Childhood vaccine debate a microcosm of our times

Measles, a disease that had been basically eradicated from this nation by 2000 thanks to childhood vaccinations, has now made a surprising reappearance, with the most recent outbreak traced back to California in Disneyland. The emergence of the disease has been made possible by significant numbers of parents who have refused to allow their children to be vaccinated out of fear that the vaccine would cause autism.

It’s important to point out that the supposed link between autism and vaccinations is groundless, according to every major public-health and medical group. Its origins can be traced to a 1998 study in Great Britain claiming to have proved such a link, although that study was later withdrawn as a complete fabrication. The physician who authored that study was also stripped of his medical license, but given how such things go, that punishment is now cited by his defenders as an attempt to stifle the truth.**

Since then, the claim of a link between autism and vaccinations has itself become a virus of sorts, easily spread through a modern communications system and seemingly impossible to eradicate, infecting people all over the country. It offers a fascinating case study, raising basic questions about science, philosophy and morality, and the conflict that often exists between freedom of personal choice and social responsibility.

In Arizona, for example, one pediatrician recently pleaded with parents to get their children immunized. He has a three-year-old daughter, Maggie who suffers from leukemia and could be killed if she is accidentally exposed to the disease. At the time of the Disneyland outbreak, his family was at the amusement park during a three-week break from his daughter’s chemotherapy regimen.

Another Arizona physician, a cardiologist named Jack Wolfson who opposes vaccination, publicly rejected that line of argument.

“It’s not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [a child like Maggie] to be supposedly healthy,” Wolfson argued on CNN.  “As far as I’m concerned, it’s very likely that her leukemia is from vaccinations in the first place.”

“I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure,” he added. “It’s not my responsibility to be protecting their child.” (see at 2:08 at video below.)

In the ensuing debate, two top contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, have come out in opposition to mandatory vaccination, although they were not nearly as callous about it as Wolfson. Christie cast it in terms of personal choice vs. public health, taking a very different position than he took in dealing with the Ebola controversy.

Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul

“The state doesn’t own your children,” Paul argued.  “Parents own the children. And it is an issue of freedom and public health.”

So there you have it:

1,) Do we, as human beings, have moral and legal obligations to each other, even to those whom we do not know and will never even meet? Or are we best served if we make decisions based solely on our own perceived self-interest, and allowing others to do the same?

2.) If such obligations to others do exist, is The Law an appropriate mechanism for forcing such obligations onto those who would otherwise not recognize them?

3.) At what point can something be said to be “proven” to the point that action is justified, especially in a highly contentious culture such as our own?  That question has become increasingly thorny now that the Internet provides a platform for seemingly reasoned arguments backed by evidence that we never landed on the moon, that Sept. 11 was a plot by the government, that global warming is a conspiracy among climate researchers, and that Barack Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen?

Personally, I hate needles. It’s probably a consequence of growing up as a military brat following my father to assignments all over the world. We were regularly inoculated against every disease for which a vaccine had been developed — as I recall, the cholera shot was particularly painful — and Uncle Sam did not make it a matter of choice.

But yes, childhood vaccinations should be mandatory.

————————

** Like most Americans my age — raised before measles vaccines — I had the disease as a kid and of course survived. The tendency is to think that if tens of millions of us survived, it can’t be that bad. But as the Centers for Disease Control points out, the fatality rate among children with measles is one or two out of a thousand. If three or four million children get it a year, as used to be the case, the math gets ugly pretty quickly.

It can also cause pneumonia, hearing loss and encephalitis (swelling of the brain) leading to mental retardation.

Reader Comments 0

1004 comments
Joel Edge
Joel Edge

And I'm sure allowing a load of illegal aliens and their unvaccinated kids to stay isn't helping. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Rush spent quite a bit of time today on this vaccination subject equating it to the birth control issue thrust into the 2012 campaign by George Steph when interviewing Romney.


For those residing in another universe, the translation is yet another Lap Media ploy to undermine Republican candidates.  And yes, our beloved and sometimes hated Jay has jumped on the Lap Media bandwagon, obviously.


It's difficult to deny the issue sprang from Media Matters or some other Dem think tank.


It's also difficult to deny Obama's past statement where he stated the issue needed more research.  Some here consider this claim debunked when in reality Obama stated it and their "debunking" means they simply refuse to face that fact.


Common sense says there may be a very small number out of millions who react negatively to vaccinations where the overwhelming evidence is the vaccinations have brought us a better life.


My preference is government stay out of it, however, that's not always possible and I fully support schools having prerequisites for students that include certain required vaccinations.  Parents who refuse to comply can home school their children or face the fact they have no other choice.


As to the attention to Paul and Christie on this issue, its wasted as Walker will be the nominee.  And I stated that here long before he rose to the top of the polls.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@JohnnyReb One ammendment:  "Parents who refuse to comply can home school their children [and keep them a minimum of 1000 feet from any other human being] or face the fact they have no other choice." 


Much better.

gotalife
gotalife

The leader of Argentina is giving women a bad example for leadership.


Hillary said she needs mental help.



josef
josef

@gotalife 

There's a BIIIIGGGG problem a'brewing there...

gotalife
gotalife

U.S. and North Korea have been secretly discussing having ‘talks about talks’

We are down to one enemy. Terrorists.

Arms_Akimbo
Arms_Akimbo

@gotalife  Why don't you move there. You and Kim Jon Un could watch some movies and play with your action figures. 

gotalife
gotalife

With corrupt congress not holding drug companies accountable because of legal bribes, there will always be doubt.


Remove the doubt by removing the legal bribes.

dbm1
dbm1

@gotalife

The way to get away from bribes is to get away form mixed-economy statism, which creates lots of pressures and temptations for businesses to curry favor with politicians, and makes it harder for politicians to tell what they really should do.

straker
straker

Sooth - "that obscures reality"


Yes, the reality of The Great Bush Recession.

Soothsayer2
Soothsayer2

@straker 30+ years of racing to the bottom.

I fear that we're not very far from the bottom now.

Soothsayer2
Soothsayer2

Gallup CEO: "America's 5.6% Unempoyment Is One Big Lie"

The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news -- currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed.

[If] you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%.

[T]hose working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find -- in other words, you are severely underemployed -- the government doesn’t count you in the 5.6%.

Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44%, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population.

The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed,amounts to a Big Lie.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-03/gallup-ceo-americas-56-unempoyment-one-big-lie

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

This is some very interesting reading. Once again, we have the "feel-good" headline number that obscures reality.


Arms_Akimbo
Arms_Akimbo

@Soothsayer2 

The inconvenient truth is that the Dems have been taking credit for the reduction of the unemployment rate, the reduction of the budget deficit, and the energy boom, yet they have NOTHING to do with any of it. In the never ending campaign, It's all about controlling the headline with this crowd. That way, low information voters like Gotalife and KUTGF will pick up on the party talking points and post thousands of mindless comments on blogs like this. It doesn't matter what Bookman pontificates about, Gotalife and KUTGF are going to spew the same crap over and over and over because they have nothing better to do with their time and don't really have an informed opinion. The public is tired of the partisan BS and people like Gallup are responding in kind.

KUTGF
KUTGF

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said Monday that he’s okay with the idea of service industry workers returning to work without washing their hands after touching their unmentionables, as long as customers are made aware of the situation.... “I said: ‘I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says “We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom,”’” he recalled, as the audience chuckled. “The market will take care of that.’”

_____________


Right.....  "We only wang off in some of our customers food."  A real market force!  You replaced that regulation about washing hands with a few new ones on where the signs must be posted.  Do you require one in the drive thru?  How about all ads?  On the wrapper?  On the menu? 


There are some truly stupid GOP concepts out there. 

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Actually a good point Penses-  So if a vaccination leads to severe encephalitis of a loved one does the gov't or family decide the fate?  See Schiavo yesterday but it would appear that the gov't mandated the vaccine ergo it can dictate a medical outcome as well.


Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@Cupofjoe


The government should not mandate anything that can not be shown to be completely safe. That would be a violation of the Constitution, I should think.

Arms_Akimbo
Arms_Akimbo

What's truly pathetic about this story is how once again the Dems are trying to politicize a problem rather than find a solution. They have been trying to do this with the weather for a long time and the public doesn't really care. When your only ideas are to raise taxes and punish fellow Americans, the bad guys publish videos of burning allies alive because our leadership appears more interested in getting in a few partisan jabs against potential future candidates than actually being aware of what's going on in the world. Pitiful. 

Arms_Akimbo
Arms_Akimbo

@KUTGF @Arms_Akimbo 


You are not capable of offering solutions...only insults. Life gets REALLY dull when you know what someone is going to say before they enter the room. The sad part about it is that you don't seem to be capable of learning anything new. Another obnoxious pointless comment from a sad bitter person whose life has past them by. 

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Arms_Akimbo  Christie and Rand are Dems....who knew!  Another pitiful Arms post

gotalife
gotalife

@Arms_Akimbo Your pols made it political like they always do. Instead of deflecting blame like a coward own your party con.

JamVet
JamVet

@Arms_Akimbo 

Pitiful. 

Agreed.

That silly, immature screed of yours makes no sense...

Orange15
Orange15

King Abdullah is meeting with obama today. I wonder what the topic of conversation is going to be? Anybody want to venture a guess?

gotalife
gotalife

@Orange14 

New King Orders $29 Billion 'Handouts', Tells Saudi People: "You Deserve More"

Socialism. His name is King Salman. Try to keep up with the rest of the class dunce.

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

"It’s important to point out that the supposed link between autism and vaccinations is groundless, according to every major public-health and medical group."


To me, this represents yet another strawman argument. The truth will out, in the end (just as it has with the Piltdown Man and other evolutionary "science" claims). But anyone who thinks vaccines or drugs have no serious risks are to me being willfully ignorant. It is interesting to see how many drugs commercials are aired on television these days with disclaimers occupying in some cases over half of the air time. It is even more interesting to see automobile manufacturers dragged before Congress over allegations of product safety while the FDA routinely rubberstamps the approval of drugs that have irrefutably be found to harm a number of people (just how does Congress care if people die in cars but not using presecription drugs?).


But I digress. Here are a few links I found: 


http://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/aug/13/familyandrelationships.medicineandhealth

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/08/17/12myths-and-facts-about-vaccines/

http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/adverseeffects.pdf

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/02/polish-medical-school-study-determines-vaccines-can-cause-irreparable-harm/


So, Jay, if you want to make vaccines mandatory, are you willing to personally pay the debt for someone dying as a result of recieving them with your own life? If not, then maybe you should not rashly insist others receive a potentially dangerous vaccine against their conscience. Instead, maybe you should insist that the government you so favor not allow people to be harmed by pharmaceutical companies, that only products that are completely safe be allowed to be marketed.

josef
josef

G'MAre just sent me sumpin...guess which state leads in vaccinations with a 99.7% rate...

josef
josef

@DebbieDoRight @josef 

DDR...yes, and that's where it came from.  They adopted a "Third World" approach, establishing relations with the "village elders," and working with such professionals as midwives who know and speak the language of the local communities.  Right now they are taking this same approach to malnutrition,  teenage pregnancy, and HIV with the result of a downsurge in the stats there as well. 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@josef @DebbieDoRight Sounds a bit like the Appalachian and inner-city missionary work of the early 1900's.  Can't remember the book I read about that...but I think it was about the founder of the Hay House...or included the Hay House.  Been a long time since I read it.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@josef --  MS was one of the hardest hit southern states in regards to Pellagra; methinks they may have learned their lesson on preventing diseases

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

WaPo’s Tumulty: ‘Most of the Energy’ In Anti-Vaccine Movement From ‘Liberal’ Parts of US

Who'd a thunk it?

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@DownInAlbany


Well let us know when a prominent Democrat Senator and Governor say what Paul and Christie said on this issue.

Ok?


But thanks for posting. 

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Nobody_Knows @DownInAlbany  Well there was also Michelle Bachmann (a former "leader" of the TP) and this guy:


The latest King Moron of the Anti-Vaxxer movement is none other than Wisconsin Republican Representative, Sean Duffy, father of SEVEN, who claims

"We should not have an oppressive state telling us what to do."I want that to be my choice as a parent," he said during an appearance on MSNBC's The Rundown With José Díaz-Balart.