A final bit more on the vaccination thing

A final bit more on the vaccination thing August 1, 2013

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.

And still another reader writes to say that in parts of the Islamic world, Muslims are actually killing people seeking to vaccinate people against easily preventable diseases.

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).

But for all that, I find it hard to argue with the elimination of polio, smallpox and whooping cough as major diseases. And as a total lay newbie, discovering this controversy as I might stumble into the granularities of a quarrel between partisans regarding almost any other controversy of which I know nothing and have no expertise, I have a frank and open bias toward people who have years of formal training over people who don’t. Given the interwebz amazing facility for turning Anybody with a Keyboard into instant experts on medicine, criminal law, moon landings, global warming, and all sorts of other fields of expertise that you used to have to go to college to have competence in, I remain extremely leery of confident pronouncements that veer too far from a) what a trained pediatrician says and/or b) what the Pontifical Academy for Life says. I don’t consider Jenny McCarthy or Michelle Bachmann reliable experts, nor am I super inclined to pay overmuch attention to anybody beyond the Pedes guy and the PAFL in my comboxes (I only skimmed the huge wave of responses). For myself, I deliberately sought a DPT shot last year when there was an outbreak of whooping cough in the area, partly because respiratory illnesses hit me particularly hard, partly because I have a friend who got it and wouldn’t wish it on her worst enemy, and partly because I couldn’t live with myself if I caught it and gave it to Lucy the Cuteness, who could die from 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.

"So saving mothers from having a baby is health care? Makes more sense to let ..."

A reader is looking for a ..."
"God bless Mr. Trump - he may well end up saving tens of millions of ..."

A reader is looking for a ..."
"Thank God we have politicians like Donald Trump who never gave up trusted in Jesus ..."

A reader is looking for a ..."
"Dang, you are wrong again..........looks like the court will throw abortion back to the states ..."

A reader is looking for a ..."

Browse Our Archives