Camp Hikon is aiming to prepare yeshiva boys for what it calls the “political, environmental and economic” changes to come. Despite its stated interest in preparing campers for “natural disasters,” it will not allow any vaccinated campers or staff to attend.
Naftali Schwartz, the Brooklyn-based self-described “health coach” with no formal training in medicine or public health who is launching the camp, said the rule is unlikely to keep anybody away.
“Because of the kinds of demographic that I’m drawing from, most people who are coming will not have taken the vaccine,” Schwartz told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Drawing on a debunked theory spread by the anti-vaccination movement, the camp’s website cites the “experimental nature” of the COVID-19 vaccines. According to the false theory, living in close quarters with vaccinated people could “enhance” the spread of the coronavirus. The website refers readers to a site called NutriTruth, which claims vaccines are a “biological weapon,” and to a livestreamed discussion between several notable anti-vaxxers.
“We regret that we will be unable to accept campers or counselors who have already received any of these injections,” according to the website.
Schwartz said he made the rule because of “suspicious symptoms that occur to unvaccinated people who have spent a lot of time in the company of vaccinated people.”
“It’s also been reported to me from parents of my to-be campers that this is a real thing and it’s worrisome,” Schwartz said.