, he added.
Asked if he actively advises his congregants not to vaccinate their children, Geuze responded: “Of course I openly express my own point of view according to the Bible, absolutely. But it’s not that we force them. It’s through their own conscience that they have to act,” he said. “They expect that from me, that in a clear way I lay it all before them.”