This question had recently come up on one of my egroups. Masha Allah I had had the same question myself as I know some sisters do not get their children vaccinated. I do not follow the vaccination schedules in the states, mostly because its hard to get out and get them (they do have them here, but I’ve had a hard time trying to get them because the places we have gone, the people have only spoken Arabic). Here in Yemen, every now and then, health workers come to the door giving immunizations, I think for polio. Diseases that are pretty much eradicated in the states are still prevalent in poorer countries like this.
At any rate, this is the fatwa that was posted and I thought I would share for others who had the same question.
The source of the fatwa was: http://www.salafitalk.net/st/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=6&Topic=1597
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was
What is the ruling on giving treatment before sickness occurs, such as
There is nothing wrong with giving treatment if there is the fear that
the disease may occur because of the presence of an epidemic or other
factors which may cause disease. There is nothing wrong with giving medicine to
ward off the feared disease, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah e upon him) said, according to the saheeh hadeeth, “Whoever eats seven
dates of Madeenah in the morning will not be harmed by witchcraft or
poison.” This is a kind of warding off a problem before it happens. So
if here is the fear of sickness and a person is vaccinated against an
infection that is present in the land or elsewhere, there is nothing
wrong with that, because it is a kind of protection.
But it is not permissible to wear or hang up amulets etc against sickness, the jinn or the evil eye,
because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade
that, and explained that this is a kind of minor shirk [associating
others in worship with Allaah], so it must be avoided.
Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/21
With regard to the harm suffered by those who are given some
vaccinations, namely a short-lived fever or other side-effects, these drawbacks may be
overlooked when compared with the great harm that is warded off, namely
the diseases that may kill or cause great harm to a person’s health.
This is similar to the case of circumcising boys by cutting off a piece
of kin and the intense pain that is caused to the infant; this is
outweighed by the great benefits that are served by this action, serving the
religious interest of purity (tahaarah) and numerous worldly benefits.
The general shar’i principle with regard to this matter is that the
lesser of two evils may be done in order to ward off the greater evil, if it
is necessary to do one of them. Al-Ashbaah wa’l-Nazaa’ir by al-Subki,
But if it is medically proven that a specific vaccine causes harm to
the body or that its harmful effects outweigh its effects of warding off
disease, then it is not permissible to use it in that case, because the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “There should
be either harm nor reciprocating harm.”