Sunday, February 22, 2015

Measles Vaccine - A Right to Refuse Treatment

It’s been amusing to watch Rand Paul, a doctor, trying to ‘clarify’ comments he made suggesting that vaccines for kids should be a matter of parental choice.  Conversely, Rick Perry some years ago had to walk back his aggressive pro-vaccine stance, when he championed mandating HPV vaccines for young girls.  This political clumsiness is not restricted to the GOP.  In 2008, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton argued that 'more research was needed on vaccines' potential side effects'. Presidential candidates, it seems, have not all been vaccinated against Panderitis.  

Of course, I recognize an informed individual’s right to refuse treatment.  An adult with appendicitis has a right to refuse appendectomy, against the advice of the surgeon. 

"You mean I didn't have to get sick?"

Does a parent have a right to deny the measles vaccine for their kids?  I don’t think so.  Here’s why.
  • Medical evidence provides overwhelming support for the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
  • Unvaccinated children pose a health risk to other school children.
  • The claim that any vaccine causes autism has been vigorously refuted.
  • Adults do not have an absolute right to deny children medical care.
I doubt that a 15 month old child can make an informed choice about the measles vaccine.  Would those infants who have been denied the vaccine, support this decision when they reach the age of understanding?

Parents have rights also.  They have the right and the responsibility to make health decisions for their kids.  This right, like all rights, is not inviolable.  Parents should not be able to deny a life-saving blood transfusion or curative chemotherapy to a minor child who does not have the capacity to understand the ramifications of a denial of care.  In contrast, some kids should be permitted to make their own decisions even if they have not reached the age of majority.  A 17 year old Jehovah’s Witness, for example, has a more legitimate argument in turning down a blood transfusion than would a 5 year old. 

Immunizations are a towering achievement of the medical profession that has saved millions of lives.  No, they are not perfect, but they work much better than nearly every medical treatment that doctors prescribe.  Moreover, vaccinating kids offers a public health benefit that extends far beyond the youngster who is vaccinated. 

If you are a libertarian who is suspicious of government, then go make a sign and protest.  This is your right.  But, vaccinate your kids.  They have a right to good health.  And, so do the rest of us.

6 comments:

Karen B. said...

My son has had most of his vaccinations but not all. When he was 12 months old he got his (third?) mmr and we had some problems. He couldn't sleep for several nights, he had twitchy limbs that would wake him up. His appetite was gone and he was clearly uncomfortable in his own skin. His doc said that may be normal on this new vaccination, which has less side effects than the last one (it was 1999). Then, at around the 4th night and he was so fussy I was trying to breast feed him to calm him down and he had a seizure. He never had another vaccination. He had intussusception when he was an infant also which his doc later said could also be attributed to early vaccinations.
I'm going to let him make his own decisions about future vaccinations. If I had had another child I honestly can't tell you if I would have vaccinated him or not. My older son had them all and never had a problem. It's not so cut and dry for some of us.

Barbara said...

I believe in vaccination. There weren't any vaccines except for smallpox when I was a child and I had the measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Now I worry about contracting shingles because of it. I was very ill with measles especially and in bed for over a week. I remember when the first Salk vaccine became available. I was in high school and my boyfriend's sister had been crippled by polio, so I was very motivated to get the shot. I made sure my kids and grandkids got theirs, too - ALL of them. I am very glad, now especially, because of all the unvaccinated, and particularly the illegal alien children who have brought even more disease to this country's children, and no one requires that they be vaccinated! It angers me.

Anonymous said...

Before rushing to mandate vaccination, why not give it proper scientific study. Vaccination has been around for centuries, and vaccine refusers have been around equally long, so where is the study comparing long term outcomes (i.e. 70 year follow up) between fully vaccinated and fully unvaccinated individuals? Why has our collective health been of such minor importance, that no such study was ever undertaken?
I was brainwashed in medical school with the standard line regarding vaccines. Years later, I read the other side of the story from Drs. Mendelsohn, Blaylock, Suzanne Humphries, etc, and was shocked. How the orthodox medical establishment could be so far from the truth, is hard to believe. I think we are headed back into the dark ages, complete with glittering pseudoscience and twisted technology.

Barbara said...

You are mistaken, Anonymous. No single item has ever been studied more vigorously or thoroughly than vaccines. I question your claim of having been to medical school. Did you graduate? Yes, there can be side effects, but it has been proven without any doubt whatsoever that vaccination with any modern vaccine causes autism. It just happens to be apparent at the age when a child is getting vaccines. Check with the CDC on vaccine studies.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism/

I hope the public will put strong pressure on Congress to pass laws once again requiring anyone entering our country to be vaccinated against everything there is a vaccine for. We have become a far less healthy country because of no one enforces health laws anymore, and many who are arriving have diseases we have never before encountered.

Barbara said...

I made a mistake in my previous post. What I meant to say is that autism is NOT caused by any vaccine whatsoever. Hundreds of studies have proven that fact.

Anonymous said...

You are mistaken, "Barbara." I question that your name is actually Barbara. Can you prove that your name is Barbara?
As a matter of fact, I am a practicing MD in the US, attended medical school in the US, and was the valedictorian of my class.
You should read the MDs whom I cited in my previous post. They are extremely intelligent people, and their books are on target. Perhaps this might dispel the notion that no sane MD could oppose vaccination.
It is well established that vaccination can, at times, suppress the immune system. I was never told this fact in med school. This fact alone would mandate a very long-term controlled trial such as I mentioned above. Until such a trial is performed, vaccination rests on the foundation of eminence-based medicine, and not evidence-based medicine. The belief that vaccination is safe and effective is one giant ASSumption. I don't give a damn what the CDC thinks -- they have no real evidence. They are messing around with the immune system in an arrogant, blind manner.
Suzanne Humphries, M.D. documents the one real, long-term trial on vaccination. It did not originate from the CDC or from any other alphabet agency. It was performed due to popular outrage in Leicester, England in the 1870s. They and the 300,000 people in the district refused "mandatory" smallpox vaccination and did so for the next 70 years. Guess what, the anti-vaxxers of Leicester did a lot better in terms of smallpox than did the rest of England. But no, don't expect the mythology in school or in the popular media to mention such courageous people any time soon.
Albert Einstein: "the rarest and most valuable of intellectual traits is the capacity to doubt the obvious."

Add this