This may be of interest to some folks: Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses from the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Also, a reader writes to say:
I appreciate you posting your comments on the efficacy and importance of vaccines. I find it particularly disturbing that among committed Catholics there seems to be a higher prevalence of ant-vaccine ideology. I will admit I have not done a careful study so perhaps it is just that among committed Catholics the anti-vaccine folks represents particularly vocal subset. However, an important additional piece of information of which you might not be aware. The original study linking vaccine’s to Autism was published in a 1998 issue of the Lancet. In 2010 the Lancet took the unprecedented step of retracting the article. Part of the reason for this retraction was that Dr. Wakefield’s study was based on fraudulent data and was funded in part by Trial Lawyers looking to sue vaccine manufacturers. See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/health/research/03lancet.html?_r=0
Take a moment to think about that. The study was not retracted because it was conducted in error or more recent research suggests the methodology was flawed. The determined the study was fraudulent. Even worse, this fraud was perpetrated in part by trial lawyers looking to make money off lawsuits. As a result dozens if not hundreds of babies have died because their parents believe this fraudulent study. As such, I feel intense outrage (directed at Dr. Wakefield and his corrupt associates) whenever I hear of parents risking their children’s lives by not vaccinating them against preventable and deadly diseases.
Another reader send along this link to Voices for Vaccines.
Are there moral issues? Of course. As the Moral Reflections document makes clear there are issues surrounding the origin of some vaccines. And for all I know there may be side effects to various vaccines, as my Pediatrician doc mentioned yesterday. And yeah, as my pal Zippy points out: “Yeah, it is almost as controversial as breastfeeding. With better reasons though — it really has saved countless lives, and it really does have its individual downsides, it really is big business + big government, etc etc.” Most of all, I’m now aware that vaccination is a Thing–and a Thing that engenders such strong feeling since it hits on all the “You are a Bad Parent who is Trying to Destroy the Life of Your Innocent Child” raw nerves (whether one supports vaccination or has reservations about it).
Main takeaway for me: there are whole worlds of controversy in which I am a babe in the woods. As a rule, I defer to the experts in such cases.
Main takeaway for some of my readers: do not interpret my astonishment at the passion over this (and, I am told, breastfeeding) as somehow my being angry or hurt. It really was just surprise. I told a friend I felt like a guy taking a stroll in a summer wood who comes around a large tree to find myself suddenly at Little Round Top, caught between a charging Confederate force and the troops of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, laying down deadly fire. It was startling. But I had no idea I was in a war zone and was just bemused at it all. I can see (now) how the subject can stir passions. But my passion remain mostly unstirred since the discussion is almost entirely academic, not personal, for me. Apologies to anybody I have offended.