Swine Flu: Something to Sniff at?

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I’ve just completed 2 flu immunisation forms at school for my children and noticed as I completed the form that in the NB it states the vaccine contains products derived from pigs! Please see a copy of the form attached! I have not handed them back to school yet. Presumably we have to request the alternative which would be an injection instead of the nasal spray? Please can you confirm?  Or maybe they just don’t have it at all ….
Look forward to hearing from you.

Dear Chaya
TY for your practical question about an important medical precaution which affects the wellbeing of our children (and indirectly that of the wider society). There are strong halakhic grounds to validate and indeed encourage the nasal vaccine, notwithstanding the presence of porcine gelatine. Since the spray is not swallowed in the way of food consumption (as well as other considerations) there is no prohibition to its use. Your kids will also much prefer the nasal spray to the injection!
Best wishes
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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