Monthly Archives: April 2016
The problem with vaccines is not just the over-zealous demonization of ‘anti-vax‘ crowd – even though few vaccine skeptics are against all vaccinations – it is the conspicuous lack of debate. The pro-vaccine crowd does not want to have a reasonable conversation about risk reduction because it puts them on the slippery slope of acknowledging that vaccines are not 100% harmless.
We need to have the conversation about how to administer vaccines in such a way that the risk of injury is as low as possible. This may mean administering them spaced out over time or perhaps at later ages, depending on a patient’s vulnerabilities. Parents want to protect their kids from all kinds of harm – from both disease prevention tactics and the deadly diseases they fight – and parents will usually make good choices. However, INFORMED CONSENT demands honesty about legitimate risks, not stubborn refusal to have a reasonable discussion.
The bottom line is that vaccines need to be optional, no matter how highly recommended and preferable to doing nothing. Even if vaccine injury rates or severity are far lower than the harms inflicted by the diseases they prevent, they fail the basic test of “first do no harm.” Legislation that excludes the unvaccinated from public schools is a reasonable alternative to forcibly injecting medicine into someone’s body for the “greater good.” The fundamental right to bodily integrity cannot be violated in any society that calls itself “free.” The vaccine-booster crowd need to come to terms with this uncomfortable truth.
In the social media age, we have a wealth of information available, but separating truth from error remains a challenge. We need to evaluate each issue on its observable, measurable merits, not knee-jerk reactions or flame wars. Let’s talk about it, but let’s not pretend that thinking about vaccine safety is a bad thing.