Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt rolled up his sleeve Tuesday morning and put his arm where his words are — getting a flu vaccination in front of dozens of newspaper reporters and other employees at Richner Communications, parent company of The Jewish Star.
Dr. Glatt was on a mission from Mt. Sinai South Nassau, where he is chairman of the Department of Medicine and chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist. As Rabbi Glatt he is assistant rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere.
The flu can be fatal and the vaccine is safe, he said.
“Tens of thousands of people in the United States and millions across the world die from flu every year,” he continued. “One-hundred-eighty kids died during the 2017–2018 flu season in America — and 80 percent were not vaccinated.”
Dr. Glatt dismissed anecdotal accounts of people getting sick because they were immunized.
“It is biogoically, physically impossible to get the flu from the flu shot and anybody who tells you that they did” is wrong, he said. “We’re in the middle of flu season, the flu shot’s not perfect and it may have been incubated in you anyway, so some people will get the flu within a week or two after they got the flu shot but they are totally unrelated.”
Those who do get the flu after being vaccinated are likely to have a milder case, be less sick and less contageous, he added.
Everyone should be vaccinated, he said, but elderly people and pregnant women are especially in need of the protection.
Asked whether it mattered whether one gets a high or low dose vaccine, Dr. Glatt deferred to the official judgment of the Centers for Disease Control — which is that it does not matter.
“At the end of your life you’re going to be put on a scale” where your good deeds will be weighed against the bad, Rabbi Glatt said. “You want to do as many good deeds as possible” and getting a flu shot is a good deed — for yourself, your family, your community.
“I practice what I preach,” he said. “I get all the vaccinations that are recommended for a person my age and medical background.”
On Tuesday, at the home of The Jewish Star in Garden City, he added this year’s flu shot to that list.