Being A Parent Is HARD
Can we all agree about that? I’m not talking about the daily stuff, like having to fish pajamas out of the toilet thanks to your toddler. I’m talking about the REALLY hard aspects of being a parent, like dealing with the pressure to vaccinate (or not) from family, friends, and the lady you passed in the parking lot.
This post is not about whether or not you should vaccinate, it’s about why that decision should be yours. Whether you’ll be the first to line up to get the next 200+ vaccines in the pipeline or none at all is not the issue. As parents, we must defend each other’s right to make that choice on a case-by-case basis. Here’s why:
To trust the science, we have to be able to trust the scientists
If you’re one of the many parents (vaccinating or not) having some trouble with that, I understand. The video below perfectly illustrates why trust has been eroded between healthcare consumers, healthcare providers, and research scientists.
(A quick note: Some of the content of this video is crass, but if you can get past that it is the best overall analysis I’ve seen on this subject. Please be aware of little ears when you click play.)
Now, I don’t hate doctors. I actually LOVE my children’s doctor and just called to make an appointment this morning. And when my husband got hurt on our farm this year, we opted for an MRI when chiropractic care didn’t seem to be enough. I am not anti-medicine or anti-doctor, but I am in favor of being an informed consumer. Because guys, there are obviously some problems with our current system. Just last year GlaxoSmithKline was fined $490M by China for systematically bribing doctors and hospitals to promote their products. Do we really think that stuff only happens in far away places?
As healthcare consumers and parents, we need to risk being “rude” and ask our care providers hard questions, like:
- Do you receive gifts from the company whose medicine you just prescribed for my child?
- How much time, roughly, have you spent independently researching the safety of the procedure you are recommending? (And are you aware that your medical education may not be as impartial as you’d thought? One review found that “Of Harvard’s 8,900 professors and lecturers, 1,600 admit that either they or a family member have had some kind of business link to drug companies — sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — that could bias their teaching or research.”
- What will happen if my child is injured by this vaccine? (You fill out a report, and hope the government agrees with your assessment and helps you care for your child. This process can take years.)
- Can I sue if my child is injured or killed by vaccines? (No, pharmaceutical companies have immunity. You can fill out the report mentioned above, but the maximum payout is only $250,000 per child in the case of death. Pharmaceutical companies don’t pay that, the American public does. Every vaccine comes with a special tax that pays into a fund. Payments in excess of $250,000 are sometimes paid to families whose children need intensive or lifelong care, but many families are denied compensation. You will not have an opportunity to have the case tried before a jury of your peers.)
- How many people have died from measles in the U.S. this year? (None)
- Has the U.S. ever conducted a study that compares the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children? (No.)
- How are vaccines tested for safety? (Because the position of pharmaceutical companies is that it is unethical to withhold a vaccine for the purpose of a trial, the safety of new vaccines is often tested by giving one group the new vaccine and one group an older version it is meant to replace. As a result, you don’t get a comparison of how many adverse effects occur when compared to a neutral placebo such as saline, but rather whether or not the new vaccine causes more reactions than the last one.)
Just as importantly, when pharmaceutical companies claim to have ”behaved responsibly, ethically and humanely,” we need to educate ourselves about what that might mean. Those were Bayer’s exact words to describe it’s actions when, back in the 80’s, it continued selling a plasma-based medicine for hemophiliacs even as evidence mounted that it was infecting patients with HIV.
Internal documents reveal that they had strong evidence that suggested AIDS transmission and yet they continued to tell the public that “AIDS has become the center of irrational response in many countries . . . This is of particular concern to us because of unsubstantiated speculations that this syndrome may be transmitted by certain blood products.” Then after they’d developed a safer product, they continued to make and sell the less safe version overseas. Why? Well, we can only speculate, but internal company documents reveal it was more profitable. Is that your definition of behaving responsibly, ethically and humanely?
As we talk about whether or not pharmaceutical products should or should not be mandated, we need to remember that least in some cases, the companies that make them have a history of putting profits above public interest. Parents should get to decide who they trust.
Whistleblowers Say Studies Have Been Manipulated
But that’s not the only reason some parents are concerned. We live in a world where Poul Thorsen, the CDC researcher who “dispelled the vaccine-autism link,” is listed as a most-wanted fugitive for wire fraud and money laundering. I believe we all ought to ask some questions about that.
And then there’s Dr. William Thompson, an active CDC senior scientist who recently said in a statement through his lawyers that he and his co-authors omitted “statistically significant information” in a 2004 study. The data suggested that “African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism.” (As a side note, the parents I have spoken with who have voiced concerns about vaccines are not specifically concerned with autism. They are concerned about a whole range of reported side effects, including serious allergic reactions, seizures, brain damage, Guillaine-Barre Syndrome and death.)
Of course, there are also the former Merck scientists-turned-whistleblowers, who claim that Merck “failed to disclose that its mumps vaccine was not as effective as Merck represented, (ii) used improper testing techniques, (iii) manipulated testing methodology, (iv) abandoned undesirable test results, (v) falsified test data” and the list goes on. (emphasis mine)
Is there good research out there? Yes, but each parent needs to decide for themselves which studies they consider trustworthy and which ones they don’t.
Mandatory Vaccination Is A Human Rights Violation
“Freedom doesn’t get much more personal than the right of individuals to choose what is put into their bodies, and to accept or reject medical procedures.”
To mandate vaccines is to require individuals to risk injury or death (both known adverse effects of vaccines) against their will, then deprive them of legal recourse if something goes wrong. It violates the American Medical Associations Code Of Ethics which requires informed consent, and it is opposed by both a large doctors association and several nurses associations.
And also, it’s just plain wrong. As one primary care physician put it, “Who wouldn’t love a business model with a captive market, no liability concerns, free advertising and promotion by government agencies, and a free enforcement mechanism from local schools? It is, truly, a drug company’s dream come true.”
Perhaps, but it’s a consumers nightmare.
But What About Protecting The Herd?
“I’m not going to make an argument about vaccine efficacy or the potential for unvaccinated people to put vaccinated people at risk (or vice versa). What I’m going to argue is that the ‘putting others at risk of death’ argument defeats itself based on statistical significance.
Most of the hysteria and current vaccine debate is in regards to the current measles ‘outbreak,’ so we’ll use that as an example.
The death rate among those infected is typically 0.2%, or close to equal that of your chances of dying in a car accident this year.
In other words, if you’re that concerned about people vaccinating to prevent death, you should be making an equally strong case that both of you have your driver’s licenses revoked.
Actually, it’s worse because you have a 0.2–0.5% chance of dying in a car *this year* and it’s almost certain that you actually drive a car. The 0.2% chance of death by measles requires that I (or my child) beat the ENORMOUS odds to even get measles in the first place.*
The same odds hold pretty steady for measles injury, except car injury wins out even more. And the chance of being killed or injured by the measles vaccine still surpasses the chance of being killed or injured by measles itself.
Again, I’m not arguing for or against vaccines, I’m arguing for sanity. If you believe that ‘you’re putting people at risk of death’ is a valid argument, then the injury/death by vaccine argument is equally (actually it’s moreso) valid, is it not?
*This also covers the ‘not vaccinating your child is child abuse,’ ‘is negligent,’ and “should be criminalized’ arguments.”
So What Should We Do Instead Of Mandated Vaccines?
As one individual wrote,
“1. The ethical thing to do is to allow people their right to refuse. Let doctors and big pharma – who has marketing budgets larger than the GDP of some countries – do a better job of convincing parents that vaccines are safe, protective and harmless.
2. Reverse the law that grants vaccine manufacturers total immunity from vaccine injury lawsuits.”
Now, I personally wouldn’t use the term “big pharma” because I think it’s unnecessarily inflammatory, but I think those are very good suggestions. There are two more I’d like to add:
Be Kind To One Another
We are all parents who love our children. Let us act like the adults we hope they’ll grow up to be.
Act Now To Preserve Your Rights As A Parent
I was going to sit this debate out, because honestly I’d rather crawl into a bathtub full of bugs than discuss this topic online. However, I felt I must say something to preserve my personal freedom as a parent, and to encourage you to preserve yours.
Right now legislation has been passed in California that would eliminate personal belief exemptions. Unless Governor Jerry Brown vetoes it, SB277 will soon become law.
Now, as a friend of mine said so well, you might be sitting at home, thinking “I would leave if I lived in California! I would not allow them to do this to me! Thank goodness I don’t live there!”
I wish that were true. But the reality is that wherever we live, if this passes it is coming our way. This law is opposed by many lawyers, including Robert F. Kennedy.
Please write, call, email, fax Governor Brown to veto SB277. This is very time sensitive, so the sooner the better! Thank you in advance for speaking up.
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
If you’re not sure what to say, here are some ideas:
1) Religious Liberty and Parental Rights are guaranteed and protected by US Constitution.
2) Vaccination rates are high in California – this law adds no value but does strip parents of their constitutional rights
SELECT one or two talking points, if desired.
• SB277 only grants “medical exemptions” without regard to personal or religious objections.
• SB277 violates our United States Constitution; First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Ninth Amendment, Tenth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment.
• SB277 violates the California Constitutional right to public education.
• SB277 is discriminatory against families who do not have the financial resources to homeschool their children or pay for legal representation.
• SB277 does not prove compelling state interest. There is no health emergency.
• Among the 133 California measles cases 62% were in adults older than age 20.
• FDA Approved vaccines have been recalled.
• Vaccines are not without risk.
• There are no long term studies on the effects of the multi-vaccine schedule.
• Parental should be able to decide if they want their children to receive the annual flu vaccine and others.
• Vaccine manufacturers are immune from liability.
• National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid out $3.1 Billion dollars to families and children who have been injured and died from vaccines.
• The 133 Disneyland measles cases did not take place in a school and were not caused by exemptions.
• California had increasing measles vaccine coverage and a 20% decrease in exemptions over the last 2 years.
• The source came from overseas and did not spread into California’s population of 40 million.
• There are up to several hundred US cases of measles annually since it was eradicated in 2000. This is neither unusual nor unexpected.
• Hepatitis B positive children have unrestricted school attendance and are afforded more rights in CA than healthy children who lack even one dose of one vaccine.
• The World Health Organization says US measles mortality is statistically insignificant. There have been zero deaths in over a decade.
ASK: Are you ready to take away the right to a public education in the absence of a public health emergency?
ASK: Are you ready to effectively remove the rights of parents to make decisions that honor individual religious conscience and affect the welfare and upbringing of their children?
Have A Comment? Read These Rules First!
I want this to be a safe place for every person who visits, regardless of your position, so comments that attack, call people “stupid” or “selfish” or otherwise derail the conversation will be deleted. It is healthy to disagree, but “when you resort to name calling, you’ve lost the argument.” ~ A. Watts