Thursday, February 5

The Inconvenient Truth About the Whole Messy Vaccine Debate

As the ongoing measles outbreak continues to rate seemingly endless media coverage, I once again find myself unimpressed. So much sound and fury, so much wasted energy. All because no one wants to talk about the basic, terribly inconvenient truth underpinning the whole hoopla:

In all but the tiniest percentage of cases, vaccination itself isn't what people are opting out of. They're opting out of the (completely arbitrary and unnecessary) system, as it currently exists. Change the unnecessary crap tied into the vaccination system, and the problem all but goes away!

If you genuinely listen to what "anti-vaxxers" actually say, you'll realize that the vast majority aren't against exposing their children to measles, mumps, or rubella as a preventative measure. They protest the way its done - 
  • Vaccinating children at a year old, before their immune systems are fully developed (when they're at a higher risk for everything, and don't yet have all the mechanisms by which vaccines are supposed to work)
  • Exposing children to a three-fold assault (MMR) rather than doing them one at a time
  • Injecting their children with formaldehyde, highly allergenic proteins, and all the other nonsense that gets stuffed into vaccines besides the intended infectious agent 
  • The pressure by medical establishments to regulate what they do, rather than to help them understand the full range of options and select the one that's best for their child, with his/her specific medical history, genetics, and risk factors
There are more, but by now I'm sure you've gotten the picture. Pharmaceutical companies and physicians could nearly eradicate people's motivations for not vaccinating their children through a variety of very simple steps: reformulating vaccines to remove toxins and potential allergens, offering more vaccines individually so that they can be delivered in staggered doses, and offering parents an opportunity to sit down with their doctor (or PA, RN, etc.) to look at their baby's specific health and risk factors, review the recommended standard for vaccinations, and either decide they're comfortable with or create an alternative schedule together that doesn't put either the infant or others at unnecessary risk.

Why does this happen? Why doesn't it even get mentioned or considered? Money.

Insurance companies don't want to have to pay for extra visits. Pharmaceutical companies don't want to spend the money to reformulate, retool, or otherwise inconvenience themselves. Why bother when they can just whip up hysteria and quietly sit it out?

To their credit, there are already physicians and practices doing this. They tend to be quiet about it, and their clientele tend to be willing to pay more for the options and service, but it is happening. Proof of concept is already among us. We don't have to repeat these media tempests and Facebook hate fests. 

We could do better and, frankly, our children deserve better. We deserve better.

So next time someone posts something vicious online, or plays the blame game, consider gently suggesting that we could get a lot further if we all worked together to channel our frustration where it belongs - at the people who perpetuate this myth of "vaxxers vs anti-vaxxers" - and demand real change where it would make a difference.

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