The other day I had a discussion with someone about the WTS and vaccinations. I have a strong memory that at one time vaccinations were prohibited by the WTS, but when I searched the CD the earliest ref I found made it a matter of conscience:
*** w52 12/15 764 Questions from Readers ***
Questions from Readers
Is vaccination a violation of God’s law forbidding the taking of blood into the system?—G. C., North Carolina.
The matter of vaccination is one for the individual that has to face it to decide for himself. Each individual has to take the consequences for whatever position and action he takes toward a case of compulsory vaccination, doing so according to his own conscience and his appreciation of what is for good health and the interests of advancing God’s work. And our Society cannot afford to be drawn into the affair legally or take the responsibility for the way the case turns out.
After consideration of the matter, it does not appear to us to be in violation of the everlasting covenant made with Noah, as set down in Genesis 9:4, nor contrary to God’s related commandment at Leviticus 17:10-14. Most certainly it cannot reasonably or Scripturally be argued and proved that, by being vaccinated, the inoculated person is either eating or drinking blood and consuming it as food or receiving a blood transfusion. Vaccination does not bear any relationship to or any likeness to the intermarriage of angelic “sons of God” with the daughters of men, as described in Genesis 6:1-4. Neither can it be put in the same class as described at Leviticus 18:23, 24, which forbids the mingling of humans with animals. It has nothing to do with sex relations.
Hence all objection to vaccination on Scriptural grounds seems to be lacking. The only proper objection that some persons could raise to it would be on the matter of the health risks involved or of keeping their blood stream clean from diseased matter coming from a foreign source, whether from an animal sore or from a human sore. Medical science, in fact, claims that vaccination actually results in building up the vitality of the blood to resist the disease against which the person is inoculated. But, of course, that is a question for each individual concerned to decide for himself and as he sees it to be Jehovah’s will for him.
We merely offer the above information on request, but can assume no responsibility for the decision and course the reader may take.
However, the next pertinent ref seems to indicate a different posture (bold added):
*** w58 9/15 575 Questions from Readers ***
Questions from Readers
Are we to consider the injection of serums such as diphtheria toxin antitoxin and blood fractions such as gamma globulin into the blood stream, for the purpose of building up resistance to disease by means of antibodies, the same as the drinking of blood or the taking of blood or blood plasma by means of transfusion?—N. P., United States.
No, it does not seem necessary that we put the two in the same category, although we have done so in times past. Each time the prohibition of blood is mentioned in the Scriptures it is in connection with taking it as food, and so it is as a nutrient that we are concerned with in its being forbidden...
The injection of antibodies into the blood in a vehicle of blood serum or the use of blood fractions to create such antibodies is not the same as taking blood, either by mouth or by transfusion, as a nutrient to build up the body’s vital forces. While God did not intend for man to contaminate his blood stream by vaccines, serums or blood fractions, doing so does not seem to be included in God’s expressed will forbidding blood as food. It would therefore be a matter of individual judgment whether one accepted such types of medication or not.
Any other sources of info?