In regards to this issue, there are several important points that need to be made. First, we have the right to choose. Second, there are risks to every vaccine. Third, there are groups of people that vaccines are not helpful for and could even be harmful to. Lastly, we should not be required to do anything to our bodies for the potential benefits of others (herd immunity).
I personally feel that the most important factor in health care is the right for people to choose for themselves. It is your body. You should have all the say in what is done to it. Give me the facts, then let me choose for myself. As a health care provider, I find it horrifying that the government would consider any required medical treatment as a good idea. There is no medical option that is good for everyone. So, how can we ethically require a single treatment for everyone?
This country is founded upon the idea that we have the right to make choices for ourselves. The law should serve only the purpose of protecting people from becoming victims. Who is the victim if I choose not to get my vaccines? If it is a choice I am making for myself, I am certainly not a victim. And who do I put at risk by choosing not to get a vaccine? Herd immunity is bullshit. Well, we’ll get to that.
Like all choices in life, there are risks and potential benefits to getting vaccines. Patients should be given education as to what those pros and cons are. This is simply not happening. What parent has even had a provider list all the possible side effects of getting the flu shot or the MMR? Not many. What people are given instead is propaganda.
Let’s look at the flu shot. Heading over to the CDC web site should be a great place to find out the risks of getting the shot. After all, they are the people that are pushing so hard that I get it every year. Well, they mention that you shouldn’t take the shot if you have allergies to any of the components to the shot. They state:
People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.
“Other ingredients” isn’t very helpful for those of us who have allergies. How am I suppose to know if I’m allergic? I could not find any where a full list of the ingredients that go into a flu shot. This includes the back of the box that the shot comes in. How am I suppose to give this information to my patients when it isn’t given to me? So, the reality is that I can give you the shot, but I cannot give you the information about what is in the shot. That is disturbing at best.
The thing that I found most distressing about the CDC web page about the flu shot? No where does it mention that flu vaccines can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Sure, it’s a rare thing. But people should know it is a possibility. You can read more about what GBS is at the Mayo Clinic web site. The Mayo Clinic site does not mention that the flu shot can cause this. But it is important to note that respiratory infections are listed as causes. That being said, the flu vaccine is a drug that convinces the body that it has a respiratory infection…
Is the risk of permanent nerve damage worth the possibility of preventing the flu? I don’t know, that’s up to you. But I think the last piece of this is that the vaccine does not ensure that you will not get the flu, it just improves your odds. And that improvement in the odds depends on how well the vaccine makers predicted which strains of flu would be the primary hitters during that flu season. To me, there is no clear cut right or wrong answer here. Make your choice and live with the risks. That’s life.
Let’s talk a little about how vaccines work. They are attenuated viruses or bacterias. What does that mean?
They are putting the virus or bacteria in your body. The important part of this definition is “
So, yes, you can get the disease you are being vaccinated against from the vaccine. It is unlikely, but it is possible. This is an important fact when you consider people who are immune compromised. We are putting that virus or bacteria into their body when we know that their system has a poor ability to fight off infection. For what gain?
Let’s get back to how vaccines work. Once this attenuated virus or bacteria is in your body, it triggers an immune response which causes your body to create the tools needed to fight off the infection. Since it is a weaken form, you are going to have a much easier time fighting it.
Now back to those immune compromised folks. The nature of their disease or condition is such that their immune system cannot mount an effective response to infections. This means that their bodies cannot create the tools needed to fight infection. Giving these people the vaccine for anything has little to no clinical value while it would put them at risk of exposure. They should have the right to opt out. Who am I to say that they should take these risks? And for what?
That leaves the idea of herd immunity.
Herd immunity is a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.
This concept is telling us that the herd is more important then the individual. It is saying that individuals should be required to task risks for the possible benefit for others. This is an ethically horrifying approach to medicine. Consider how that would apply to other diseases. If you were an organ match for someone who needed a kidney, should you be required to give them one of yours? You can live with just one.
To make matters worse this is idea of herd immunity is a fallacy. It is nothing more then propaganda bullshit to sell a product. There is little proof that vaccines are responsible for eradicating disease even when herd immunity vaccination levels have been reached. What are the flaws behind the concept of herd immunity (other then the complete lack of research and evidence)?
First, people who are vaccinated can still get the illness. This means that it does not create some kind of wall that the illness cannot pass through. Secondly, just because you do not become sick does not mean that you cannot carry the disease and give it to others. Typhoid Mary is the classic example of the carrier who is completely without illness themselves. Take these two together and the concept of herd immunity crumbles. Getting the vaccine does not guarantee that it will keep you from getting the illness, nor does it guarantee that it will keep you from spreading the illness. Thus the idea of protecting those without immunity by others getting vaccinated is complete bullshit.
For more about the fallacy of herd immunity: Visit Here. They lay it out splendidly.
The final thing I want to say about this is that those people who are hurt by a vaccine have no legal options. They are not legally allowed to sue for compensation. I think that is pure bullshit. But when you take away their choice to have that vaccine and their ability to hold the vaccine’s manufacturer accountable? Well, that sounds nothing like a health care system I want to be a part of.