I have seen many conspiracy websites showing many impressionable parents how to get a religious exemption for mandatory vaccinations. I can’t comprehend how only 3 states make it mandatory. I could not find any mainstream religion that forbids it but I did find many from those same religions that claim they did. Here is a write up of all the major religions and their normal stances.
My personal belief is that it is immoral because it upsets community immunity. First off, vaccines are not 100% effective. Second, some people have weakened immune systems, severe allergic reactions or other medical conditions making them unable to take the vaccines. Most religions promote selflessness and nothing is more selfless than assisting in making sure your fellow man does not get a horrible, painful and life threatening disease.
Vaccines are effective:
According to medical experts vaccines are very effective The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “most childhood vaccines are 90%-99% effective in preventing disease” (1). This is corroborated by data from the CDC showing drastic declines comparing pre vs post-vaccine era. A chart is provided here
Vaccines are safe:
According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Institute of Medicine (IOM), American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), UNICEF, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). According to data from the CDC, approximately 95% of people have been vaccinated. According to the data from 2006-2014, there were over 2.4 billion doses given out. People who get serious illnesses from vaccines can get compensation for those injuries by filing a petition with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. When doing the math it was found that one person was compensated for every million doses. (2,3) That means you have a 0.0001% chance of having a fatal reaction. To put that in perspective here is the odds of dying chart by the National safety Council
Some people believe in natural immunity which means catching the disease and letting nature take its course. However, that gives you much worse odds. As stated above you have a 1/1000000 chance of a severe reaction to a vaccine vs 1/500 chance of dying from the symptoms(5). “The DTaP vaccine can cause seizures in 1 in 14,000 people, and acute encephalitis (brain swelling) in 11 in 1 million. — Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis — are fatal in 1 in 20 cases, 1 in 10 cases, and 1 in 1,500 cases, respectively” (6).
Some people think the measles are not that bad and can be fought, but did you know measles cause immune amnesia? According to Princeton researcher Michael J. Mina “When a child gets infected with measles, it has been known for decades that during the weeks and months following infection the child is at very high risk of other infections. Our work further suggests that that elevated risk may last for years, or as long as it takes to retrain the immune system” (10). Sometimes the true danger of anything is not always observed until much later in life.
You will have some websites claim that vaccines can cause diseases such as autism due to chemicals such as Thimerosal, mercury or aluminum. Yes, those are bad chemicals and maybe as science advances, there will be substitutes but please be aware there is a difference between a safe and unsafe dosage. To put this in perspective Children are exposed to similar amounts of aluminum in breast milk and baby formula (4). Paul Offit, MD, notes that children are exposed to more bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other harmful substances in one day of normal activity than are in vaccines (6). Remember every substance can be toxic at certain doses. An average male can die by drinking 6 liters of water or downing 13 alcoholic shots at once.
If you get paranoid about vaccines: Do you travel on planes, get x-rays or use a cell phone? Radiation. What about chewing gum: Acesulfame potassium, Talc, Gum base. Water? Flouride. Move to spring water? 24,500 chemicals found in it Do you breathe? Air pollution can kill you too.
The biggest myth that vaccines cause autism is a correlation. Autism is present at birth but symptoms start to manifest at around 3 years old just shortly after the vaccination window (7). Here are 75 studies showing vaccinations do not cause autism and Immunization Safety Review Committee 8th report showing no link.
Here is a study based on 17,000 subjects no differences in allergies or infections between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.
Vaccines save money overall:
According to a CDC study “the experience of 282 children under the age of 5 in 3 U.S. cities, and found that parents had medical expenses ranging from under $300 to about $4,000 and missed between 11 and 73 hours of work, depending on whether their child was able to recover at home or was hospitalized” (8). Also “The CDC estimated from 1994-2013 vaccinations will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes, at a net savings of $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs”(9).
Now I rarely go to the doctor but I exercise, eat nutrient dense foods, avoid touching my mucous membranes and practice good hygiene. I got all my required school vaccines because my family was humble enough to listen to the experts. However, I am stubborn enough not to get all such as the Flu vaccine because although promising, it is still debatable and thus not required. Maybe I would get the flu vaccine if it was a one-time deal. Although any side effect from a vaccine is probably much better than the flu, I can deal with it, I have a flexible job, am not around may people and have many sick days.
Do you believe in mandatory vaccinations? Do you believe just like drunk driving, wearing a seatbelt, and criminalizing certain substances the government should step in and mandate for dangerous disease? Do you believe the public should have a choice up to a certain point when evidence is substantial?
I personally believe we should question everything and have a choice when data is only suggestive, however when data is piling up and the scientific burden of proof has been met, disagreeing is a mix of stubbornness and ignorance. I believe it is very disrespectful to call experts in the field wrong with nothing more than your feelings or unsubstantiated opinions. We all have the right to be ignorant and do what we want until it becomes a nuisance to others.
(1) American Academy of Pediatrics, “Vaccine Safety: The Facts,” www.aap.org, 2008
(2) Vaccination Coverage | NIS Child | CDC. (2016). gov. Retrieved 24 September 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-managers/coverage/nis/child/index.html
(3) Vaccine Injury Compensation Data. (2016).Hrsa.gov. Retrieved 24 September 2016, from http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data/index.html
(4) Vaccine safety. (2011). Immunize BC. Retrieved 24 September 2016, from http://www.immunizebc.ca/facts-on-immunity/vaccine-safety
(5) Vaccine Myths Debunked | PublicHealth.org. (2014).PublicHealth.org. Retrieved 24 September 2016, from http://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccine-myths-debunked/
(6) Vaccines: The Reality Behind the Debate. (2016). Parents. Retrieved 24 September 2016, from http://www.parents.com/health/vaccines/controversy/vaccines-the-reality-behind-the-debate/
(7) Autism-Vaccine Link: Evidence Doesn’t Dispel Doubts. (2016). WebMD. Retrieved 25 September 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/searching-for-answers/vaccines-autism?page=2
(8) CDC Study: Treating Children’s Flu Illness Costly | Spotlights (Flu) | CDC . (2016). Cdc.gov. Retrieved 25 September 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/childrens-flu-costly.htm
(9) Benefits from Immunization During the Vaccines for Children Program Era — United States, 1994–2013. (2016).Cdc.gov. Retrieved 25 September 2016, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6316a4.htm
(10) Measles Weakens the Immune System for Years – D-brief. (2015). D-brief. Retrieved 25 September 2016, from http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2015/05/07/measles-immune-system/#.V-hYLPArKUk