Thursday, February 5, 2015

Vaccines (Not That I Am Qualified to Opine)

I was going to write about the current vaccination controversy today, but I am a bit hesitant to do so.  A lot of people trust what they read online, and that can include my little blog.  I don’t want people’s lives to be on my hands!  “Get over yourself, James, you’re not that important.”  Yeah, true.

I did not get my shots when I was a little kid.  It was mainly for health reasons: we thought that there were health risks in getting them.  One of our sources for this was Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, who wrote Confessions of a Medical Heretic and How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, and who debated medical doctors on programs (see here for wikipedia's bio).  Because of our stance, I had to carry a note to school saying that I would not receive vaccinations, and it appealed to the legal exemption of philosophical reasons.  I did that throughout much of my education: in elementary school, high school, and college.  As a matter of fact, when I was in junior high, I had to stay home from school for a couple weeks because the school was giving the measles vaccine.  By the time that I was entering my second graduate school, I decided to stop fighting the system and got my MMR vaccine.

When I hear about Governor Chris Christie saying that the rights of parents not to have their children vaccinated should be respected, that brings back personal memories.  While it seems, though, that many conservatives are championing the rights of parents while a number of liberals are pushing for vaccination, many conservatives do not consistently favor non-traditional medicine or shy away from substances that some believe could be dangerous—-consider their support for the pharmaceuticals, chemical companies, etc.

Something that I heard a while back was that Roe vs. Wade actually protects the rights of parents not to have their kids vaccinated.  I have not read the entirety of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, which primarily concerns abortion rights.  It was interesting, though, to read libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano argue along the same lines in his latest column.

Nowadays, vaccines are not entirely like what was around when I was a kid, especially after thimerosal was removed from them.  Still, there are even some medical professionals who question the wisdom of pushing vaccines on kids at a young age.

I am not a doctor, though.  I do not even know much about medicine and science!  If you are a parent, you should do your own research.  I’m writing this post to share how this issue intersected with my life, since that is one thing that blogging is about—-sharing.  But I also hope to add a bit of perspective to the debate, since some see parents who don’t have their kids vaccinated as selfish or as the equivalent of flat-earthers.  It’s a bit more complicated than that.

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