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QUESTION

New York, NY

May we get a child vaccinated for  COVID on Shabbat? We would not have to drive, only walk up to the vaccination site and answer questions. Drawing blood is a concern, as is uvda dechol. It also may be possible, although less convenient, to get the vaccine within a few days at a different site

ANSWER

I see no problem with it. Refuah is permissible in cases of choleh kol haguf. If one considers that a person who needs preventative medicine is not a choleh, then this also isn’t refuah (see Mishnah Berurah 328:130 who cites a machloket haposkim whether something done for health when the person is not sick is considered a refuah or not). Uvda dechol would not be in getting a shot, but possibly in terms of going through the process, having the guards check you out, giving your information, etc. So if it is possible to go a few days later, one should. But if it is not possible, then a health issue such as this would obviously take precedence. See Shulchan Arukh  OC 306:7,

מותר למדוד בשבת מדידה של מצוה, כגון: למדוד אם יש במקוה מ’ סאה, ולמדוד אזור מי שהוא חולה וללחוש עליו כמו שנוהגים הנשים, מותר דהוי מדידה של מצוה.

You have a measuring that is for the sake of health, but it does not fall under the issur of refuah, and hence it is permissible, although in general medidah is forbidden because it is uvda dechol, health trumps. See Mishnah Berurah there,

לד – שאני מדידה דלא הוי איסור כ”כ אלא משום דהוי כעובדא דחול ולהכי שרי במקום מצוה.

לו – של מצוה – דמדידה רפואה היא ורפואת הגוף מצוה היא וגזירת שחיקת סממנין לא שייך בזה אלא ברפואה שיש בה ממש כגון משקה או .אוכל

So here too, there is no concern about רפואה because it is either preventative or רפואת הגוף, and any side concerns of uvda dechol would be overridden. But, again, if it can be done after Shabbat, it should be.