Jehovah’s Witnesses Reject Plasma Injections for COVID-19

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*Updated June 8, 2020.*

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have issues with modern medical information because this is seen as against the tenets of the religious faith. In particular, they, for the most part or by theology, have an issue with blood transfusions.

As per the attempts to reduce the negative effects of Covid-19 to medical patients affected by Covid-19, the FDA or the Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America issued recommendations or guidelines for healthcare investigators and providers. It is based on some studies into convalescent plasma collected from Covid-19 patients who have recovered from the ill-effects of the virus. 

Even with the experimental nature of the treatment, there are some circumstances under which the treatment can be considered well-advised based on some scientists and doctors using it. However, the ones for this treatment would be serious or critical cases along with the symptomatology of Covid-19.

For those with critical case symptomatology themselves or individuals with family members who are, unfortunately, suffering under the suffocating ravages of Covid-19 (coming from SARS-CoV-2), these kinds of potential treatments could – literally – save your life or the life of a loved one, or just save a life of another human being. It becomes incumbent upon us to support science, medicine, and the appropriate application in order to “do no harm.” It’s both a principle of medical professionals and civilized society, i.e., reflective of a common drive of human beings when not driven into insane circumstances.

Unfortunately, while many religious principles reflect some universal sentiments in human beings, at the time, others come out as pre-scientific understandings or rejection of modern medicine capable of helping individuals who may be suffering. One particular group, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have been known to reject blood transfusions, as these stand against their stipulated principles of The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the governing or legislating body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This has been a strict policy since 1945.

The basis for the claim is that blood transfusions go against some divine law or ethical precepts derived from their understanding of the oughts of the world through their religious lens. Now, with the recent possibilities for critical or severe cases to be helped by the experimental treatments, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been directed (or commanded by the legislative body) to not use them. More directly, they’re strictly forbidden, as this is Convalescent Plasma Therapy or a treatment using transfusion.

The directive from the Jehovah’s Witnesses stated:

The Blood Issue: There’s talk about the FDA allowing doctors to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients with “convalescent plasma therapy.” It would be wise to advise the publishers that it’s understood that this is giving the patient the whole plasma of the person who has developed the antibodies which would be unacceptable for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

However if the antibodies were extracted from the plasma (fractions/immunoglobulins) and then given to the patient, it would be a conscience matter for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some doctors may view plasma as a fraction. Therefore the publisher may need to explain their personal decision not to accept any of the blood’s four main components, one of them being plasma. (Source: JWsurvey, based on work of Mark O’Donnell in “Jehovah’s Witnesses Denied Plasma Treatment Amid Coronavirus Pandemic” – click for article title for link)

This is a serious public health issue for which the lives of some members of the public religion becomes a public health hazard. As we see with the prevention within the directives (theological and faith-based in character), individuals cannot use the treatments, as they are forbidden, without consequence. If they use it, then the fear of the wrath of the legislative body, as representative of God, can come down like a ton of bricks. It is, as James Randi noted to me, based on fear. If an individual uses the blood or plasma, then they will become “Disassociated” from the community and will not be permitted contact from their own families.

Theology trumps medicine here.

Photo by Benedikt Jaletzke on Unsplash

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I used to be a Jehovahs Witness for 42 years and I would totally agree that they are an extremist group. They advocate that the end of the world is coming at Armageddon and this mean they are teaching that about 8 billion people will be destroyed by God. Mainly only a Jehovahs Witnesses will be saved. So ok they are not doing the killing but they get excited at the thought Armageddon is coming.

    • 42 years being Jehovah’s Witness and suddenly you realized they were wrong ? Mmmm … that sounds like a resentful Ex-JW which was caught doing something nasty. 🙁 I’m not a JW myself but have good friends who never forced me to believe anything but are always willing to answer my questions

  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) predicted the end of the world, IN WRITING, numerous times. Not once did they come true. They truly are known for their ‘False Predictions’ the world over.

    JWs are taught that they alone are TRUE Christians and that all other people not JW will soon be destroyed. This is no exaggeration.

    JWs will allow their own children TO DIE rather than accept a life saving blood transfusion even in severe medical emergencies. It has already happened THOUSANDS of times!

    Just like this mother died unnecessarily! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/shropshire/7078455.stm

    Two recently in Canada! http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42002996

    Or this teenager that also DIED: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/8690785.stm

    This pregnant JW and her baby died.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3027599/Jehovah-s-Witness-baby-die-refuses-blood-transfusion-seven-months-pregnant-cancer-80-chance-surviving-treatment.html

    JWs NEEDLESSLY die for this sorry blood policy today.

    From the same organization that has an entire 100 + year history of similar bad and embarrasing policies.

    As a 15 year active JW (and an elder) here is my own story: http://www.bibletoday.com/archive/JW_Disassociation_letter_by_Vinny.htm#.W0E7_K2ZMVc

    JWs used to forbid Vaccinations and Organ Transplants (calling a life saving transplant “Cannibalism”) for a combined 33 years.

    This JW elder refused a kidney transplant and DIED only to have JWs say transplants are now OK 2 years later. http://ajwrb.org/debbie-shards-story

    JWs enforce extreme shunning for any JW that decides to leave their religion or who sins without showing enough repentance to the elders.

    I have literally seen parents cut off all ties with their children solely because the kid did not want to remain a JW but went in another direction.

    Even ex-JWs who leave the religion on their own, are 100 percent truthful, sincere, love God, pay taxes, help others and more are still SHUNNED by all current JWs and marked as godless, proud, sinning apostates. The Awake magazine recently called them “mentally diseased”.

    And MANY contemplate suicide because the penalties of losing everything are TOO MUCH TO TAKE.

    But an honest question is: Why do so many JWs leave after being one time followers?

    As I eventually found out, the JW religion did say, IN WRITING, that the end would come in 1914 and then again in 1925. Was Jehovah directing all that? 1914 and 1925 came and went! They were proven false predictions. Period.

    They also said the end very likely would happen in 1975 and even commended (in the watchtower) witnesses for selling their houses and pioneering because of it.

    But 1975 came and went!

    They also said (for many decades) that the end would come before the generation born in 1914 passed away. In fact up until 1995 it was written inside each Awake magazine cover. Only they then had to change that meaning as well (including the Awake masthead) because that generation CAME AND WENT TOO.

    I was an active JW (and elder) for 15 years before leaving because of the blood policy 13 yrs ago. Today I’m shunned by all JWs simply because I left the religion.

    Most JWs accept everything the Watchtower teaches and says as “food from God”. Just like I did.

    Most believe God has chosen the Watchtower Society as his “channel”, which provides food from God Himself to their religion and ONLY their religion.

    But an honest look at the facts of the JW religion shows God has not chosen the WT for anything!

    Take a LOOK: https://jwfacts.com/watchtower/changed-watchtower-teachings.php

    ALL FROM THEIR OWN LITERATURE WITH DATES & PAGES TO SEE FOR YOURSELVES!!!

    Pages and pages of mistakes, embarrassments, false predictions, medical disasters, weird science, doctrinal failures and more for over 100 years now!

    Obviously ‘GOD’ would not get things wrong like this. Obviously ‘GOD’ did not provide bad food like that for their entire history.

    But most JWs have no idea about these things. They’re told to stay away from anything critical of their religion.

    For example: Was God’s spirit with JWs when they said Organ Transplants were a “conscience matter” in 1961?

    OR,

    Was God”s spirit with WT when they THEN SAID Organ Transplants are same as “Cannibalism” in 1967 and forbid them?

    OR, was God’s spirit with the WT when they THEN SAID Organ Transplants are NOT the same as cannibalism in 1980 and now allow them?

    Was God behind all those changes each time? Did ((GOD)) get all those things wrong each time? How many JWs like that elder above DIED by refusing kidney transplants, only later on to be told they’re OK to have now?

    Which is why some end up taking their lives due to losing their family or feel compelled to speak out about it, like me right now.

    And because I walked away JWs are demanded to shun you for life (including your very own family).

    Examine this religion and ask as many questions as you can!

    Vinny

    • JW never presumed or admitted being prophets or anything likely, merely Bible students searching for the Truth and constantly learning (Daniel 12:9,10) The traditional religions have stick to Bible interpretation errors and dogmatic believes and they just ‘adapt’ their understanding according to the times, even if this means downsizing moral and spiritual behavioral levels. In the case of JW, more that words, the actions talk for them. They live in harmony in a violent world where everyone is against everyone because or race, culture, nationality or even religion itself. Wasn’t this all about Jesus teachings, to love each other and promote peace? People like Vinny will always spend time and efforts trying to discredit, despite or mud our believes. And I feel sorry for them. Better spend that energy and time helping others to find God in these critical times.

      • I totally agree with you!!! No one could’ve said it better than you!!! While other religions are divided, confused and led by the blind this explains the lack of understanding. We should not be hating each other nor judge others but respect each one for this shows LOVE of neighbor, LOVE of Jehovah and intelligence on their part.

  3. I’m sure Scott Jacobsen wants to be helpful and has good intentions, however, saying Jehovah’s Witnesses “have an issue with modern medical information” make it sound as if Witnesses reject modern medical technique. That is definitely not the case. Witnesses gladly make use of all types of cutting edge medical technology. It is solely blood we abstain from. This is not some arbitrary restriction from leadership as indicated, but out of obedience to the Creator of humans, Jehovah God. It makes sense that the one who made us knows what is best for us. It is not fear of censure, but desire to please God which is the reason to abstain, regardless of what opposers like to indicate. (Gen 9:4) (Acts 15:28,29) These all his requirements. Why? He was setting a legal precedent that blood is sacred and represents life. If one doesn’t hold blood as sacred, then they undercut the redeeming power of Christ’s blood as a ransom and it can have no value for them. This is similar to burning money and then expecting to still make a purchase with it.

    Blood is not medicine and better treatments exist. Even many open heart surgeries have been successfully performed without blood. Due to Jehovah’s Witnesses abstaining from blood, non-blood techniques have been developed which avoid adverse effects which can result from use of blood such as incompatibility, suppressed immune system and contagion from disease undetected in donors. There have been cases of people contracting hepatitis and even AIDS. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/should-anyone-be-given-a-blood-transfusion?intcid=mod-yml

    Since I doubt you will believe me, here is an article from US News showing Witnesses do not have greater health risk from refusing blood and even fare better.
    http://tinyurl.com/7dmwx6e

    “Do no harm” refers to doctors NOT providing treatment which makes the patient worse. It does not apply to avoiding a particular treatment in favor of others. As admitted, giving blood plasma is “experimental.” It’s benefit or harm has not yet been proven. As acknowledged, if the time comes when the antibodies can be extracted from the plasma, tested and proven beneficial, then accepting these will be a “conscience matter.” No one is judged on such matters. Whatever one’s conscience approves is allowable for them in such cases.

    Another commentor, Vinny, is a known troll who has pasted the identical comments thousands of times. Would you want people to learn what you believe from someone who hates you? Would you trust them to be completely accurate and unbiased or would they likely give half truths and distortions? Wouldn’t you rather they go to you to find out what you believe and what sort of a person you are?
    Here is the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses if you are willing to be fair and consider what is said about these matters from the source.
    https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/jehovahs-witnesses-why-no-blood-transfusions/

    Here is a video about advanced techniques for treatment without use of blood.
    https://www.jw.org/en/medical-library/videos/blood-transfusion-alternative-strategies/

  4. Well, another prejudiced report attempting to appear balanced. Hats off to John for providing reliable sources that anyone can check. Thanks for outlining the key points the way you did; I don’t see the need for repetition. But I will say this: our organization is a volunteer organization. No one forces you to join. If some decide to leave and don’t want to pursue the faith, that is their choice. Problems result when some are unrepentant wrong-doers. Yes, we show loyalty by upholding Jehovah’s righteous standards. They can choose from the many other religions that give a wink and a nod to wrongdoing and keep members in good standing.

    It is my hope to live through Armageddon and see God’s New World. But even if I should not live to see that, I will have lived the richest and most rewarding life now…more than anyone could ask for.

  5. The Jehovah’s Witness blood policy is an incredibly complex and confusing subject to tackle. While they continue to prohibit whole blood, red & white cells, platelets and plasma, there are massive loopholes. They also permit 100% of all blood in fractionated form. This includes very large blood fractions like hemoglobin, cryosupernatant, and albumin as examples – there are many, many more. So while a Jehovah’s Witness cannot accept convalescent plasma, they can accept everything in convalescent plasma if fractionated. In this particular case the plasma fraction cryosupernatant contains the vast majority of the immunoglobulins and can be used as a substitute for convalescent plasma. If a Jehovah’s Witness calls Watchtower Information Services and asks if it is permitted as a matter of conscience they are told yes.

    https://www.jw.org/en/medical-library/hospital-liaison-committee-hlc-contacts/united-states/

    They can also ask an HLC elder at the local level. JW’s and doctors are confused by the policy, and Watchtower does not want to advertise this fact because it leads to too many questions for which good answers do not exist, particularly since Cryosupernatant accounts for about 99% of plasma – a very large fraction indeed. For more detail and documentation we have published a resource article on the matter:
    https://www.ajwrb.org/treating-jehovahs-witness-covid-19-patients-with-convalescent-blood-products

  6. Los testigos de jehova con su invento sobre la santidad de la sangre lo que han hecho es un gran negocio farmacéutico!!
    Tienen participación a través de sus fideicomisos en la industria farmacéutica de los ensanchadores de la sangre.
    Su objeción a las transfusiones de sangre no es bíblica por que la biblia habla sobre comer sangre, no habla de transfusiones ni transplantes.
    Pero como siempre los testigos de jehová van más allá de lo escrito; es el mismo caso de los miles de casos encubiertos de pedófilos en sus filas y de sus archivos secretos donde guardan los antecedentes de los pedófilos nunca denunciados.
    Esta secta de orígen masónico no hace más que servir a Satanás puesto que su Dios jehová no es otro que el propio opositor a Jesús.
    Saludos Borregos Adoctrinados!!

  7. It’s 2020 and we still have religious extremists… It’s disappointing how slowly we evolve when held back by our family and peers’.

  8. The grip religious societies have on their members, especially with the threat of shunning, is difficult to imagine unless one has experienced it. Evil disguised as good. Fortunately they are being exposed via the internet.

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