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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Columns

Vaccines are tried and true boons to society


A few years ago, the vaccine debate was alive and well, with people arguing how much say a parent should have in his or her decision to not administer vaccines to children. Eight years with a pro-vaccine president seems to have caused repercussions, as the Trump administration seems to be correlating the rise in autism with vaccinations. There is no such correlation.  

Without vaccines, society would not be where it is today. Contrary to what many anti-vaxxers claim, a world with vaccines is significantly better than a world without them.

However, while the mental consequences of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines have been debated for as long as they’ve been around, another reason for not vaccinating has existed on the fringe of the issue.

A woman in the U.K. argued before a court that vaccinations are “unavoidably unsafe,” Broadly reported. Vaccinating her kids goes against her beliefs as a vegan, as many vaccines are made with animals products, or even grown inside fertilized chicken eggs.

While plant-based vaccines are being developed, many people who choose to be vegan weigh the risks and potential benefits—not having their children contract Hep-B, the flu or chickenpox—for vaccination.

The presiding judge forced the mother, whose case was brought against her by the childrens’ father, to vaccinate the two boys.

The argument for choosing not to administer vaccines stems from distrust in the government, and the potential for harmful metals to exist in vaccines.

In reality, vaccines undergo rigorous testing before being administered —more than 15 million children took part in the MMR research, and researchers found no apparent link to autism, a fear that seems prevalent to people who are anti-vaccination.

While it’s hard to argue against someone’s vegan lifestyles, it’s much easier to counter the other argument by looking at the data and seeing that there is no cause for worry. For some reason, people continue to refute the fact that vaccines are helpful. Look no further than Australia to see how measles outbreaks could be prevented with vaccinations.

Fears surrounding what vaccines contain and what complications they cause are persistent. They allow completely curable, preventable diseases to affect those most vulnerable: the young, the old and the ill. Those with susceptible immune systems are more at risk, but studies show that the parents of young children are the ones who aren’t taking the necessary precautions.

Vaccines are made to protect, and scientists are working to make them available to those who have varying beliefs. When an affected person can’t make the decision for themselves, however, like in the case of the U.K. mother and her two boys, to what extent does personal choice override the state’s ability to monitor the health of its people?

Vaccines are used to control mass breakouts of illnesses, like flu or measles. One person’s choice to vaccinate could affect the health of many, and the line between personal freedom and national health is thin.

Columnist Jackie Wostrel is a public relations freshman and can be reached at [email protected]

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  • Mark Wax

    “Vaccines Are Unavoidably Unsafe”
    Don’t take my word for it. These are the words of Justice Scalia in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, LLC in a Supreme Court decision in 2011. Unfortunately, due to the protections afforded the vaccine maker in the National Childhood Vaccine Act of 1986, the Court ruled against a vaccine injured plaintiff in the case. How?

    In the 1980s, children were having adverse reactions to the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine. Lots of lawsuits were being filed against docs and vaccine manufacturers. This caused the pharmaceutical industry to threaten pulling out of the vaccine market, and the alarm bells rang that the nation’s health and safety were at risk. Why were vaccine manufacturers getting ready to take their ball and go home? Because vaccines fall into a class of products considered “unavoidably unsafe.” I am not kidding you. This “unavoidable” word comes from the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act itself “products which, in the present state of human knowledge, are quite incapable of being made safe.”

    In 1986, Congress decided on a way to compensate folks for these avoidable injuries and death. It is called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. From 2001 until 2011 the program has compensated about 2500 families a total of $2 billion. There has been close to $4 billion paid to date since inception. But, that represents only a small fraction of those who actually brought claims to the Vaccine Court. You see, there is a 36 month window to bring the claim. There is no “tolling” granted for minors, unlike all the Civil Courts in the U.S. Guess what? Neurological injuries may not present in infants for long after 36 months. Furthermore, who knows how many cases were never brought by attorneys on behalf of a vaccine injured child, because the statute of limitations ran out?

    Don’t let anyone tell you that vaccines don’t cause injury. They have, they do and they will do so in the future. For years, Thimerosal was used as a preservative in multi-dose vials. While still proclaiming it “safe”, vaccine makers “voluntarily” removed Thimerosal. It is still present in trace amounts and in flu vaccine. Thimerosal was never approved by the FDA, as the patents predated the establishment of said regulations. Worried?

    With nearly 6,000 cases pending the USCFC held the “Omnibus Autism Hearings.” They decided not to make “autism” a “table injury.” How convenient. Since there would never be enough money to pay for all who claim an “autism” injury. But, there have been many cases compensated for “encephalopathy” as a diagnosis with reference to autism. You can read it: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1681&context=pelr

    For the record, I am not “anti-vaccine.” Both of my children were fully vaccinated. Unfortunately for us, our son was neurologically disabled by vaccines. It is indisputable, yet the government and the vaccine makers still think that there is a “greater good” to be served. They may be right. But, let’s not fool ourselves. Vaccines can be made safer. It is about money.

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