I felt the need to alienate more people today, so here is my opinion on vaccines:
TL;DR: Not all vaccines/people are the same. Down with government. Get educated. Decide for yourself.
I am neither Pro-vaxx nor anti-vaxx. These are false dichotomies created by mass media to polarize us and distract us from what is really going on in the world.
However, I don’t support mandatory vaccinations. (I generally don’t support anything being mandated by the government). Any medical procedure has risks and an individual should have the right to evaluate those risks and potential benefits before deciding if a medical treatment is correct for them.
Sure, there may be cases where people are uneducated or full of false data that prevent them from making the best decision, but that doesn’t mean it is the government’s job to step in and “protect us from our own stupidity”.
In the world of vaccines it is not a black and white dichotomy where ALL vaccines are GOOD or ALL vaccines are BAD. Nor is it black and white in terms of a specific vaccine being GOOD for EVERYONE or BAD for EVERYONE
Each and every vaccine must be evaluated independently, and must be evaluated in terms of a specific individual person’s situation.
As an example: Small pox and polio vaccines put a stop to widespread epidemics.
300 million people died of small pox in the 20th century alone. http://www.bbc.co.uk/…/br…/empire_seapower/smallpox_01.shtml
Polio epidemics would leave thousands in the US paralyzed every summer. Polio for whatever reason usually flared up in summer months. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_poliomyelitis
I would argue that the benefits of the small pox and polio vaccines outweigh any potential negative effects. They literally saved millions of lives, and potentially billions if you think of it in terms of how many people would have died and would still be dying today if these vaccines weren’t introduced.
Then you compare it with the chicken pox vaccine.
Chicken pox is a relatively mild illness if caught at a young enough age, and really only generates discomfort and maybe a couple scars if you don’t follow your mother’s advice about not scratching.
The potential risks of a chicken pox vaccine outweigh the benefits in my opinion, because chicken pox isn’t really that bad in 99% of the human species.
But maybe a certain segment of the population has a genetic weakness to chicken pox, and for them it is very serious. For those individuals, the vaccine might outweigh the risks.
The other factor is effectiveness. Vaccines aren’t 100% effective, so putting sick children near vaccinated children does put the vaccinated children at greater risk. How much greater risk depends on the disease and the vaccine. It might be a very minutely greater risk, but it is technically greater. This is a fact. Whether you like vaccines or you don’t, this is true. Confront it.
However, this doesn’t mean we must enforce all vaccines on everyone. Without having studied the current schedule of vaccines indepth, I would still bet there are vaccines on that list that really are not vitally necessary for EVERYONE to have.
It also doesn’t mean we should abandon ALL vaccines “because they don’t work”.
If a vaccine for a deadly or lifelong debilitating disease makes one 80% likely to fend off the disease, compared to 30% without the vaccine, then the vaccine may be worth it. Sure it’s not 100%, but when you are talking about a deadly or debilitating disease, that is easily caught otherwise, you might decide to take the risk.
Hepatitis B & C can potentially lead to liver damage or liver failure. With Hepatitis there is a range of variables. In many cases Hepatitis B and C will go away on their own. But in some cases they do not, and then the person must spend their entire life undergoing treatment to protect their liver.
A parent or individual will need to assess that vaccine for themselves.
The problems with this false polarization on the subject is compounded with false data from both sides.
Do I believe that drug manufacturers skew their clinical trials to make new vaccines seem more effective and less dangerous than they actually are? Absolutely I do. There is a common practice among drug companies to stop a clinical trial in the middle if it doesn’t look like the results will be favorable. Then they don’t have to publish the results of that trial because it was never completed.
So when anyone tries to get the real scoop, they are missing half of the picture.
In the other camp, a constant campaign of associative logic is employed. All vaccines are grouped together and identified as one unit. They’re all bad, they’re all nothing but drug company profit scams. This ignores the fact that the very first vaccine was invented in 1796 before big pharma even existed.
It’s this false polarity that gets me riled up on the subject. People are either Pro-vaxx or anti-vaxx. Either you support all vaccinations and demand that they all be mandatory or you are totally against them and consider all vaccines poison.
Why do we feel the need to split up into teams and try to “win”?
Not all vaccines are the same. Some of them are life saving, some of them are worthless, some of them are dangerous. People need to get educated on the subject and decide for themselves which is which.
I’m just tired of all the faulty logic and skewed data being put on the lines, thereby creating a stereotype that people who are against mandatory vaccinations are uneducated on the subject. Putting out skewed or false arguments does nothing but support the other side.
In summary: I don’t support government mandated vaccination, but I also think some vaccines are valuable and they have to be evaluated independently for each individual.