I know a number of people who have a number of different takes on vaccination.
I grew up believing it to be all good and took my own vaccinations and happily vaccinated my cats. Having seen a cat survive cat flu because it was vaccinated I was glad to have done so. I think the mortalities and distress avoided by effective vaccinations are great and some years I even take myself along for a flu vaccine if I feel I’m heading into winter with a weaker than usual immune system.
As time went on I have adjusted my view a little over the years, mostly when I discovered that the rabies vaccine regularly (up to 1 in 1,000) causes tumours in cats.
It’s why they try to inject them in an extremity, not in the body, because if your cat develops a tumour then they can cut the leg off and keep the cat alive, where as a tumour in the middle of the cat is going to be the end of the cat so to speak. When I read about this I decided my cats were never travelling abroad as I didn’t want to have to give them this dangerous vaccine.
I think anyone with a realistic view understands that pharma-chem-corporates are motivated by profit above all else. They don’t broadcast it but they would’t deny it, they are businesses with shareholders after all. They care about ethics only so far as it affects their bottom line. So I have sympathy with parents who distrusted the combined MMR vaccine when it was speculatively linked with autism. Now don’t jump on me here, I’m not saying it’s causal, I’m saying a good protective parent, seeing the panic is quite possibly going to back off from the idea. Some looked at research and were reassured, others looked and weren’t reassured, others didn’t look, they were too scared already. Either way you can’t blame them for wanting to protect their children from what they perceived as an avoidable risk.
Sure the risks from measles are avoidable too but there is an immediacy to sticking needles in your child which can be scary, and somehow, maybe because we see inaction as more innocent, it can be that a sin of omission seems less damning than a sin of commission, even if the results were the same.
So I do understand and have sympathy for both sides of the argument.
More than anything else though I think it’s a real shame that when the MMR fuss came about the authorities didn’t just make the vaccines available separately. Available as individual separate shots, as they are in other countries, so that scared parents could still feel comfortable getting their kids vaccinated. After all it’s what happened at the time: those with enough money just paid for private or foreign clinics to do exactly that for their kids: give them the vaccinations, but separately, just to be completely sure there wasn’t an overload on the system or a combined impact of damage to the body caused by being attacked on 3 fronts, just in case there was a link.
However that was deemed to be not possible, it was seen as wrong to give in to panic. In order to make a point the authorities had to insist that it was all (at the same time) or nothing for anyone getting it on the NHS.
We’re now having people dying in avoidable measles outbreaks. Although it could have been prevented by parents giving kids the combined MMR; it could also have been prevented by the authorities making the more trusted single vaccines available.
Given the problems that we have had in the past from stuff provided by medical companies, stuff which we were told was safe but turned out to damage people for life, it’s really not surprising that when people thought they’d found a parallel to the rise in autism and the combined vaccine, that there was panic.
Since the authorities didn’t manage to cut off the panic at all before it grew or provide sufficient clear reassurances once it was on the rise, they should have been looking for the responsible thing to do. Their priority should not have been just proving that they were right, but acting in the best interest of the children concerned and in the best interests of society as a whole. It seemed they preferred to just squabble about winning a point as if they were children themselves; almost as if the authorities and the public were a couple in a deeply disfunctional marriage which had become more about point scoring than mutual benefit. (A situation I’m sure I’ll consider some other time).
To my mind the responsible thing to have done would have been to offer the vaccines separately for a while, to parents who had had a chat from their GP (which would have reassured some). Then offer it to those who still weren’t reassured of the safety of the combined option, whilst simultaneously running further medical tests. Tests that the public were fully informed of and whos results were announced and analysed publically, tests which would have been used to prove the combined vaccines safety before removing the single shot option. A very many parents would have continued with the combined vaccine, many others would have been happy with single shots, and most importantly it would have vastly increased trust and left the population with far better coverage than we currently have.
Instead the view points on vaccines are if anything even more polarised now.
Large groups of people are feeling less empowered and less trusting of the authorities partly because they feel they are being bullied not listened to; they feel the Pharma-Chem-Corporates are the only ones being heard. Pharma-Chem are not trusted, we know they only care about profits, you only have to look at research into strokes to know that they aren’t about curing and improving health, but about making money.
The authorities, now happy that they made the right choices because they are reassured that there isn’t a causal relationship between the vaccine and autism are overlooking the causal relationship between a deep distrust of doctors who are seen to be in the pockets of big business, and the potential for panic when the public think their health is in danger because of profits coming first.
As a result of this relationship of responsibility which is being ignored it will be even easier for another panic to happen. Maybe the public shouldn’t panic – but they do, saying they shouldn’t won’t stop that, especially when so much of the media loves winding people up and giving them something to get riled about.
One side of the relationship needs to start behaving like a grown-up and taking responsiblity and understanding that responsibility doesn’t actually mean trying to take control by attempting to force your will on others, but to be wise enough to step back and look all the possible responses available and then to carefully consider, objectively what is most likely to have the most beneficial and positive long term results for everyone involved.