How Vaccine Mandates Put Vulnerable People’s Health And Lives At Risk

Posted on May 10, 2017 in Medical Rewind

Several years ago, I began to recognize treadmills. Not the ones at the gym—I’m talking  about lifestyle treadmills: the paths we take in life based upon well-established social and institutional norms. These are the paths we rarely question because, well, “everyone does it.”

We stepped off the public education treadmill in 2011, when we began homeschooling. We exited the convenience treadmill a few years later when we moved from an established neighborhood to a farm in a small town 25 miles away. And that move got us off our next treadmill.

Once we lived miles from our regular physicians and weren’t required to be “current” on vaccinations, we simply didn’t make doctors’ appointments. Other than a rotten appendix, none of us have been sick enough in the five years since our move to warrant a visit, but I digress.

Health Care Has Become a Treadmill

I was born in 1962, just seven years after Jonas Salk’s discovery became available for public use—a time which could be referred to as the “decade of vaccines.”

My parents told stories of swimming pool hysteria, iron lungs, and classmates who suffered the effects of polio. Measles was killing children polio wasn’t, rubella was causing miscarriages and birth defects, and the mumps vaccine had just been improved. My sister and I were vaccinated for them all individually before the combined MMR vaccine came to market in the 1970s, and my parents were very grateful for that opportunity.

The peace of mind brought by vaccine science and antibiotics elevated the practice of medicine. If you got sick, you went to the doctor. You received some kind of pill you took until you felt better, no matter how many were left in the bottle (see antibiotic resistance).

Homeopathic remedies began to look like more like witchcraft, compared with the success and ease of modern medicine. It was easier to take prescription medications than to ride out their inconveniences or research other methods of treatment.

But today, the pendulum is swinging back. With Obamacare and the associated gargantuan rise in health care costs, many citizens are being forced to pay attention to their personal health, contributing to a rise in alternative medicine. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, nearly 40 percent of the US adult population used some kind of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in 2008, including diet-based therapies, massage or acupuncture, and/or natural products and supplements such as herbs and essential oils.

Is it unbelievable then, that parents would begin to question the safety, efficacy and necessity of their child’s vaccinations as well?

Why Would Anyone Question Vaccines?

When my biological kids were born (and after our adopted children became American citizens and Oklahoma residents), their pediatrician gave them the standard CDC vaccination protocol corresponding to their year of birth (20022004). Though the large number of syringes on the nurse’s tray being emptied into chunky little thighs and arms made me nervous—I knew of the possibility for vaccine injury—I never really questioned the process. I had carefully interviewed the physician who would be their pediatrician. I believed I had done my due diligence.

Every year, the kids had their well-baby visits and were given booster vaccinations as necessary.

Once school aged, in order to be enrolled in their zip-code-assigned public school, state law required them to be current on their vaccination schedule. This included vaccines for chicken pox (Varicella), Hepatitis A and B.

Although I was conditioned to accept the Polio, MMR, and DPT vaccines, these additions had always frustrated me. From 1997 to 1999, I was employed as an epidemiologist with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. During that time, the state was becoming convinced of the need to require Varicella and Hep A vaccinations for children.

We epidemiologists (in charge of studying disease outbreaks) often discussed the very rare percentages of children and/or adults experiencing severe reactions from either Varicella or Hep A (mainly the immunocompromised and elderly), and it made little sense to me that the state should suddenly decide to force vaccinations for these diseases on children as a necessity to attend school.

 It still doesn’t—and here’s why.