Wednesday, July 27, 2011

For the People or For the Person?

One of the arguments that I hear fairly often regarding the recommended childhood vaccinations is that the government has no right to force someone to undergo a medical intervention or procedure, that personal liberties trump concerns about public health. This got me wondering how those who are opposed to vaccines in some regard and believe that vaccines should not be "forced" upon people feel about how the government should respond to someone who has a highly communicable disease.

So for them, I have a couple questions:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Disease Burdens More Than Just the Patient

Often, when we talk about infectious diseases and outbreaks, the focus tends to be on those who got sick: the symptoms they experienced, how likely they might have been to infect others and so forth. We may talk about whether or not they were vaccinated, what complications they may have suffered and the costs that they bore through lost work/school days or how much treatment cost. Only occasionally do people think about the effects of an infection or outbreak on the government. After all, infections only have a direct impact on the person who has the disease and maybe those around them, right? How could a disease have any significant impact on a government. They're big, faceless things that just kind of exist in the background, except when there's a problem or it's election season.

The fact of the matter is, outbreaks of infectious disease actually have quite an impact on governments, particularly local ones. As just one example, I recently received the following from an anonymous reader:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

An argument that is heard with near light speed rapidity in discussions of anti-vaccine sentiments is "I'm not anti-vaccine. I'm pro-safe vaccine." This typically comes either immediately following or preceding a diatribe about how evil and dangerous vaccines are. The speaker/author generally declaims how every vaccine is dangerous and God forbid they should ever subject their child to such monstrous poisons (in their eyes). Present them with a series of vaccines and, more likely than not, they will describe some issue which, in their opinion, makes the vaccine "not safe," rendering it anathema. While they are not, in their words, "anti-vaccine," they are "anti-all-currently-used-vaccines."

Whatever. Tomato, tomahto. I'm not going to argue semantics. Instead, I'm issuing a challenge to anyone who says they are "not anti-vaccine, but pro-safe vaccine" (as if those who support vaccines are pro-dangerous vaccine). It is really a simple thing: don't just talk the talk; walk the walk.