I'm starting to think that getting bogged down in the risks-v.-benefits discussion is a poor way to frame the vaccine debate. I start to yawn and rub my eyes when an argument disintegrates into A) Here's what VAERS and VICP say. B) But ANYONE can report to VAERS and cause isn't correlation with VICP (I address both of these responses here: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1386301/anyone-can-report-to-vaers ) C) But the package inserts . . . D) Manufacturers are making that up just so they CYA and don't get sued . . . . (I addressed this one here http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1386888/facts-and-data-please-tort-claims-for-vaccine-injury ) and cause-isn't-correlation and sorry-for-your-loss-but and blah, blah, blah.
But here's the deal. I don't argue for my right to choose based on whether something is safe or dangerous. I argue because wherever the risk is mine, the choice needs to be mine. The more important question: Who has the right to decide which risks and which benefits an individual takes on? The individual adult or child's legal guardian? Or the doctors, public health officials, and legislators? Who gets to make risk-benefit decisions? Who is the ultimate decision-maker?
Opponents of vaccine choice essentially believe that unelected officials from government agencies should be able to mandate any vaccine for any reason without anybody having a non-medical way out. Opponents of home birth say that where there is a (hotly disputed) threefold risk of iatrogenic neonatal mortality, women should be forced to give birth in hospital delivery rooms. But medicine is never black and white, and neither are risks and benefits. So why on earth would I cede over to someone else the choice as to what medical risks I take on for myself or my child? Maybe the argument should be over not the validity of the choices, but who ultimately gets to make them.
As a final note, here's another fascinating article from Reason that proposes a different way to frame the vaccine choice debate ... from a pro-vax M.D., no less. http://reason.com/archives/2013/12/17/vaccination-and-free-choice
"In the 2002 sci-fi noir film Minority Report, PreCrime, a specialized police agency, apprehends people who are forecast to commit crimes. No trial is necessary because the not-yet-committed crime is considered a vision of the future and thus a matter of fact. The film’s plot challenges viewers to consider the issue of free will vs. determinism, and consequently, the morality of punishing someone for a crime not yet committed. It serves as a useful metaphor for the argument against coercive vaccination.
Some argue that mandatory mass vaccination is an act of self-defense, and thus completely compatible with the principles underpinning a free society. Unless people are forcibly immunized, it’s argued, they will endanger the life and health of innocent bystanders. But such a position requires infallible precognition."
He's responding to Ronald Bailey, who makes the argument for coercive vaccination. Interestingly, Bailey's rebuttal does nothing to address the aforementioned point.
Oh well, it's late, and I'm tired. :yawn
What are your thoughts on how to make a case for vaccine choice?