I am astonished that vaccination is controversial

I never know what people will respond to. I put up a (to me) completely unremarkable post about Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccination celebrity medical advice. To my amazement, the comboxes explode.

I don’t get it.

One of my readers, a pediatrics doctor, pretty much sums up my own take:

I am a fan of vaccines as a physician.

Yes, deaths, brain injury, loss of limbs, etc from vaccine-preventable diseases is thankfully rare in this country today. Because of aggressive vaccine efforts, deaths from pertussis in infants have decreased, largely due, not exclusively as a consequence of the vaccination of the infants, but due to the vaccination of those around the infants.

I have seen deaths due to pertussis in infants, sad horrid deaths. I have seen deaths due to pneumococcal meningtis, chicken pox, and brain injury due to measles infections. Most folks should be grateful that these do not occur more often. That they do not is the gift of vaccination efforts.

Vaccination fulfills an individual responsibility to oneself, and a responsibility to one’s children. Communal responsibilities are fulfilled also, because vaccination protects others, especially those with weakened immunity.

My mother recalls the era of polio, of not going swimming in public pools due to outbreaks, and I had a piano teacher that had a paralysis in her legs due to polio. I had a cousin who died as a consequence of pneumococcal meningitis, a now preventable problem. His parents did not recover from the trauma of losing their son-his death haunted them for 60 years.

The era of epidemic measles, meningitis, and severe invasive bacterial disease is discussed by older physicians as soldiers relate war stories. The era sounds exciting. I am glad, however, to have missed that era, a time in which children suffered intensely while parents lost children day and night in pediatric hospitals due to illnesses we can now prevent.

  • Barbara Fryman

    The problem is not vaccinations per se, it is the number they give at a time. There is no sound reason to give a four month old 7 vaccines (many are combos) on the same day. Or perhaps I’m biased because of the adverse reaction my son had. (Medically confirmed) Oh, we vaccinate alright, but we do it one shot at a time.

    Another prudent objection is the fact that some vaccines like the chicken pox, were created using aborted fetal cell lines. To make a person choose between their moral responsibility and parental duty is wrong. There are alternatives, but they are expensive and require narrowing profit margins, so they aren’t available in the US.

    When the medical community prioritizes dollars over health it becomes hard to trust what you’re being told. Gardasil is causing all kinds of problems. Parents aren’t skeptical because of celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, it’s because our kids are treated like robots instead of humans.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      This. The recommended schedule for tiny infants is too much.

      I’m not anti-vaccine; I can understand vaccinating against things like smallpox and polio – massive epidemic diseases that caused untold numbers of deaths and deformities. By all means, wipe those out! But… chicken pox? Yeah, I know the justification is that a handful of children every year died from chicken pox, but now we have children being permanently injured by the varicella vaccine. Is that such a good trade-off? Try as the medical establishment might, they’re not going to turn the world into a totally disease-free utopia.

      Then there’s the Hepatitis B vaccine. I’m at a loss as to why we have to vaccinate every single infant for this. It’s not a childhood disease that can be caught from the air, it requires contact with bodily fluids. The only babies at real risk of catching it are those born of Hepatitis B positive mothers, which are a small fraction of the infant population. So why require *every single baby* to get this vaccine, with the first dose often shortly after birth?

      There are some things that don’t make sense about the infant immunization schedule. I’m not saying don’t vaccinate at all, I’m saying maybe we should rethink some parts of the schedule.

      • Dan C

        Hepatitis B is acquired through perinatal transmission and infant vaccination alone cuts this by 70%. Living with someone who has chronic Hepatits B results in potential transmission to children. Acquisition of Ahepatits B in childhood guarantees chronic, perhpas progressive disease in life.

        To choose an impact time, infancy and then early immunity makes the most sense.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          So then vaccinate infants who are at risk. I’m not saying, “Don’t use the HepB vaccine at all,” I’m just asking, Why vaccinate every infant if only a few are at risk?

          • Dan C

            How does one identify these folks? Vaccination campaigns are operationally simple things. One needs to choose simple plans. Complex plans (previously tested and chosen) never are implemented well. The data acquisition infrastructure and the public health infrastructure to implement such a complex matter is weak.

            Identifying at risk infants requires knowledge of Hepatitis B status of all hoysehold members. Then assurance of selective implementation of this vaccine.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              I guess that’s something to work on, then. If we say it can’t be done then I guess we won’t try. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to vaccinate every infant for something that most of them will never contract.

              • silicasandra

                Although not a vaccine, this was the reason I declined erthryomycin eye ointment at birth for my second (and would have for my first if I had known about it.) I didn’t/don’t have any STDs, so what was the point?

                I am working with my pediatrician on the fetal cell vaccine issue. He sounded really skeptical at first, but after reading the research I brought he agreed to do ethical alternatives when possible. I will probably decline chickenpox. MMR is not going to be an easy decision, since there aren’t currently any ethical alternatives in the USA. :(

                I remember my gyn in college really pushing me to get Gardasil because “it was almost too late.” Never bothered, and finally figured out that her pushing the Pill on me was a bad decision also. There’s tons of signs in our pediatrician’s office for Gardasil for boys too – what is up with that?

  • KyPerson

    I too remember seeing people with paralysis due to polio. My mother (a nurse) told me she used to be terrified when the news mentioned a polio outbreak even when it was in a distant city. I had measles, mumps, chicken pox, and German measles when I was a child. Measles mad me very ill indeed. I am so happy my grandchildren will not have to go through it.

    • Beadgirl

      My grandfather was permanently (but mildly, thank God) crippled due to polio. I imagine if he were alive today he’d be bemused by the anti-vac crowd.

  • Joseph

    I’m not opposed to vaccination. I’m opposed to using vaccines derived from the cells of aborted children, which is becoming all too common. It would be helpful if the vaccination regimen was spread out a bit more (we spread out the regimens of our children since my wife cared for them at home).

  • Annette

    Autism and auto-immune diseases, death, seizure disorders, and many other disorders are what have replaced the “vaccine-preventable diseases.” Not a great trade off if you ask me.

    • HornOrSilk

      Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wong.

      Once again, this nonsense is being said. Autism is not created or established by vaccines. That’s nonsense, and has been effectively debunked by studies.

      You and many others do not know what it was like in the pre-vaccination world, where real diseases caused real damage and death — on a large scale. Though there is some risk involved with vaccines, it is not a comparable risk. I like the analogy made on the other thread: seat belts. They save lives, more people live due to them than not. However, a small percentage of people die because of them. Yet the risk is far greater not to use it than to use it, so use it. To point to the small risk and act like it is anyway in comparison to the big risk is ludicrous.

    • PeonyMoss

      Autism, auto-immune diseases, seizure disorders, and many other disorders were all known before the development of vaccines. Death was also well known.

      Life is tradeoffs. It sucks that some kids have reaction to vaccines. It really sucks that some kids’ reactions result in lifelong disability or in death.

      And it sucked even more when even more kids – and adults – contracted diseases that left them with lifelong disabilities or outright killed them. In the polio outbreak in the early ‘fifties, of every hundred people who caught the disease ten to twelve would die. Another thirty would be permanently paralyzed. Many of the survivors would experience post-polio syndrome later in their lives.

      I’d rather have my child alive and living with disability from a vaccine than dead from the measles.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        That’s really cold comfort for parents with vaccine-injured children. When the dreams die, the bills pile up and the burden of care becomes crushing… well, hey, at least you’ve done your debt to society by keeping the herd immunity strong.

        • HornOrSilk

          Yes, so let’s let more children die. There is a risk for anything. There is a risk for seat belts. Decisions we make are not based upon 100% certain results. What we do is based upon the best likely results. Saying someone did not do well in such a situation therefore we should risk worse is real messed up.

          No one says it is not a sorrowful situation that children are hurt. However, what is said is that more children, possibly the same child, would suffer worse in a non-vaccinated population. That is the issue.

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            Again, I’m not saying don’t vaccinate or don’t wear seat belts or anything like that. Just pointing out how hard it is for parents to bear the burden of a vaccine-injured child. They paid a heavy debt to society and now have to pay even more in money, time, emotional toll, etc. It would be nice if society could recognize their sacrifice by helping to bear that burden, but that doesn’t seem to happen.

            But go ahead, HornOrSilk. Keep attacking me as an anti-vaccine quack, even though I don’t oppose vaccines. It would be nice to have a civil conversation on this matter with someone but I guess that’s not going to happen on this blog.

            • HornOrSilk

              The thing is, Zippy was promoting such an anti-vaccine, anti-established medicine quack, and Mark was told to listen to Zippy. Then you go into these threads and give moral support to those promoting the anti-vaccine nonsense.

              When talking about the question of vaccinations, you must know the main discussion is of the general rule. Talking about exceptional cases, and they are exceptional cases, extremely exceptional cases, might be interesting and point out why the general, universal rule has leeway for particulars, but nonetheless they do not over-ride the general rule or point in favor of vaccines. That is the real issue.

              Those who promote vaccines know there are particular people with particular problems which make it so they shouldn’t have a vaccine. Fine. We know that. No one disagrees. But again, those are exceptions to the rule. And more importantly THEY are put in greater harm if the people not affected by this exception decide to use it as an excuse not to get vaccinated. For then the safety shield will be gone.

              And obviously, we can talk about vaccinations in a disease by disease concern. Bringing up flu-shots, for example, is not helpful in discussing the value of vaccines as a whole. But again, this is the way the anti-vaccine crowd starts its rhetoric.

              I’ve seen the anti-vaccine crowd. They peddle all kinds of nonsense which is causing great harm to people. That is why I am vehemently opposed to them.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                Okay, fine, so the people who lead the anti-vaccine movement often peddle nonsense. But that doesn’t mean that everyone who is taken in by the nonsense is a bad person, morally equivalent to the peddlers. Wouldn’t it be better to patiently instruct those who ignorantly believe the nonsense rather than savaging them the moment they open their mouths? It just seems like your first instinct is to come out swinging. I’m just saying that’s not necessarily the best approach.

                • HornOrSilk

                  When dealing with conspiracy theorists, you don’t give them any credibility. Period. They play fast and loose, and anyone giving them anything other than a quick thumbs down is used to create wedges. It’s a tactic and the only response to this nonsense is to cast it off for the wackadoodle it is. Especially when the people are not looking to be instructed. They aren’t. They reject any instruction and just engage their conspiracy responses to any proper educated answer. Look to what is being posted to Dan C.

                  • Rosemarie

                    +J.M.J+

                    Well, if you’re just going to automatically assume that everyone who is taken in by conspiracy theories is automatically just as bad as those peddling them, I guess you will react accordingly. But you will also end up attacking people who are in at least partial agreement with you, and even alienating people who might otherwise agree with you but are turned off by your pugnacious tone.

                    I can only recommend that anyone who has the truth should present it rationally and calmly, otherwise one comes off badly and the position one advocates could also look bad by association.

                  • kenneth

                    That’s exactly right. Dialogue on the facts and questions about safety, legitimate as they are, are not made in good faith by the vaccine conspiracy movement. They are tactics used to play shell games with the underlying issue. It’s a tactic of sentimentalism. If you have the temerity to ask the anti-vaccine lobby for real evidence, then you’re being heartless to all the parents who ever had anything bad happen to their kids sometime during the years kids get vaccinated.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                When it comes to vaccination- the main problem is that the general rule doesn’t have any leeway for particular problems. You claim that those who promote vaccines know that there are such people, but no provision is made to detect such people.

                • HornOrSilk

                  There are means given for it. For example, many people have ways out of them if they show legitimate reasons for schools.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Not in Oregon they don’t anymore, or at least not completely. The variance might be accepted, or it might be turned down, but merely requesting will get your family watched very closely by the Department of Human Services for the crime of faith based healing.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      New York State also gives families a hard time even for medical exemptions. Notes and test results from doctors who have actually examined and treated the child can be rejected by doctors employed by the Department of Ed who have never even seen the child.

                • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                  If we could figure out who was vulnerable ahead of time, we’d make an exception for them. Maybe someday we’ll figure out how to do it. We don’t know how to right now.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              Perhaps what is really needed is better support for parents who do vaccinate and then run into trouble.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                Is there something wrong with the current compensation scheme?

                • Rosemarie

                  +J.M.J+

                  I’m sure the money is good and needed but ultimately nothing can compensate for a ruined life. It would be good, as someone said, if we could know beforehand who will have an adverse reaction and exempt them but it’s not possible now. It’s a tragedy; call it unavoidable, call it necessary to protect the “herd,” call it whatever you like but that doesn’t diminish the tragedy.

                  • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                    Please reread my question, then your answer. You didn’t actually answer my question, just insinuated that I was minimizing the tragedy. I don’t think I am. We set up that compensation scheme to try to reduce the bad side effects of a program that saves many lives and reduces tragedies overall. Ted Seeber complained about the lack of support, which naturally raises the question, could we do better? I asked it because if there is a way to make things better I want to know about it. That’s hardly trying to diminish the tragedy, but rather trying to address it in a grown up fashion.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      Sorry, I don’t think you personally are minimizing the tragedy. Though I am puzzled by whomever gave my comment above three down votes (three separate people, apparently). I point out the unmitigated sadness of families who did what they were told was the right thing for their children and for society only to end up with their precious children injured for the rest of their lives, and people respond with such callous sarcasm as, “So let’s just ban seat belts, then,” or even the less insensitive yet still hardly comforting assertion that a dead child is worse. In some ways it is but living with a child whose only future will be in an institution has its own long-term tragedy that can’t be minimized.

                      As the mother of three special-needs kids, I feel for families of children disabled in various ways, including immunizations. Though I don’t know whether vaccines were to blame in my case, I’ve lived the tragedy of broken dreams and costly therapies for thirteen years now. So it hurts a little when people belittle others in that situation. It does sometimes feel as though people in general don’t care, until of course an autistic kid starts acting up in public, then people stare and wonder why they can’t just keep their kid quiet so he doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable. Maybe things are improving a little the more people become accustomed to autism, but full acceptance and understanding is still elusive.

                      So that’s the level of near-despair I personally bring to this entire discussion. Not despair in God but despair in that attitudes of others and the direction in which this society is moving in general. That’s been coming out in the posts and it doesn’t have to do with you personally.

                    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                      When you go in for vaccination (which I have done fairly recently as a father of 3) they give you a sheet of paper with warnings on it. They lay out the risks. If there’s anything wrong with the current process it is in the primitive way that questions are handled. A FAQ would be much more helpful than the current one sheet per vaccine right before injection and hurry up, we don’t have all day attitude.

                      It’s something of an inverted lottery we play with vaccination where the winner numbers are large and the loser numbers are small but that does not mean that there are no losers and you’re notified of the odds and the numbers prior to signing up. If you want to take your chances and not play that lottery, that is your right, but you are endangering public health by doing so. Most people are going to be offended when you do so not because you exercise your choice not to be part of the collective shield wall called vaccination, but because your kids absence makes a hole in the wall and increases the risks for our kids.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      When my kids got all their shots over the years I occasionally got a sheet to read but not always or for all of them. Their former pediatrician would let me see the little bottle he was drawing the vaccine from but that had only so much information on the tiny label. It might actually depend on the doctor whether you get an info sheet or not.

                    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                      What you are saying happened is evidence of system breakdown. Those info sheets are lawsuit repellant. Without them, you can claim that you were not notified of the hazards if something goes wrong. It’s irresponsible not to give them. It’s also wrong.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      Too late for that. My kids are too old to claim vaccine injury now. Besides, trying to prove that they are vaccine injured would be impossible at this point even if there weren’t a statute of limitations for such claims.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      What compensation scheme is that? Where is it advertised?

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  Yes. It is completely non-existent. I was harmed by the smallpox shot as a child. I still have symptoms that flare up from time to time 40 years later. I’ve been diagnosed with Asperger’s. NO attempt has been made to compensate me for this, nor my family. Got the huge scar on my shoulder and the pox marks all over my arms to prove it, but I’ve seen nothing in the way of a class action lawsuit for people like me.

                  Deaths might be compensated better, I don’t know. But harm can be less as well.

                  But near as I can tell from the literature handed me with my own child’s vaccination, there is NO provision for those who run into trouble- not even a 1800 number to call if side effects appear, though there is now a much better listing of potential side effects handed to the parent after the shot.

        • PeonyMoss

          As opposed to the dreams dying from measles? Or the burden of care becoming crushing from a worst-case scenario of polio?

          I’m with you that vaccines need to be used prudently, including spacing them out and reconsidering vax’ing against diseases that are harder to catch (like Hepatitis B and HpV.) And yes, we should work on making vaccines as safe as possible and from morally uncompromised sources.

          But *in general*, vaccination has been a good thing. Take the tragedy of a child hurt by a vaccine and multiply it by hundreds, even thousands… that’s life pre-vaccination.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

          Vaccine injured children are helped by a compensation fund and have been for decades:

          http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html

          It would be wrong to leave vaccine injured kids unhelped. We all pay a little more for vaccines so that those who pay the price for all that herd immunity are compensated.

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            Yes, if the family applies within like three years of the injury and can prove it to their satisfaction, they may be compensated. But even then monetary compensation only addresses part of the burden.

            • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

              Yes, monetary compensation addresses only part of the burden. I’m open to listening to an actual proposal to make things better for the very small proportion of children where things go wrong so long as it doesn’t hurt the large majority of people who actually benefit from vaccination. Do you have one, or is this just striking out to make people feel bad?

              • TheodoreSeeber

                A great way to start would be to include that URL with the literature handed out to the parent with the very first vaccination shot.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Thanks, should have seen this link first. Hmm, wonder if I could, as a 40 year old adult, still qualify.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Why wasn’t this website in the literature handed to me as a parent with the shots? Within three years, I can’t qualify- my injury was 18 years *before* this legislation was written.

            But as a parent, I shouldn’t need to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit to receive compensation. My doctor, upon diagnosis that the child was harmed, should be able to *directly* file for the family involved and start the checks rolling. In addition to the monetary compensation, how about some work on reversing the damage done?

            • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

              It’s actually a tough call on reversing this sort of damage because it happens so rarely. These are orphan conditions right now.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                Do you realize that the autism study linking it to vaccination was an outlier that has been repeatedly debunked? Share the link far and wide, but don’t imagine that scientifically dubious claims are going to get a sympathy check.

                http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/index.html

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  Yes I do- but that study covers averages, not individuals, and thus isn’t comprehensive.

                  Same with other effects, such as my pox sores. All the industry studies show that they can’t possibly happen, but I’ve bled every day of my life somewhere on my body because of it.

    • Dan C

      Asthma and autoimmuntiy are unrelated to vaccines. The “hygiene hypothesis” is the current explanation for this. This refers to “clean living” as the cause for this.

      Essentially, the hypothesis suggests that asthma and autoimmunity are perhaps on the rise due to a lack of intestinal parasites, usually acquired through fecal-oral transmission, another grateful part of the past in America.

      As clean water, the greatest act of prevention for reduction of intestinal parasites, becomes more available in urban areas of Africa and India, asthma has been on the rise.

      • Newp Ort

        I like this hygiene hypothesis.

        Eat shit, you anti-vax nutbags!

  • HornOrSilk

    We must remember that the Vatican itself talked about vaccinations. Though the Vatican rightfully deplores the use of aborted babies in research, and says if there are other options available for vaccination to use, use them, and if not, work to make them available. However, they go on to say:

    “As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which
    are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these
    vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the
    population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. However, if
    the latter are exposed to considerable dangers to their health, vaccines with
    moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis. The
    moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not
    obligatory if there is grave inconvenience. Moreover, we find, in such a case,
    a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the
    presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children. This is particularly true in the case of
    vaccination against German measles.”

    I think some of the anti-vaccine crowd needs to listen to the Vatican, not new-age gurus.

    • Dave

      I think this is saying that you CAN use vaccines, even if they have the aborted fetuses, if there is no other alternative. The question that the Vatican was looking at related to that particular point.

      The moral evaluation of vaccines also depends on their current assessment of the benefit/harm of vaccines, which they are no more experts on than anyone else.

      • HornOrSilk

        It’s not just you “can,” but sometimes you MUST, in a particular situation. Not because vaccines should be made along those lines, but if all that is available in a given epidemic came out of such means, use them, for the short term.

        • Dave

          I believe you are seriously misreading what the Vatican statement says. Though it encourages vaccination, I do not see where it says one MUST do it. Its moral evaluation of vaccines is based on the accepted premise that vaccines in general do great good and very little harm. If that accepted premise is incorrect, their evaluation would change. The important point is that the Vatican is not an expert on the scientific question of the cost/benefit analysis of vaccination.

          I would think that the Galileo issue would have cleared up the issue of the Church being an expert on science.

          • HornOrSilk

            The Vatican is talking about moral necessity leading to the reason why one takes vaccinations from lines created through aborted fetuses. This is how it works: again, we are responsible if we create the situation in which more deaths occur when we could have done something about it. It’s a basic part of Catholic moral theology — what we failed to do is also sinful.

            • Stu

              I think you overreach on the conclusion of that paper. Ultimately, that very well be the case and I do think it can be argued that the CDF document points in that direction, but a more definitive ruling would be needed before you can say that Catholics are obliged to get vaccinated under penalty of sin.

            • Dave

              Yes…again…assuming that the scientific evaluation of the costs & benefits of vaccines are correct, then the moral responsibility follows.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              If you really are claiming that it’s a sin to refuse vaccination in such circumstances, then I can’t agree with you there. The exact wording of the document is, “vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them MAY also be used on a TEMPORARY basis.” “May” does not mean the same as “must,” and “temporary” implies that the risk of considerable dangers may not be constant, but only in certain circumstances.

              If the Church meant to teach here that one *must* be vaccinated in certain circumstances under pain of sin, the wording would be different. You are entitled to your opinion on immunization, but please don’t let your strong advocacy of vaccines lead you to overstate Church teaching. This a danger we can fall into with our pet beliefs, on whatever matter, and it is not helpful for anyone. Indeed, it could even needlessly drive people out of the Church based on a misunderstanding of Church teaching.

              Argue for vaccines all you like on medical grounds, but please tread carefully when citing Vatican documents. You could be misunderstanding them.

              • HornOrSilk

                You are misunderstanding the document but that is rather typical. The question was whether or not one was allowed to use such a vaccine. The answer is one is allowed. The reason it gives is a moral reason, which if you read carefully, points to the need for the use. It’s all there. You can’t talk about proportionate reasons without saying there is a moral need.

                • Rosemarie

                  +J.M.J+

                  Yes, one is allowed but not absolutely required under pain of sin. It never says that. The document is addressing the question: Is it permissible to use vaccines with moral problems? The answer given is: Under certain circumstances it may be permissible but under other circumstances it may also be right to reject them. Nowhere does it lay an obligation on us under pain of sin. Prudence dictates that we not go beyond what the Church intends to say here, lest we misrepresent the Church’s teaching.

                  • HornOrSilk

                    Once again, if we know our inaction is going to cause harm, such as the grave possibility of death, yes, the inaction is a sin, when there is no moral reason not to do a certain action. The may is put there to let us know there is no moral case against, but the judgment talks about the proportionate reasons for it, which then goes to the other side of the issue.

                    We must always remember that inaction can be a sin, when such inaction is likely to harm others.

                    • Patrick

                      Note that Horn is equating “going to cause harm” with “possibility of death”. He also throws out “if we KNOW our inaction is going to cause harm”, because, you know, if you don’t get the shot, it’s a given that somebody is going to suffer. It’s a PROVEN FACT that cannot be denied. If you read the disclaimers you have a to sign when are going to give your kid a shot, depending on the shot, you will see “possibility of death (but don’t worry, it won’t be YOUR kid…)”.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      But do we know for sure that rejecting only the morally problematic vaccines in any given particular case will definitely cause harm too others? See, there are too many factors in play to make such a blanket claim for all circumstances; which is why the Church does not take that step. She lays out the degrees of cooperation with evil -vs- the possible proportionate reasons for vaccinating and then leaves it up to each Catholic to discern, preferably in consultation with a confessor or spiritual director, based on individual circumstances.

                      To go beyond that and insist that everyone must act a certain way, under pain of sin, when the Magisterium has not so bound us is to put extra burdens upon people and so misrepresent the Church.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            @Dave: In re Galileo, the Church said that he should not declare that heliocentrism was a fact until he had empirical evidence for it. That actually seems =more= scientific.

            • Dave

              The point is that the Church was not given any special power by God to evaluate scientific claims. Otherwise, I agree with you on the specific question of Galileo.

          • HornOrSilk

            No, the Galileo affair is totally misrepresented.

            The Church had NO PROBLEM with anyone holding a sun-centered universe. None. Galileo’s problems lay in his attempts at theology and criticism of the Bible due to his poor exegesis of Scripture, using his scientific beliefs as a basis to create such erroneous criticism. Many before him, like Nicholas of Cusa, held a far greater, more expansive view of the universe, and had no theological problems because he didn’t take Scripture in the facile way Galileo said had to be done!

  • brandon field

    Mark, listen to Zippy on this. It’s not a black-or-white issue.

    • HornOrSilk

      I will listen to the Vatican, not Zippy

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        Just curious: if the Vatican said “Don’t use vaccines developed using cell lines from aborted fetuses,” would you still listen?

        • HornOrSilk

          Did you see what I quoted? The Vatican says we are to avoid them, if we can, and criticize their use and work to find other means for vaccines. However, the Vatican continues with the traditional moral theology in dealing with issues of remote material cooperation in necessary situations.

          I’m Catholic. I know the moral theology. The funny thing is you suddenly act like someone pointing to the Vatican is somehow not listening to the Vatican. What a disgraceful tactic. Typical, however, of a certain mindset.

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            Yes I know what the Vatican says. In fact I’ve read the whole document. I’m glad you are following the Vatican on this but I know from hard, personal experience that it’s easy to follow Church teaching when it happens to coincide with ones own strong beliefs but not so easy when one disagrees.

            Judging from you posts on these two threads, you are an outspoken advocate for vaccines who is willing to brutally attack with put-downs people who have questions and concerns about this matter, even parents with verifiably vaccine-injured children. So I have to wonder what would happen if the Vatican someday said that certain vaccines cannot be morally used. Would it then be so easy for you to triumphantly state, “I will listen to the Vatican, not Zippy”?

            Maybe it would; I don’t know. That’s why I asked. Yet rather than answer the question directly, you immediately turned and attacked me personally, accusing me of a “disgraceful tactic” and a “certain mindset.” Actually, I also agree with the Vatican’s statement on this matter.

            No, I’m not perfect. I’ve had my own struggles in the past with Church teaching on things like women priests and contraception as I’ve said before on this blog. So I don’t claim any extraordinary virtue when it comes to obedience. So my question didn’t come from a position of moral superiority.

            It is good for us all to examine our consciences once in a while and say, “What if the Church declared something I don’t like? How would I handle it?” That’s where I was coming from. If that came across wrong, then I’m sorry. Yet your response was still rather ad hominem; I apparently have some “certain mindset” (undefined) that allows you to dismiss the question. Oh well.

            • HornOrSilk

              What you did was engage a fallacious form of questioning. The fact that I pointed to the Vatican, and I have given no reason for anyone to think I don’t follow the Vatican, should already give answer to your question. You are trying a rhetorical attack, changing the subject and discussion to avoid the real issue. Zippy points to a quack who has a campaign against medicine as his source. I point to the Vatican, with a much more reasoned approach to the subject. The science follows with the Vatican, not Zippy. That’s where the discussion is at.

              I could do what ifs to change the topic as well. But it is just a way to divert. I won’t play that game.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                I’m not trying to change the subject or avoid the real issue. It’s just that you came off as triumphalistic with that remark, even as you have come off as pugnacious and mean throughout this entire discussion. Anyone who disagrees with you in the least gets savaged.

                These people are not your enemies; can’t you treat them with a modicum of kindness? If they are ignorant, can’t you patiently instruct them without rancor? You might win more people to your side that way.

                • Newp Ort

                  That was a really bogus question.

                  • Rosemarie

                    +J.M.J+

                    It’s a question I ask myself in other contexts, since I can’t presume I’ll always be faithful to the Church, even if I might disagree with her. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be helpful to others to ask that question, too.

                    BTW, when someone says, “I will listen to the Vatican, not Zippy,” isn’t the implication that Zippy isn’t “listening to the Vatican”? That’s pretty bogus, if you ask me.

                    • Newp Ort

                      Yeah, after reading back through your comments I see what you mean. It did come off as a really odd point at first, but I did nothing to help the discussion. Sorry about that.

                      I guess listening to the magisterium instead of X being bogus depends on how far astray (if at all) X has gone.

                      Again sorry I jumped on you. I should have known you meant it in a reasonable way.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      No problem :-)

              • Zippy

                Dr David Healy is no quack. Nor is he anti-medicine, as anyone with even a cursory acquaintance with his work would know. (He also doesn’t write about vaccination specifically).

      • Dave

        Wait, so it’s the Church’s teaching now that vaccination is obligatory on pain of sin?

        • HornOrSilk

          It’s amazing. The Church is pro-life.

    • chezami

      I don’t think I said it was black and white. It’s just that I didn’t know it was a Thing.

  • Sus_1

    If you really want the crazy to come out, you should do a post on breastfeeding versus formula feeding babies.

    • Newp Ort

      Oh ho ho, you pot stirrer! ;)

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        And fluoridation of water!

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Oh yeah, that’ll do it!

      Another possibility is, “Is it lying to tell your children about Santa Claus?” I’ve seen some real knock-down, drag-out combox fights over both of those topics.

      • PeonyMoss

        Don’t forget Harry Potter, who turns 33 years old today

        • HornOrSilk

          Don’t tell Zippy. He condemned Potter.

        • Beadgirl

          Heh, that must be the reason I’ve had a compulsion to reread the books this week.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Or natural birth vs any interventions, or baby-wearing vs not, or anything on co-sleeping . . . Get the kitchen knives out and wait for the Mommy Wars to begin. Of course, vaccines are a pretty big mommy war issue.

  • Liz S

    Well duh, of course vaccines are bad. They were created by science, and as all Christians, especially the Catholic church, know science is evil (Galileo!)

    Of course if anti-vaccination people can get past their distaste for science they’ll see that rates of complications that can be directly attributed to vaccines are less than rates of complications (including death) due to the diseases they prevent. And I can’t think of any non-blunt to say this, but isn’t it possible that some of the rises in other disorders is partly due to the fact that weaker, sicker children with other complications like asthma, tendencies towards auto-immune disorders, etc aren’t being killed by vaccine-preventable diseases? Then there’s the hygiene hypothesis, that we have become too clean in our modern lives so children’s immune systems aren’t given the opportunity to learn what are dangerous foreign invaders – bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites- vs what are harmless -dust, tree pollen, peanuts, gluten/wheat.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      Other than that first, obnoxious paragraph, I really really want to believe this post.

  • GXS

    Us v. Our Ruling Class. Which side of this issue is our ruling class on? That doesn’t resolve the question, but it should cause openness to the controversy.

    • HornOrSilk

      Here we go, another of the libertarian, anti-government, responses which ignores the social responsibility and positive good of government. Again, the Vatican and the whole history of Catholic theology speaks of the need of a “ruling class” to help regulate the good of society. Now the “ruling class” can do wrong, too, but to be opposed to the notion of government is libertine nonsense.

    • Alister Crowe

      “Not dying horribly of preventable childhood diseases” has to be the most benevolent ruling class I know of.

  • JmcBoots

    My take is this; vaccinations have done wonders to eradicate all sorts of medical ills. They have truly made us a healthier nation. Many, many, many more children and people completely avoid and/or survive ailments that would have killed them a century ago. Diseases that had a huge negative impact on our society are either gone or close to it. But sometimes we over do it.

    Like much of our medical knowledge, our knowledge of vaccines and their side effects are incomplete. Lets not forget, at the time we were developing the polio vaccine, coca-cola (with cocaine!), heroin, and cigarettes were all proclaimed as a miracle drugs to cure all ailments by the medical research community.

    Many vaccines have been modified over the years as they discover some agent contained within does more harm than good. Most of these go unnoticed, as much of that evolution happened in the 50s and 60′s as vaccines were becoming mainstream.

    In the 90′s there was an explosion in Autism. A fear of lead and mercury in vaccines being discussed as linked to Autism. When the manufactures pulled Thiomersal (A preservative that was claimed to be the contaminant) out of vaccines to placate the populace they fueled the fires of suspicion.

    In general I think vaccines are good. However, I feel we sometimes push the envelope too far. We as a society also have this narcissistic self-perception that we are omnipotent, as is all of our inventions. Given the past success of vaccines, we tend to look at them as the answer to everything. How many times has some hollywood celeb asked for money so science can develop a vaccine for AIDS, cancer and poverty.

    Something has caused the explosion in autism. Along with the huge increase in cancer of all forms. Is it vaccines? Processed / genetically modified foods? Birth control? I certainly don’t know, and neither does our medical research community. But one day they will, and then there will be more changes and advances in our society and we will all pat ourselves on the back for being so smart again.

    • HornOrSilk

      The explosion in autism is simple: there was no explosion. There was a greater awareness so more people noticed it. Autism existed before it was labeled, but no one knew of it, now more people know, more people are on the look out, and so more diagnosis is done.

      • JmcBoots

        I disagree. Just based on simple observation. Yes Autism existed before hand, and it was often not labeled as such. Most of the times these people were place in a psychiatric hospital. Now more often they are cared for by their parents, so yes there there is a more public awareness.

        However the number of people in the nut houses then, is still far less than the number of people who have autistic kids now. I grew in Kings Park, NY. Home of the now defunct Kings Park Psychiatric center. I was an fireman in that town for years, so i have had some experience and knowledge in this realm. I see more of it now, than I did then.

        • HornOrSilk

          Not everyone who is autistic is of the same level. Again, the increase in numbers includes the low-grade autistics who would never have been thrown into a nut house (as you call it).

          Percentage wise, the numbers are not drastically increasing. With a larger population, we see more raw numbers of them, and of course, with observation looking for them, you will find them more than at times when people just ignored them.

          • JmcBoots

            I am well aware of Autism and its levels and variations. You are an expert on the numbers how?

      • Ian Bibby

        No, that’s one theory about the explosion in autism. I’m not sure if it fully accounts for it or not, and neither are you.

      • Beadgirl

        There’s also the possibility that at least some forms of autism/autism spectrum disorder are being over-diagnosed today: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/opinion/aspergers-history-of-over-diagnosis.html?_r=1&

    • Newp Ort

      Meanwhile you pat yourself on the back for being dumb.

      • JmcBoots

        Any particular reason I am dumb, or do you just like randomly throwing unsubstantiated commentary?

        • Newp Ort

          People are “pushing the envelope” by continuing to try to stop deadly diseases. No one knows what causes problem x,y,z, but when they figure it out “we will all pat ourselves on the back for being so smart again.”

          It would seem you are advocating dumbness or a lack of progress as a good thing.

          • JmcBoots

            Has it occurred to you that all science is not perfect? In fact since the FDA has a thing called http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls I would say we might be pushing the envelop a little too far.

            Are you aware that 4 drugs alone have been recalled just THIS MONTH. How many people did those drugs save? How many did they harm? We dont really know do we.

            Is science good? yes! I would not return to the days before vaccines and drugs. But at the same time I think we leap into the unknown a little too fast. The vast number of recalls seems to confirm this.

            Does that make me dumb? I guess you are blindly confident that everything that science and the government does is good. That’s fine, its your life. But I dont think you can call me dumb for being cautious.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      When polio vaccines were being developed in my lifetime, Coca-Cola did not contain cocaine, heroin was not touted as a miracle drug, and cigarettes had been called “coffin nails” for decades. None were being prescribed as “cures” for anything. (In fact, there were darned few “cures” for anything at all.)

      • JmcBoots

        I stand corrected, I should have said smallpox. By the 1950′s were getting a bit smarter. However, we still made plenty of mistakes then too, Thalidomide for one…

  • Stu

    I would hardly categorize as “unremarkable”, a post claiming that the addition of a lady with a “completely empty head” to a television program would “kill children”.

  • Patrick

    Antibiotics have done wonderful things. Therefore, anybody who suggests that the overuse of antibiotics can actually lead to harmful things is a conspiracy theorist. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    • Irksome1

      Antibiotics are very different from vaccinations.

      • Patrick

        The same point applies. Vaccines have done wonderful things. Therefore, anybody who suggests that the overuse of antibiotics, particularly in infants, particularly when there is no control group, is a conspiracy theorist. Anybody who still actually still has their kid get shots but spaces them out is the same as somebody who gets not shots at all. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

        • Irksome1

          Apples and oranges. The overuse of antibiotics leads to resistant bacterial strains. I have not seen the same argued for vaccines. Therefore, the analogy fails based on the realworld science about how these two medicines function.

          • Patrick

            The analogy is pointing out the reaction by those who believe there is nothing left to discover about how the body reacts to stuff we inject into it when somebody points out that maybe we haven’t reached the zenith of medical / biological knowledge.

            Those who want to point to “SCIENCE!” are conveniently leaving out the fact that with infant vaccines and immunizations under the current schedule (which keeps getting upped), THERE IS NO CLINICAL STUDY. Nobody was ever asked, “We’ve changed the number and ingredients of the shots we think babies need. Would you please volunteer your baby for us to try it out on?” Try getting a new medicine to market without jumping through the standard hoops of clinical trials (or if you’re going to, make sure you have the FDA in your pocket so your own data showing the dangers get conveniently ignored….Vioxx, anybody?)

            Again, people (including many physicians) saying that perhaps we’re not as fully in control of all knowledge as we would like to think and maybe there’s a place for some caution are being tagged as conspiracy theorists and idiots, and it’s pathetic.

            • Irksome1

              I would say that’s a far more reasonable take than what I understood you to be saying at first. Humility about our level of medical knowledge is sorely lacking and I, myself, have called for more especially in the psychological and psychiatric fields. Still, while I acknowledge your point, my guess is that early vaccination is probably the preferred policy, given that many more toddlers and infants are left in daycare centers, which are already veritable Petri dishes and could well stand the kind of security against debilitating diseases that widespread vaccination would provide. Absent a compelling (read: not speculative) reason to change the schedule, it seems to me the more conservative approach might be the one we have now, just based on the government’s traditional responsibility to public health and safety.

              • Patrick

                I am offended by your reasonable response. :)

        • Alister Crowe

          Not in the slightest. The problem in this case is that we’re dealing with peer-reviewed studies and a simply gigantic, nevermind the fact that as Irksome1 already pointed out, they’re two utterly different mechanisms.

          Oh, and shots are spaced out. And boosters are taken. As an adult in his late 20s, I STILL make sure I get my boosters for tetanus.

  • Ian Bibby

    Most developed countries have less aggressive vaccine schedules that the US does. Heck, in Japan, most parents don’t have their kids vaccinated for chicken pox, even though the chicken pox vaccine was invented there. Why are we right and everyone else wrong on what the vaccine schedule should be? On the other hand, why shouldn’t it be even more aggressive than ours if there’s no problem?

    The very existence of these questions and differences illustrates that this isn’t just a simple binary case of benighted fools on the one side vs. people who are glad we cured polio on the other.

    FWIW, my son is on the standard vaccine schedule (minus chicken pox, since he contracted it at 11 months, right before he was supposed to get the vaccine), but I don’t think the questions are all resolved, or can be resolved, by shouting, “Do you like polio?! Do you?!”

    • Patrick

      Here you go again with your conspiracies. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

  • Sandra Miesel

    Enough already! I’m old enough to remember the days of polio epidemics. I had a teacher and friends crippled by polio. I had a schoolmate die of tetanus. The vaccine was available by then but not in the time of my great-grandmother, who died from tetanus leaving six young children to mourn her. Let’s go back in time and tell these people that in the future there will be ways to prevent these diseases but some parents refuse to use them for fear of phantoms. Care to predict the reaction?
    Yes, I can fling anecdotes just like the anti-vaccine crowd. But nothing gives a feel for child mortality in the Good Old Days when everything was “pure” and “natural” than studying actual death records from the past. Seeing families lose two toddlers in a month or three in a week. Counting statistics in a seventeenth century English town where it was a good year when only one child in eight was dead by the age of two. Obviously, not all deaths came from preventable diseases but would you care to take your chances?
    Flu shots aside, there hasn’t been any mercury in vaccines for years–but no reduction in autism rates. Stop pointing to it. Despite an increase in the number of shots, the quantity of antigenic particles per shot is much lower than it used to be, so net exposure is less. Newborn infants automatically face millions of potential antigens from the moment they take their first breath. Chicken pox contracted in childhood comes back as shingles for one-third of adults who had had it. That alone is an excellent motive for vaccinating children against it.
    Disclosure: I have a master’s in biochemistry and still own stock in my late husband’s old employer Eli Lilly. That said, the fear and even hatred of modern medicine bubbling up in conservative Catholic circle deeply appalls me. Mark’s original comment was right–giving an anti-vaccine activist a new media platform will cost children’s lives.

    • Stu

      McCarthy Lied….Children Died!

  • Zippy

    You are astonished because you are ignorant. You are talking about a technology used to alter the biochemistry of hundreds of millions of people; and pointing out that it is a technology with risks and downsides is treated as crimethink.

    What astonishes me is all the credulity.

    • Alister Crowe

      Risks that exist, sure.

      Making up risks out of whole cloth based on absolutely zero data whatsoever (apart from if you include self-published books, or a paper that the guy not only withdrew but apologised for even writing in the first place because he rechecked his figures and discovered he was dead wrong) is a whole other story.

      Risk of not immunising your child: That child dying of something that no child has died off since the 1920s.

      • Zippy

        Actually, vaccination doesn’t work that way. On average it increases the immunity of individuals, yes. And that throws sand into the gears of the spread of the disease in the population – infectious diseases spread when they have low-friction vectors, and they die out when they have higher friction vectors.

        But on the individual level, getting vaccinated just decreases the likelihood of getting the disease somewhat, if exposed. It also comes with nontrivial risks.

        Vaccination is a technology, or really a cluster of technologies – a biochemical intervention and alteration in human beings made on a massive scale, with all that that implies. Like all technologies it hasn’t remained static – the market and environment haven’t remained static, the products haven’t remained static, etc.

        But it isn’t treated like a massive biochemical intervention, a technology and market — it is treated like a Holy of Holies, and pointing out its limitations and downsides is treated like blasphemy.

        • Dbom

          +1

          Dang bro, you nailing it today!!

    • chezami

      No argument there. I am ignorant. It’s just that I think Jenny McCarthy is also ignorant and a pediatrician, not so much. Beyond that, I simply had no idea this was such a landmine topic.

      • HornOrSilk

        It’s an internet landmine. Conspiracy theorists always looking to go against the grain. Government says X, so we must say not X. Media says vaccines are good, so we must decry them. And you get all kinds of quackery spread on the net (you know how this goes with trads; it’s the same kind of cause and reason for this).

        If you want to see a big source of this nonsense on the net, just go to “natural news.” Some things they report are legit, as is common with conspiracy theorists, in order to get people to follow with the rest.

        Many sources of this is also from the Scientology cult, at least as a foundation. And the arguments, even from non-scientologists, becomes the same. There is a reason for this, too.

        • Patrick

          You really need to give the conspiracy theory obsession a rest. And maybe even do some research on libertarianism as opposed to libertinism (yes, they are two different things, even if there are libertine libertarians).

          You would have been at the head of the line of the people telling Semmelweis he was a crackpot / crypto-Scientologist / anti-government idiot.

          • HornOrSilk

            The conspiracy issue is there. As is the libertarian issue. Both issues I have hit are spot on. The whole “I won’t be told what to do” libertarian nonsense is just that. The whole “anti-ruling class” nonsense is just libertarian rhetoric, not Catholic. Catholics respect the position of government and leadership; we can question the actions of leaders and rules they put in place, using moral reasons, but we don’t do so with a generic anti-ruling/anti-government approach. That is Satanic and yes, I said it, Satanic. There is a reason why the founder of the Church of Satan looked at his position as one with Ayn Rand.

            • Patrick

              Dear Mr. SpotOn: your equation of Ayn Rand with libertarianism is a dead giveaway that you don’t have the faintest clue what you are talking about. You do, however, have a very tight grasp on the ignorant party line.

              Note to Tom Woods: You are a satanist.

              • HornOrSilk

                LOL. There you go, denying Ayn Rand’s relationship with libertarianism. She was the big thing before she had to be denied. I know. Seriously, Patrick, you just speak exactly as I knew you would, exactly like the conspiracy theorist exposed using the same conspiracy theorist rhetoric. Enough. You aren’t worth any more time.

                • Patrick

                  I’d love to see you point to one single thing I have said that shows the conspiracy theorist in me. Can you? Will you? Of course not. All I have said is that there is room for circumspection involving shots. Period.

                  Now go take your overflowing cup of charity and spread your joy far and wide.

                  ConspiracyTheoryErgoPropterHocWrongWrongWrongConspiracyTheoryErgoPropterHocWrongWrongWrongConspiracyTheoryErgoPropterHocWrongWrongWrongConspiracyTheoryErgoPropterHocWrongWrongWrongConspiracyTheoryErgoPropterHocWrongWrongWrongConspiracyTheoryErgoPropterHocWrongWrongWrongConspiracyTheoryErgoPropterHocWrongWrongWrong

                • Patrick

                  Since you prefer pronouncements from the royal throne to substance, I thought it would be helpful to let people read what the man nicknamed “Mr. Libertarian” wrote about Ayn Rand so they can judge your infallibility on the subject for themselves (I know, it’s dangerous to let people have knowledge and then make decisions without consulting with the priests first, but…)

                  http://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/murray-n-rothbard/understanding-ayn-randianism/

  • Monica Pope

    my take: it’s pure bafoonery to equate vaccinations (either acceptance or rejection of) with morality. vaccinations are like labor unions. they used to be much more necessary. in the post-necessity world, it’s reasonable to have conversations about their usefulness.

    my take: parents, make your choices. live with them. and yes. everybody else has to live with many of your choices, too. it’s what we call community. so, live with that.

    furthermore, bloggers. write your blog. keep it to your area of expertise. live with the backlash. if you confine yourself to your area of expertise, the backlash is a new conversation. if you step out of your area of expertise, consider the backlash a lesson learned. but please, consider it in private. why promulgate more frothy verbage over nothing objective or solvable?

    my take: if mark’s blog becomes another page of parenting wars (ornamented with ever so keen observations of the ridiculous ironies churned out by ‘other side’– whoever they may be) ‘ll stop reading. life is too short to spend any more of it doing this baloney.

    • HornOrSilk

      Wrong. There is a social responsibility which we have. The Vatican has spoken on this often. There is quite a moral issue involved, and the idea “we don’t need them now” is pure bunk.

      • Monica Pope

        no. i am not wrong. the Vatican has an opinion on vaccinations that matches your opinion on vaccinations.

        NO amount of moral outrage (either for or against) and NO amount of opinion machinery makes vaccinations a matter of faith and morals.

        • HornOrSilk

          So the Vatican’s position is not a moral position when talking about moral theology? Are you Catholic?

          Seriously, when talking about moral theology, the Vatican’s discussions of morality has value. And the Vatican is very clear we are not to live a libertarian individualistic lifestyle. We are responsible for social concerns which we can do something to fix. And anti-vaccination is all about rejection of the social responsibility, so it is a moral issue.

          • Monica Pope

            yes. i am Catholic and your hubris is disgusting.

            the vatican’s position, is a response to the lawful use of immorally derived vaccinations. it is NOT a positive statement about the moral responsibility to vaccinate oneself or one’s children according to the government schedule of immunizations.

            but, MORAL REFLECTIONS ON VACCINES PREPARED FROM CELLS DERIVED FROM ABORTED HUMAN FOETUSES is an important read. in summary, to quote
            (http://www.cogforlife.org/vaticanresponse.htm)

            -there is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems;

            - as regards the vaccines without an alternative, the need to contest so that others may be prepared must be reaffirmed, as should be the lawfulness of using the former in the meantime insomuch as is necessary in order to avoid a serious risk not only for one’s
            own children but also, and perhaps more specifically, for the health conditions of the population as a whole – especially for pregnant women;

            - the lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one’s children and of the people who come in contact with the children (pregnant women);

            - such cooperation occurs in a context of moral coercion of the conscience of parents, who are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk. This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.

            to my reading:

            1.the Catholic is allowed conscientious objection.
            2. vaccinations (even those derived from fetal stem cells) are lawful to use
            3. the special but not exclusive concern is for the health of the pregnant woman
            4. ‘insomuch as is necessary’ is an interesting phrase and is VERY much contestable (by either side of the debate)

            the rubella vaccine is the only vaccine that would approach anything like a moral responsibility for protecting children, society AND pregnant women.

            but the cdc says: ‘Rubella vaccination is particularly important for non-immune women who may become pregnant because of the risk for serious birth defects if they acquire the disease during pregnancy’

            note, also the CDC specifies ‘non-immune’ women, who it would seem, should carry the greater burden to provide for their own immunity (and the protection of their babies) than the general public to do it for them, but the Vatican doesn’t provide for that discussion in the above document.

            practically speaking, rubella vaccination is virtually impossible to obtain singularly. its given as MMR and currently, more often, MMRV. MMRV (varicella) is known, more than the others, to lose efficacy. chicken pox in teen boys (and older) can lead to sterilization. discounting the stats on efficacy and potential outcome on male fertility is irresponsible.

            furthermore, any child who has recently (several MONTHS) received a live polio vaccine can be life threatening when in contact with any other child who receives methotrexate treatments for serious diseases.

            and the list of REAL objections goes on. so please HoSilk, STOP, arguing as if the issue of vaccination is an ex cathedra proclamation. stop foisting it as an objective morality.

            it isn’t.

        • Monica Pope

          furthermore, i am not wrong about suggesting Mark Shea stick to his area of expertise (which, so far, thankfully, hasn’t been mommy-blogging.)

          I am also not wrong that he (and all bloggers) should wound-lick in private. the typical blogger crAAAp of ‘taking it to the screen’ is pitiful.

          • chezami

            “wound lick”? What am I wounded about? I’m just surprised. I had no idea vaccination was a Thing. I don’t claim any expertise. I merely don’t buy that a starlet has any expertise either and think that a doctor of pediatrics, you know, does.

            • Patrick

              Having letters after one’s name does not necessarily confer “expertise” (my father, a civil engineer, used to say he would never hire an Ph.D. because they have lost the ability to think), and many laypeople (starlets included, I assume) have expertise in areas that they didn’t necessarily get a certificate from a government-approved institution for (talk to the guy who poured your new driveway, for one very easy example).

              So if, instead of a starlet, an actual doctor of pediatrics thinks that our current shot regimen is in need of serious scrutiny, how does that fit into your equation? Because there are a whole lot of them out there.

        • chezami

          Matters of life and death are not matters of faith and morals?

          • HornOrSilk

            Again, you can see, as I can see, the subjective relativism going on here. It’s not an issue of morals! Why, because people have different opinion!

            Say what?!

      • Silly Interloper

        All hale the self-proclaimed bishop. Say the word “Vatican” enough, and you can be a bishop, too. Please ignore the lack of specifics and complete arguments.

  • Beadgirl

    It’s because you are not a mommy-blogger, Mark. I could have told you that even mentioning the existence of child vaccinations would start a huge kerfuffle. Perhaps, for page views, you should next discuss breastfeeding v. formula? Homeschooling v. private schooling v. public schooling? Organic home-made gluten-free sugar-free meals v. Happy Meals? “Crying-it-out” v. co-sleeping? :>

    • Beadgirl

      Ooh, I forgot one! TV v. no TV!

    • Stu

      Breastfeeding
      Homeschool
      Organic
      Crying-it-out and co-sleeping (it depends on the circumstance)
      No TV

      Too easy. ;)

      • Beadgirl

        I can accept organic, but you will have to pry bread and sugar out of my cold, dead hands.

        • Stu

          Oh…it will make you “dead” alright. :)

          (But a little won’t hurt.)

          • Beadgirl

            Yeah, my responses to each of these would be annoyingly vague: “in moderation” or “whatever is best for your family.” It’s why I would make a poor mommy-blogger; I save my polemics for other issues.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          I felt that way too until we diagnosed the gluten sensitivity. I can eat it, but I shouldn’t go too far from a restroom for a while afterward. :(

          Vaccination is an aggravating issue because it affect everyone and it’s a BIG issue. It isn’t just about disease, it involves government, the medical community, parental rights, etc. How many of use trust our government? How many of us trust our doctors completely? What do we do when a child is proven to have been harmed by a vaccine? Or an adult for that matter–I have a friend who developed an autoimmune disorder in response to a vaccine. Some days, it’s really crippling for her.
          Vaccines are generally good, but that doesn’t mean people calling for more caution or research are crazy, or wrong.
          Not all of that is in response to BeadGirl, just getting my piece out while I’m posting. For the two pence it’s worth.

          • Beadgirl

            Oh oh oh, let me clarify. I am entirely, 100% in favor of vaccines — the personal and societal benefits drastically outweigh any side effects (of which there are some, but not autism). I just don’t have it in me today to argue about it.

            • Rebecca Fuentes

              Me too. But I don’t discount those who are more cautious, or that there may be children who would benefit from a more drawn out schedule. I make sure my whole household is healthy before anyone get their shots, since that seems sensible.

    • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ Scott W.

      Good point. If you want some mild heat in your combox, talk about politics.
      If you want to really see some fur fly, talk about SSPX or Medjugorje.
      If you want your combox to experience complete thermonuclear meltdown in which the radioactivity will not decay for a hundred years, talk about the proper way to raise children.

  • bob

    Hey, here’s another explosive for ye..The f-word: Fluoride! Portland, OR recently voted once again to let teeth rot at a natural rate, no Fluoride in its water supply. Now new dentists know where to move for a busy practice for life.

    • Dave

      My dentist told me that fluoride in water has a negligible effect on tooth decay. Fluoride in toothpaste does help, at least according to him.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        I asked my dentist about that too. We have naturally fluoridated water here, so we’re stuck with it anyway.

    • Dbom

      So *drinking* fluoride is good for your teeth?

      That reminds me of a saying:

      A moment on your lips and forever a dangerous chemical in your digestive, muscular, skeletal and cardiovascular systems…

      Something like that…

      Anyways, read the warning on a tube of toothpaste and multiply by everything you eat and drink. Yay Fluoride- at least my teeth will look awesome in the casket.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Not only that, but sodium is a flammable metal and chlorine is a poisonous gas, yet people think nothing about taking in sodium chloride!

  • Thinkling

    Hmm, Al Kresta on his website just gave publicity to what seems a textbook antivaccination screed.

    I get the moral hazard issues this particular case but that is never an excuse for mouth-foaming brain flatlinery. I am somewhat disappointed with him.

    • Monica Pope

      beware of thine own mouth foaming.

      your strong opinion on the subject of vaccinations does not make you exempt from the responsibility to charity.

  • MadCOMama

    My kids had the pertussis vaccination, and many years later, we all got it anyway. Vaccines don’t always work, and the damage they can cause is still a big unknown. We also have several kids on the autistic spectrum. So, the jury is out. My six kids are mostly vaccinated, but I’m not a huge fan. We also have a lot of other health issues, including mysterious gut ailments (IBS and other issues, possible gluten sensitivity, dairy issues), pain issues (joints and connective tissue) with no answers, despite a lot of testing. It’s frustrating to think it may have been vaccines. We may never know.

    • PeonyMoss

      Have you read anything about GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome)?

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        I will second that. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s worth it.

        • HornOrSilk

          It’s nonsense. Big time nonsense. Typical new age quackery.

          Here is a good review on Amazon:

          I was looking forward to reading this book but quickly saw the red flags of quackery while reading it. Quackery, for those not familiar with the term, is the promotion of unproven or fraudulent medical practices. People use quackery to sell books/gadgets/supplements, increase traffic to a website or TV show, and for many other reasons (selling GAPS certifications). The problem with reading a book like this is that there is little or no evidence that anything recommended is effective and you
          have no idea whether information given is correct. Is it making you more informed or less?

          I’ll list some of the reasons that this book is quackery. On page 12, she talks about Andrew Wakefield’s research and completely ignores the fact that his research was shown to be fraudulent years before this book was published. The exact paper of Wakefield’s that was shown to be fraudulent is also cited in the references section of the book. After realizing that the author references a few more well-known quacks early on in her book I started to research the author herself. Simply google “natasha campbell-mcbride quack” and you will find many references explaining why this author is a
          quack.

          The GAPS diet is based on other diets known to help heal the intestine, such as the specific carbohydrate diet and FODMAP diet, so it’s not surprising that it works for some. Yes, there is a link between the gut and many of the issues in this book, but I believe that reading this book may actually make you less well informed.

          If you have gut problems I recommend directing your research time to learn more about the FODMAP diet. Also, small intestinal bacteria overgrowth is a very common cause of gut problems, so you may want to read about this as well.

          —-

          Following that suggestion, the first link is here:

          http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/08/01/gaps-in-a-doctors-reasoning-about-vaccines/

          Please, this is more of the online, new age crapola.

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            You don’t agree, so it’s quackery. We get it. We’ve been getting it. She can check it out for herself, or not, and make her own decision. Remember when margarine was healthier for us than butter? Oops, then we discovered what trans-fats do to the human body. Remember when common wisdom said that, “It’s not the rice that makes you fat, but what you put on it”? Oops, new research discovers that simple, refined carbs play an important role in weight gain and health problems. Medicine has done a world of good, but that doesn’t mean we can’t question something if it doesn’t seem to add up for us. GAPS and digestive health doesn’t add up for you. Okay. It seems to really work and make sense for others.

            • Patrick

              There you go again with your conspiracy theories about how rice companies are in league with vaccine makers to force us to eat margarine. SCIENCE!* (*except Vioxx)

              • Rebecca Fuentes

                Wait until I explain why I buy my meat from the farm down the road–it can’t have ANYTHING to do with keeping $ local and supporting a good friend. It’ll be a conspiracy that has something to do with my husband’s obviously shadowy past in the meat-packing industry, I’m sure. :D And my nearly grain-free diet due to gluten intolerance triggered by stress is also a conspiracy against the word ‘wheat’ in the name of my home-town. I could have fun with this, but I have to make dinner sometime.

            • Dave

              It’s not just that he doesn’t agree, but that she has been declared a quack by the Google Magisterium of health. ;-)

          • Dave

            Whoa, that cinches it. If you can do a google search with someone’s name and “quack” and some entries come up…well, there is just no comeback for that.

            “Quack” now seems to be the same as “anathema sit” was 500 years ago, with the minor difference that Google is the Magisterium of Health.

            So part of the review says “The GAPS diet is based on other diets known to help heal the intestine, such as the specific carbohydrate diet and FODMAP diet,” Uhhh, so doesn’t that mean that it works, or at least isn’t completely worthless?

            • HornOrSilk

              No, it is not just because someone says this is quackery, it is the explanation which you can find for why it is erroneous which is important. This is what you and many others keep ignoring. But it’s how quacks get by. People who ignore real science.

    • Joseph

      MadCOMama, you are so wrong about that. There are a vast amount of studies on vaccine safety. The literature has been gathered over many years, since the first vaccines come out. In every case we find that vaccines that are in use are far safer than the disease they fight, because if they are NOT, they are pulled. In fact, 9 out of 10 proposed vaccines never get off the shelf and into the doctors office because of safety concerns. I put it to you this way: In our society would any industry expose itself to massive legal risks from putting out a dangerous vaccine?

  • Bryan

    As a few others on this thread have pointed out, there are actually serious moral concerns for faithful Catholics with respect to several of the most popular vaccines in use today, because the vaccines in question are derived by using cell lines from electively aborted human babies. I’m talking about the Hepatitis-A, Chickenpox, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccinations, which are all derived from aborted human fetal tissue, and in the U.S. there are currently no available alternative vaccines derived in a morally acceptable manner for the last four vaccines mentioned. You may view a document on this important topic here: http://www.cogforlife.org/catholicguide.pdf . There is also a broader list of the vaccines that are currently derived aborted human fetal tissue, including the vaccine manufacturer, and alternative ethical vaccines (where available) which you may see here: http://www.cogforlife.org/vaccineListOrigFormat.pdf . So this is hardly a trivial issue for Catholics who are truly seeking to be faithful to the Church’s teaching concerning respect for human life, and to me this is one of those case-in-point examples, if there ever was one, where the principle of “good ends don’t justify intrinsically evil means” soundly applies – and there have been a lot of posts about this principle on Mark’s blog recently, so I hope he will take this into serious consideration in his analysis of the matter. I would encourage every Catholic here to reflect seriously on this issue, and to contact your legislators and local medical agencies and demand for vaccines to be made available that aren’t derived from aborted human fetal tissue. This should be a non-negotiable issue for all Catholics.

    • HornOrSilk

      Have you read the Vatican’s declarations on this issue? Go read it! Here is a good analysis:

      http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0504240.htm

      • Bryan

        Some key phrases from that article:

        “[T]he Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life reaffirmed a person’s right to abstain from receiving vaccines that were prepared from cells derived from aborted fetuses, but it said such a choice must be made after carefully considering whether refusing the vaccination would pose serious health risks to the child and the
        larger public.”

        The first part of that sentence is important. Yes, the considerations of serious health risks to the child and the public at large must be weighed; that doesn’t change the first part of the sentence which ultimately reaffirms a parent’s right at the end of the day, after these considerations are taken into account, to conscientously refuse to obtain a vaccine derived from aborted human fetal tissue if it is unbearable to their conscience to accept such a vaccine. When one stops to consider that most of the U.S. population is vaccinized and will likely continue to be in the future (including most Catholics), I would contend that the large-scale effect on public health due to a tiny percentage of conscientious Catholics refusing the vaccine for the moral concerns cited is negligible. It sounds to me like the Vatican ultimately leaves this as a matter of individual conscience, provided prudential judgment is made in reaching the decision to accept or refuse the vaccination. Yes, given the present state of affairs, according to the Vatican paper, it CAN be morally licit for parents to obtain vaccines for themselves and their child that have been derived from aborted fetal cell lines where no ethical alternatives are available, but the paper does not by any means condemn the actions of those who would still at the end of the day refuse the vaccine because of the immoral manner by which the vaccine was created. At least that’s my interpretation of the article.

        With that said, we should couple this with another key passage of that article which stood out to me:

        “Msgr. Suaudeau said the paper urged people to lobby ‘and push government and health officials’ to get alternative, effective vaccines on the U.S. market so Catholics would not be forced to ‘act against their conscience’ if they are to safeguard their children’s health.”

        Which is completely in line with what I said in my post above that we as Catholics need to use every legal avenue and legitimate lobbying tool available to us and demand that ethically derived versions of these vaccines be made available here in the U.S. As faithful Catholics, regardless of how far removed we are from the material cooperation with evil in this situation, we should not be content to merely “just deal with it” and maintain the status quo, we should be unceasing in demanding to our elected officials and the medical industry that the status quo be changed, and ethical vaccines be made available as soon as possible, rather than later. To be forced to accept morally illicit vaccines for the long term without any prospect of being able to obtain morally acceptable alternatives is ultimately ubearable for those who wish to be faithful Catholics, and violates the natural law and the gift of conscience given to us by God.

        I still say this is a posterchild case scenario that goes directly back to some of Mark’s earlier posts about how “illicit means can never justify a good end”, something I wish Mark would address here, for the sake of consistency. Using aborted human fetal tissue to create a vaccine or medical remedy of any kind, regardless of how many lives it saves, is never morally acceptable. It is a form of human cannibalism if ever there was, as far as I can see it, for us to continue accepting and using these vaccines. I fail to see how accepting and using these illicitly-derived vaccinations doesn’t directly conflict with the principle of “illicit means don’t justify a good end.” Again, this is where I would welcome some input from Mark.

  • Dave

    I may as well go all-in and expose myself as a nut. We go to a naturopath. Haven’t seen a “regular” doctor in years. One of my kids had asthma. Naturopath tested him, said it was because of the pertussis vaccine. He used a homeopathic product which deals with the effects of vaccines. The asthma went away. Another had allergies and unexplained rashes, allegedly due to vaccines. Gone. We know other people who have allergies and other problems, allegedly due to vaccines, and were similarly helped by him. (No, he doesn’t say all, or even most, problems are related to vaccines.)

    Now, could the naturopathic doctor be wrong about the reason for these problems being the vaccines? Certainly. But, he DID make the problems go away, so I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, and either way, I’m happy because my kids feel so much better.

    • HornOrSilk
      • Dave

        What part of “my kids feel so much better” do you not understand? My wife is also feeling a lot better after a trail of “symptom suppression” doctors could do NOTHING to help her.

        If you want to think this is all due to placebo effect, fine. I don’t care about your need to keep your point of view from being threatened, because my family feels a lot better!!

        I was once where you are. No hard feelings.

        • Patrick

          Dave, you’ve obviously only been conditioned to THINK that your family feels better by people like Jenny McCarthy. Intelligent people know that you can’t actually feel better unless you follow conventional medical wisdom (brought to us by the same people who brought us thalidomide, Vioxx, Gardasil, etc and the people who, in their day, laughed to scorn the doctor who tried to convince them that washing their hands could save lives). Come back into the light, please.

      • Silly Interloper

        Mr. HornOrSilk, this is a funny exhibit considering your strident position. There are two things that are particularly funny. 1. Do you realize that this man, James Randi, wants to lump homeopathy in with all supernatural ideas, including Catholicism, and he wants to abolish all thought of them? Now, I may be sympathetic with his disdain for homeopathy, but is a man who condemns your church in the same category as his condemnation of homeopathy really the kind of man you want to make your point among Catholics here? The other humorous thing is that he doesn’t even understand what homeopathy is. It’s not diluted remedies as he said, it is diluted agents that are known to activate the symptoms. The man doesn’t even understand the basics of what he is condemning.

        He is a strident ignoramus. Is there a reason you chose him to advocate your view?

    • TKDB

      The power of the placebo effect is not to be underestimated. There’s a reason pharmacological research uses placebo, not total lack of treatment, as the control — because placebos can in fact produce significant and tangible effects.
      And that’s all homeopathic treatments are — placebos. The whole premise of the method rests on the alleged healing properties of what is basically water that may have, possibly, at some point in time, had fleeting contact with a molecule of the thing causing the illness. The concept is nonsensical in the extreme.
      But that doesn’t mean it can’t still work, thanks to the placebo effect. Especially for things like allergy-like symptoms, which can often be stress-related.

      • Stu

        Well, let’s just give everyone placebos and save time and money. :)

      • Dave

        You have no idea. We basically believed in the medical establishment, like everyone else, so if there was a placebo effect to be found, it should have been there, but it didn’t work. We started going to this naturopath, more or less out of desperation after having exhausted other possibilities. Oh, we hoped it would work, but were pretty skeptical, as we had heard all about the quackery, just like everyone else.

        But again, you can believe whatever you want. I’m just happy we are feeling better.

        • Finchster

          Also don’t forget that asthma, allergies, rashes, etc., of their nature come and go, get better or worse over time. People are most likely to seek out quack remedies when the symptoms are at their worst, which is right before they’re about to subside. That’s what’s kept snake oil like copper bracelets or magnets for arthritis going all these years. If you give someone a remedy that you tell them is going to make them better, and they do get better, there is no power in heaven or on earth that’s going to convince them that the remedy isn’t what caused it.

          • Dave

            Again, you have no idea. My son with allergies had them for years – almost constant sniffling and snorting. Interestingly, it all started when he went into kindergarten (he’s in 7th grade now). We thought there must have been something in the classroom. But then, it continued after the school year was over, and into the next year, at a different school. The doctor said it was because of a pertussis vaccine. Sure enough, he had gotten one right before entering kindergarten. Of course, he could have guessed that anyway, but since he got the problem to go away, he gets the benefit of the doubt from me.

            My wife also had not felt well for years. There wasn’t any terrible moment which caused us to panic into quackery. It was just a natural progression of trying to get help for ongoing problems, not getting it, and not giving up even when the remaining options seemed “quackish.”

          • Joseph

            Finchster, thanks for pointing that out. I would like to add this: The claims that vaccines cause autism, while mistaken, persist because the symptoms of autism generally express themselve about the age that most children are vaccinated.
            Correlation doesn’t equal causation.

            • Michael C

              Joseph, how do you know that the claims that vaccines cause autism are “mistaken”? I have done considerable research and have only found studies that indicate that there is insufficient evidence to prove that one possible mechanism by which vaccines may cause autism, mercury, is the culprit. Those studies, and none that I am aware of, rule out any of the several other possible mechanisms, including aluminum (a neurotoxin as strong as mercury) and contamination by fetal DNA material — just two of many. Again, if you could provide references or links to any such studies, it would be a great public service.

        • Zippy

          The medical establishment is treated very much like a modern priesthood rather than simply professionals providing domain expertise that you, as decision maker, can tap in order to make better decisions – yourself – about your health. Frequently the things doctors do are quite harmful, and even fatal — this has happened within my personal sphere numerous times.

          They are also frequently life saving — so you have no choice but to educate yourself and make your own decisions the best you can, and learn how to say “no” and be thought a kook, because you cannot trust that industrial medicine will act in your best interests any more than you can trust that Wal Mart or Halliburton will act in your best interests.

          Once people realize that they often go to witch doctors (e.g. homeopaths) instead, in the hope that the True Faith resides there. But things are worse than they appear, because the medical establishment is extremely dysfunctional, on the one hand; and yet at the same time there is no substitute place to go for “health security”. There is no medical True Faith.

          As Morpheus said to Neo, “welcome to the real world”.

      • Dr. Eric

        Most homeopathic products don’t come close to the ridiculous dilution of the so called strongest remedies. Many of them do contain the mineral or herb that they’re supposed to contain.

  • Evan

    Well, I *thought* I was pro-vaccination, but after reading the comments here and in the last post, I’m agreeing more with the “nuts.” I’ve always thought most vaccines were good and supported getting them (especially MMR, polio, meningitis, etc.), but I also respect a parent’s decision if they believe that a vaccine would do more harm than good to their child based on family history, religious beliefs, or whatever.

    The two vaccines that I refuse to receive are: chicken pox (because it’s made with cells from aborted fetuses, and I do not believe the risk of chicken pox is remotely great enough to justify getting it) and influenza (because of a bad family history with this vaccine – my great grandmother, who was very healthy, got the vaccine, a week later got a severe case of the flu, and a month later died from it.)

    The comments that are really annoying the shit out of me are the ones that say: “Even if you believe that the risks of a vaccine outweigh the benefits for you and your children, you still need to get it, because you have an obligation to help form herd immunity.” The Vatican says it is morally acceptable to refuse vaccinations as long as there is no significant risk to the population’s health. Like it or not, what constitutes a “significant risk” is open to some interpretation. Saying someone should violate their conscience and endanger their health and the health of their family so the herd will survive is Darwinism and Consequentialism pure and simple.

    • HornOrSilk

      If there is no RISK to the populations’ health. THAT is the point. When there IS a risk, as is often the case, then this libertarian “I am an individual apart from society” is a sin.

      It’s amazing how people quickly bring in subjective relativism “everyone disagrees, who is to say which is good or not?” into the equation. It shows how un-Catholic this line of thinking really is.

      • Patrick

        You keep using that word ‘libertarian’. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • Evan

        Of course we should always keep the good of society in mind. But if a parent truly believes that it would be healthier for their own children not to receive a certain vaccination, I think we should respect that decision. Not every medicine works for every person.

        As someone who has had bad allergies all my life, I have ended up trying allergy medicines that only made my symptoms much worse and then had to overdose on Benadryl to undo the effects of the original medicine I had taken. As a result, I carefully research any medicine or vaccine before I take it.

        I don’t think it is libertarian or individualistic to conclude that a certain vaccine would do more harm than good for oneself or for one’s children, and that harm would be a greater risk to society than not getting vaccinated. However, in most cases (roughly 95%) I believe getting vaccinated is the moral and healthy thing to do.

  • EMS

    I find the vaccination arguments akin to problems with penicillin. Some people can’t take penicillin; some have even died from getting it. But do we really want to go back to a world without penicillin or antibotics? People used to die daily from infections we shrug off today. Smallpox killed millions of people, polio killed or crippled millions. All in the days before vaccinations. Ditto other diseases. My brother nearly died from whooping cough when he was 3 months old back 50 years ago. He lived but his near death nearly destroyed my mother’s health and sanity. We’re lucky to live in an age where there are ways to prevent diseases that used to kill millions. Are there side effects to vaccines? Yes. There are side effects from any drug or even foods that we take. There is no way to make anything that is 100% safe for everyone. Nothing in life is 100% safe. But the consequences of not using the vaccines that have virtually eliminated diseases that once killed millions of children and adults is worse than the very limited possibility that an adult or child will have a rare side effect to them.

    • Zippy

      Is anyone suggesting “going back to a world with no vaccines”? Maybe some really fringe lunatics are — you can almost always find someone on the far end of any issue on the Internet.

      But in general this seems like a big fat straw man.

      • Joseph

        Zippy, there are a LOT of fools in this world. There are many people who have jumped on the anti-vaxx bandwagon and who would gladly stop all vaccines.
        This refusal to use common sense has lead to a resurgance in measles and whooping cough in particular. If continued we can expect to see polio and diptheria roaring back.

    • Joseph

      EMS, you make a good point. I do not want to live in a world where smallpox and polio run rampant. Even measle often cited by some as a “natural” way to build your immune system) blinds and kills with monotonous regularity in those areas where people don’t have vaccines.
      Oh, one other thing:
      If you get a viral disease that you could have prevented don’t expect the modern arsenal of antibiotics to cure it. Antibiotics work on bacteria, not on viruses.

  • Patrick

    If anyone is interested in how genetically modified foods, substantial increase in the level of electromagnetic fields we are exposed to daily (wifi, cell phones, cordless phones, etc), high levels of hormones in animal meat, high levels of hormones in the water supply from birth control pills, gut flora, and modern numbers and ingredients of vaccines (along with countless other variables not mentioned here) all work together to possibly produce health issues, please stop questioning the Priesthood of Conventional Medical Wisdom. We have already reached the zenith of knowledge of how the human body works; there is nothing to see here. I know this because HornOrSilk has a time machine.

  • Dave

    IMO, the bottom line, as is usual in the history of science, is that most of the real science is being done outside the realm of what is currently the theory in vogue. Because those who are convinced that we already know almost everything don’t really tend to learn much.

    Today’s quacks, in at least some cases, are tomorrow’s Nobel Prize winners.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Might we bring up the Galileo affair here? It wasn’t a case of rational science -vs- religious superstition, as common “wisdom” tells us. It was a case of a new scientific theory (heliocentrism) being rejected not just by the Church but by the scientific establishment of the day. The Church wasn’t being anti-science; rather her view was in line with the general scientific consensus at the time, which was geocentric.

      Many scientists back then thought that Galileo was jumping to conclusions that were not supported by the facts. And the known facts at the time did not conclusively prove heliocentrism; it would be quite a while before that happened – long after Galileo death. Now we know that he was basically correct and the scientific establishment of his day was mistaken.

      That wasn’t the last time that science was slow to recognize new ideas and discoveries that seriously challenged established beliefs. Scientists with new theories are often brutally ridiculed during their lifetimes, until a new generation of scientists comes along and says, “Hey, there might be something to this after all.” Science has done a lot of good for humanity, but it’s not perfect.

      • Patrick

        Might we bring up the Ignac Semmelweis affair here? He tried in vain to convince people that washing their hands would save lives. HornOrSilk, in a previous life as August Breisky, an obstetrician in Prague, rejected Semmelweis’s book as “naive” and he referred to it as “the Koran of puerperal theology”.

    • HornOrSilk

      So, that means tomorrow the world might turn out to be flat and on the back of a turtle after all?

      Seriously, everyone knows the history of science and the way things develop. This is just another way quacks, like scientology, go about getting suckers. “Well, you know they said X, X turned out to be bad, therefore listen to me with my radical suggestion.” The thing is, often why it is wrong can be discerned, and the quackery provides illogical explanations which do not hold with what is possible.

      • Dave

        I’m not sure what scientology has to do with this. That isn’t science at all – it’s more like a new age religion. If my naturopath says anything that doesn’t make sense, I’ll be sure to take note and ask questions, but until then as long as our health keeps improving, I’m a satisfied customer.

        • Joseph

          Dave, I share your bewilderment. While I dislike scientology in general, using them as a bugbear isn’t a reasonable argument. I may argue with you, but I’d prefer to keep it to the facts.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        As far as I know, there are no scientologists on this forum, so why do you keep invoking that? This is basically the “guilt by association as an ad hominem fallacy.” Dave makes claims about science that are (supposedly) also made by scientologists, therefore Dave is just as bad as a scientologist. That’s a logical fallacy and, once again, it really doesn’t help your overall argument.

        • HornOrSilk

          It’s not guilt by association. It’s the source of a lot of the anti-vaccination junk on the net. And so you have to understand, even if the person here is not a scientologist, a foundation of their ideas and rejection of modern medicine is from such a source. It’s tracing back to where the ideas come from.

          It’s all the same snake oil. And a lot of people on here are being taken in without understanding the foundational rot. And will be taken in with the snake oil responses to justify their rot. That’s the problem.

          • Dave

            I’m confused here. Exactly what is quackery? Principles of acupuncture? Chinese Medicine? Homeopathy? I’m pretty sure that none of that came from scientology, and one can evaluate those ideas without rejecting modern medicine.

            My critique of modern medicine in a nutshell is that their early success with antibiotics led them to think there’s a chemical magic bullet for every disease, and it just isn’t the case, but they keep plowing ahead with that idea. I personally was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which I don’t even have (I’ll spare you the details) and put on worse and worse stuff (yes, including Vioxx at one point) until I realized they had no solutions other than throwing drugs full of side-effects at me. In a lot of cases, they don’t even know the mechanisms of action of certain drugs. I felt like a guinea pig. Heck, I was a guinea pig. I got off all of the drugs, and I feel better than I ever did on all of those drugs, mostly because I tried one simple supplement, magnesium.

            • Patrick

              Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Obviously you were just influenced by Scientology infomercials that mentioned magnesium, you pathetic weak snake oil drinker. Who are you to know whether you feel better than you did on Establishment Approved Healing Capsules?

      • Dave

        I don’t dispute that there are real quacks. As long as one applies the same amount of skepticism to those making the claim of “quack” as one does to the alleged quack, I don’t have a problem with what you are saying.

        Our health is our responsibility, and thus we have to look for those that can help us, with appropriate caution, of course.

    • Joseph

      I agree that we need research. But the current research supports vaccines to an overwhelming degree. “Alternative” medicine? Before I accept it I want to see research that proves the alternative: Is effective. Is safe. (The safety record of vaccines is remarkable, and for those who troll this comment, for every NN.com study you cite to “prove” me wrong I can cite over a hundred to disprove your point.) I also want to know how it works, what it does.
      And before you ask, yes, we need research on making better, safer vaccines as well. That research is ongoing and should be continued; as yet there isn’t a “perfect” vaccine. The ones we have are far safer than the disease risks, and I am not alone in saying:

      Get vaccinated. Vaccinate your children.

      Joseph

      • Michael C

        Joseph, since you are up on the subject, please provide references or links to the studies where both the long-term and cumulative effects of the current children’s vaccine schedule have been thoroughly tested. It would be a great public service and would address the concerns of many parents who are skeptical about vaccines.

  • Patrick

    Some interesting information / history that helps explain why it is not complete foolishness to question the omniscience of Modern Medicine:

    http://mises.org/daily/1547

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ Scott W.

    Apparently we could use a vaccine against watching TV and giving a flying flip who is on The View.

    • Sus_1

      Best comment here!

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      I have natural immunity. I only care what happens to The Doctor.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Heck, I have an allergy to The View, and never cared much for Jenny McCarthy either.

  • obpoet

    Yet doctors are adivising patients to not vaccinate because herd immunity will protect their kids and they can avoid vaccine worries. I wonder what they say when the child contracts the virus, and gets seriously ill or dies? This is actually being touted by pediatricians, especially in California. But look at the AAP, brilliant lot they are.

  • Michael C

    Mark, you are astonished because 1) you appear not to have researched this issue for yourself thoroughly, 2) you have a habit of taking what medical doctors say at face value without imagining that you might to need to question all the assumptions they are making.

    My (very partial) answer to your doctor friend is this: I have seen bright, precocious, loving, sociable and affectionate children lost, overnight, into a fog of autism from which they never fully recover – immediately after having received an MMR vaccination. Every time I read of a whooping cough outbreak I research further and consistently find that 1) many, and sometimes more than half, of the people affected had their vaccinations for pertussis, and 2) the children that die all have some special circumstances — in the case of a recent outbreak in California, most of the deaths had occurred in children who had been premies and the rest occurred in children living in a migrant farm workers camp.

    • HornOrSilk

      Here we go with conspiracy theories with poor logic again.

      • Michael C

        “Conspiracy theories” require allegations of 1) conspirators, 2) conspiring. I alleged neither. You assert “poor logic.” What are my logical errors?

        • HornOrSilk

          Just start with post hoc ergo propter hoc. Enough nonsense.

          • Patrick

            YES!!! It had been a while since the last PHEPC. I was getting worried.