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Memories of the 28th Century

Nanny Government Versus Autonomy

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Recently there has been a kerfuffle about parents not having their children vaccinated against measles. This arose from a small outbreak of measles among people who had visited Disneyland. Apparently someone came to the U.S. with measles, and several children who had not been vaccinated were exposed. There are a number of reasons why some parents prefer that their children not be vaccinated, and some of the reasons are very flaky, while a few of the reasons are reasonable. One of the flakier reasons to avoid vaccinations is that vaccinations cause autism. That is mythology.

There is no causal link between vaccinations and autism, nor is there even a correlation. Apparently there was an article in a medical journal that started that myth, but the article was retracted, because it was a fraud. But the anti-vaccination movement was around long before that.

I donít like anyone forcing others to do something, so I have sympathy for people who oppose vaccinations. So I looked at the website of Vaccine Risk Awareness. I was hoping that the site would be better designed and have better articles, but whoever did the writing wasnít on top of the matter. It appears that the writer(s) assumed that vaccination was the reason for medical problems that followed vaccinations without even looking for a causal link. But that site also makes some good points, with respect to measles particularly. Before vaccination was introduced measles was a minor childhood disease with a very low rate of complications or mortality. Personally, I wondered why anyone had bothered making a vaccine, and that was one of the issues that the website mentioned also. I encourage people to look at that site, even though many of the pages a quite old.

I was hoping that the Slate article would be better, but it is a rant against people who oppose childhood vaccinations, and it contains some inaccurate information. But this article agrees with me that the anti-vaccers use poor logic. But it appears that the pro-vaccers also use poor logic. As for me I agree with some of the points of both sides. I think it is clear that people in the U.S. are putting too much reliance on medical treatments, while the anti-vaccers may not be putting enough reliance in a scientific solution. But there are vaccines for diseases that have been minor diseases for a very long time; measles, German measles, Whooping cough, Chickenpox, and Influenza. The CDC advises vaccination for the following diseases: Diphtheria, Hib, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Flu, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Polio, Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, Smallpox, Rubella, and Tetanus. I have never heard of HIB and Rotavirus, so I doubt that they are significant diseases. I would cut the list down to Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Polio, Pneumococcal, and Tetanus. Influenza certainly should not be on the list, because the annual vaccine is usually for the wrong strain, and the immune response from the vaccine lasts for a season, at best, and sometimes not even that long. On the other hand, immunity gained from a case of Influenza lasts for many years and it provides partial immunity to related strains. There are people, who lack genetic resistance for measles and rubella (German measles), and it might be a good idea for them to be vaccinated, but to make it uniform is inane.

Even for the diseases that should be avoided at all costs, it is not necessary for everyone to be vaccinated. There is what is known as "herd immunity", in which the rarity of unvaccinated individuals makes it extremely unlikely that the disease will spread. The proportion of the population that should be vaccinated to gain the herd immunity is one minus one over the reproductive rate (1- 1/R) for measles that comes out as 0.94%. The more contagious a disease is the higher the vaccinated percent should be.

One thing that I want to make clear is that for the most part the anti-vaccers are not presenting good reasons for not vaccinating. The autism connection never was real. There are not "toxins" in vaccines; vaccines are not made with mercury, and so on. On the other hand, vaccines are not without side effects that are sometimes very dangerous or fatal, and vaccines are not uniformly effective. This appears to be a matter in which officials are trying to force people to go along with them just because they want power over people. The actual facts about vaccines make an overwhelming case for vaccinating against Smallpox, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Polio, Pneumococcal bacteria, and Tetanus; although most people will never be exposed to Hepatitis, and Pneumococcal bacteria is endemic in human lungs and only rarely causes disease. Some of the other vaccines may be included nly because they exist; I have never even heard of rotavirus and HIB, but apparently there are vaccines for them.

So what do you think? This is an issue that expands the more one looks at it, so there are legitimate arguments all over the place. It is a pity that most of the arguments in use are not especially good ones.




http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/us...sles.html?_r=0

https://www.facebook.com/antivaccinemovement

http://www.vaccineriskawareness.com/


http://www.vaclib.org/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astro..._vaccines.html

Updated 02-07-2015 at 05:36 PM by PeterL

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  1. Dark Muse's Avatar
    I do have mixed feelings about the issue. Being a libertine I often tend to value personal choice/freedom/Individualism above all else. And I staunchly disapprove of the Government protecting people from themselves and playing a sort of Parental/Nanny role.

    I think that as long as people are provided with all the information, and no the risks involved they should be able to make whatever decision they believe is right for themselves and their families.

    But on the other hand, part of the problem with the vaccination question is you making the choice not to have your child vaccinated is not affecting just you, but can also have an affect on other children/people who come in contact with you and your child. So in a way you are not making the choice just for yourself, because it has direct consequences on others.

    Yet on the other hand the only children who are really going to be affected are those who haven't been vaccinated, so everyone who decides not to have their child vaccinated knows the possible risk they are taking and knows they are exposing their child to possible disease.

    The other main issue I have with the idea of people not getting vaccinated is the fact that I think they are indeed very much misinformed, and so I think their reasons for not getting vaccinated is infract faulty, so I am not sure they are truly making an educated and informed choice. They are making a choice based upon fear which from my understanding isn't really backed up by real scientific fact.

    But then again a person should be able to make that choice based on whatever cockamamie reason (or no reason at all) If a chicken god appeared to them in a dream and told them vaccinations are evil, well it is their choice to believe that, and their choice to act according to that belief.

    So when all is said and done I think that I stand upon the side of vaccinations being the personal choice of each individual parent. Though I have no problem with the idea of schools and other such institutions requiring children be vaccinated if they want to attend because they have to consider the safety and health of all of their students, and if a parent feels that strongly about vaccinations they will have to look into other options such as home schooling. Because if you are taking your child to school than your choice is no longer just affecting you but is being inflicted upon everyone else there.
    Updated 02-07-2015 at 09:50 PM by Dark Muse
  2. Pompey Bum's Avatar
    "Yet on the other hand the only children who are really going to be affected are those who haven't been vaccinated, so everyone who decides not to have their child vaccinated knows the possible risk they are taking and knows they are exposing their child to possible desire."

    That, regrettably, is not the case. There are plenty of children who cannot be vaccinated because of preexisting medical conditions. They are placed at risk by exposure to infected children. This is also (and especially) a problem with medical facilities, since certain waiting rooms may be full of immuno-compromised patients. Some places are already saying they will not receive the unvaccinated.

    There is also the problem that parents who decide not to vaccinate may know the risks, but it is their children who actually get sick. This gets into the thorny question of when the state's responsibility for a child's welfare overrules a parent's (as it does, for example, in cases of rape and violence). Should parents be able to prevent a child from receiving a medical treatment because of their religious convictions? What about secular convictions? The issue of a child's consent makes it tricky.

    I agree with Dark Muse that public schools should be able to require vaccines. But I think the solution is going to require more than that, especially where the issue of medical facilities is concerned. Ultimately (in the US in any case), it will probably come down to a Supreme Court decision. I, too, tend to side with the individual over the state. But the truth is that the state does have a function. Resolving some of these issues are what the Supreme Court is supposed to be for.
  3. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Muse
    I do have mixed feelings about the issue. Being a libertine I often tend to value personal choice/freedom/Individualism above all else. And I staunchly disapprove of the Government protecting people from themselves and playing a sort of Parental/Nanny role.

    I think that as long as people are provided with all the information, and no the risks involved they should be able to make whatever decision they believe is right for themselves and their families.

    But on the other hand, part of the problem with the vaccination question is you making the choice not to have your child vaccinated is not affecting just you, but can also have an affect on other children/people who come in contact with you and your child. So in a way you are not making the choice just for yourself, because it has direct consequences on others.

    Yet on the other hand the only children who are really going to be affected are those who haven't been vaccinated, so everyone who decides not to have their child vaccinated knows the possible risk they are taking and knows they are exposing their child to possible desire.

    The other main issue I have with the idea of people not getting vaccinated is the fact that I think they are indeed very much misinformed, and so I think their reasons for not getting vaccinated is infract faulty, so I am not sure they are truly making an educated and informed choice. They are making a choice based upon fear which from my understanding isn't really backed up by real scientific fact.

    But then again a person should be able to make that choice based on whatever cockamamie reason (or no reason at all) If a chicken god appeared to them in a dream and told them vaccinations are evil, well it is their choice to believe that, and their choice to act according to that belief.

    So when all is said and done I think that I stand upon the side of vaccinations being the personal choice of each individual parent. Though I have no problem with the idea of schools and other such institutions requiring children be vaccinated if they want to attend because they have to consider the safety and health of all of their students, and if a parent feels that strongly about vaccinations they will have to look into other options such as home schooling. Because if you are taking your child to school than your choice is no longer just affecting you but is being inflicted upon everyone else there.
    As Pompey pointed out, part of your response is inaccurate. Others can be affected by the decision of one child's parents.

    I generally agree with you, but I think that the biggest problem is that medical people are trying to do more than there is a good reason to do, too many vaccines.
  4. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum
    "Yet on the other hand the only children who are really going to be affected are those who haven't been vaccinated, so everyone who decides not to have their child vaccinated knows the possible risk they are taking and knows they are exposing their child to possible desire."

    That, regrettably, is not the case. There are plenty of children who cannot be vaccinated because of preexisting medical conditions. They are placed at risk by exposure to infected children. This is also (and especially) a problem with medical facilities, since certain waiting rooms may be full of immuno-compromised patients. Some places are already saying they will not receive the unvaccinated.

    There is also the problem that parents who decide not to vaccinate may know the risks, but it is their children who actually get sick. This gets into the thorny question of when the state's responsibility for a child's welfare overrules a parent's (as it does, for example, in cases of rape and violence). Should parents be able to prevent a child from receiving a medical treatment because of their religious convictions? What about secular convictions? The issue of a child's consent makes it tricky.

    I agree with Dark Muse that public schools should be able to require vaccines. But I think the solution is going to require more than that, especially where the issue of medical facilities is concerned. Ultimately (in the US in any case), it will probably come down to a Supreme Court decision. I, too, tend to side with the individual over the state. But the truth is that the state does have a function. Resolving some of these issues are what the Supreme Court is supposed to be for.
    You make a good point about damage to others, but I think that the biggest problem is that there are too many diseases that they are trying to eliminate.
  5. Dark Muse's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum
    There is also the problem that parents who decide not to vaccinate may know the risks, but it is their children who actually get sick. This gets into the thorny question of when the state's responsibility for a child's welfare overrules a parent's (as it does, for example, in cases of rape and violence)..
    While it is true that the children are the ones who may get sick from their parents not having them vaccinated, it is the parents who are legally responsible for their child's welfare, and of course there are a lot of decisions of which children cannot make for themselves of which it is up to the parents, and those decisions will affect the children.

    And yes there are laws to protect children from abuse as you pointed out and step in if they do not think the parents are truly acting in the best interests of the child's welfare. Personally I do think that choosing not to have your child vaccinated is child abuse.

    Yes it may mean you are espousing your child to getting sick, but then again, every parent who sends their child to school or lets their kids play and interact with other children is espousing their child to possible sickness.

    You know that as soon as you let your child out in public to interact with other children there is the rick of your child of getting a cold, flue, lice etc.

    Simply being alive, and interacting with the world comes with a certain amount of risk, and a bit like Peter states about attempting to prevent too many disease at ounce, one cannot be protected from all dangers all the time unless you are just going to live in a bubble, or keep your child in a bubble.

    So choosing not to have your child vaccinated may be exposing your child to getting sick, and it is the child who will suffer for the choice, but it is the parents right and responsibility to make whatever medical choices they think are in the best interest of their own child, regardless if others may not agree with their particular view point.

    When it comes to vaccinations and other forms of medical treatment I do not believe the government should be able to step in and overrule the parents.
  6. Clopin's Avatar
    I agree with DarkMuse. And I don't like to see a precedent set where the state is allowed to transgress a parents rights to raise their children. In this case it's relatively reasonable but we don't have any pressing need for mandatory vaccinations, as it stands right now measels is not killing people left and right.

    Also Dark I think you meant libertarian when you wrote libertine, if you didn't that's also a-okay.
    Updated 02-08-2015 at 02:50 AM by Clopin
  7. Clopin's Avatar
    "I agree with Dark Muse that public schools should be able to require vaccines.*"

    What percentage of students go to private school though? It's very, very low. So even though in principle I agree with that statement, the reality is that government provided education is the only option for the vast majority of sudents. If private shools were a more viable alternative I would be fine with this approach.
  8. Pompey Bum's Avatar
    Well, reading what DM wrote, I see that I distorted her slightly. What she actually said is that she didn't have a problem with parents who don't wish to vaccinate their children homeschooling them rather than sending them to public school. I was the one who added private schools. But frankly, compared to the farce of most American public schools, either option would beba windfall. If you can't afford private, use home schooling.

    I appreciate the issue of precedence for greater state interference in parenting, and agree that in principle parents have the responsibility for decisions about raising their children. But as with most libertarian (and libertine) issues, the touchstone needs to be Mill's harm principle (or whatever they call it now). A decision not to vaccinate will put some groups uninvolved in that decision at risk (those who are allergic to vaccine's, for example), and some individuals from those groups will come to harm. I agree that we do not have a grave epidemic at the moment, but precedence cuts both ways, right? If Mickey Mouse were giving children polio instead of measles, I doubt it would even be a debate.

    But I have every confidence in the American courts to adjudicate to issue. That will take some time, but what is likely to propel it to a somewhat speedier conclusion is that private clinics are not going to want to be sued when patients who can't take vaccines start getting measles in house. So they will exclude the non-vaccinated, saying (as they should) "Hey, we're privately owned, we'll protect our patients as we see fit." And then they'll be sued by the parents of the kids they won't admit. The lower courts will hem and haw. And the next thing you know, the Supreme Court will have it. On the meantime, it doesn't hurt for libertarians (or libertines) to hold the line for the freedom of the individual. Speaking as an American (I know you're Canadian, Clopin, and I'm not sure about Peter and DM), we have far more critical issues to deal with than this at the moment.
  9. Clopin's Avatar
    Yeh I don't feel too strongly either way on this. Anti-vaccers are actually pretty common though, when I worked at a grocery store which contained a pharmacy that gave out flu shots it seemed like a third of the people who came through my till were suspicious of vaccinations.
  10. Dark Muse's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Clopin
    I agree with DarkMuse. And I don't like to see a precedent set where the state is allowed to transgress a parents rights to raise their children. In this case it's relatively reasonable but we don't have any pressing need for mandatory vaccinations, as it stands right now measels is not killing people left and right.

    Also Dark I think you meant libertarian when you wrote libertine, if you didn't that's also a-okay.
    Thanks yeah, heh automatic spell check strikes again.
  11. PeterL's Avatar
    There is also the matter of whether there is any reason for considering a disease a real public health issue, and I think that the regulators are trying to make minor diseases into something other than what they are. Smallpox was a major disease that killed a significant percent of its victims. Polio crippled many, many people, and it killed some. But measles has a very low mortality rate, and influenza has an even lower mortality rate. Pertussis (whooping cough) also had a low mortality rate. There is little reason for vaccinations against diseases that cause minor problems; that is, preventing a minor problem is often not worht the trouble, but there are very, very good reasons for preventing major diseases such as smallpox and polio.