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Imposed Consequences For Opting Out of Vaccinations?

Imposed Consequences For Opting Out of Vaccinations?

If you have been a new parent over the last two decades, then you have likely wrestled with the vaccine and immunization issue. The issue being the lingering question of how safe are vaccines and how reckless is it to opt out of a prescribed vaccine regimen? Everyone has their own answer to this question, and despite all the evidence for or against vaccination, parents move forward with their decisions with an overwhelming sense of confidence. Unlike a decade or so ago, when questioning the status quo of vaccination moved out of the fringe and became a subject matter for the mainstream, the practice of questioning and opting out of a vaccination regimen has become highly taboo. Any media outlet that is not leaning far to the left, will support the idea that vaccines are relatively, if not wholly, safe and that “VACtavist” (as they call themselves) are misinformed, delusional, and putting the great many of us in peril by not vaccinating their children. After the outing of Dr. Andrew Wakefield with falsification of evidence linking vaccines with autism, the tide has turned against the intrepid “VACtavists” and many concerned parents are feeling not so civil towards the non-vaccinating kind.

People are upset because, even though access to vaccines are widespread in the industrialized world, outbreaks of diseases like measles are still rampant. The World Health Organization reports outbreaks in many countries where vaccination rates have gone down: As of June – France (12,699 cases in 2011, more than in all of 2010 already, including six deaths), Spain (2,261), Italy (1,500), Germany (1,193, one death), Switzerland (580), Romania, Belgium, Denmark, and Turkey. There have already been 550 measles cases in England and Wales this year compared with 33 all of last year, and the U.S. has seen 156 cases as of mid-June, compared to a total of 56 cases per year from 2001-2008. The vaccine faithful are none too pleased about this development, as the thinking goes, one person opting out decreases the immunity of the herd.

The ire and venom being directed at these “VACtavists” is easily channeled as many of them reside in affluent, liberal communities, that are rife with Whole Foods, yoga studios, and a Prius in every driveway (just the kind of liberal stereotype that certain portions of America love to hate). According to an article for Big Think by writer David Ropeik, Marin County, one of the richest and most educated areas in California, had one of the lowest rates of vaccination statewide and the second highest rate of whopping cough. Now whether this is damning evidence enough to turn the conversation against those skeptical of vaccines is another issue, but Ropeik makes a case, not only for vaccination, but for finding a solution to this “health crisis” by instituting certain incentives/punishments for those who opt out. Ropeik proposes the following:

Perhaps it should be harder to opt out of vaccination. (Twenty-one states allow parents to decline vaccination of their children simply for “philosophical” reasons. 48 allow a religious exemption but few demand documentation from parents to support claims that their faith precludes vaccination.)

Perhaps there should be higher health care/insurance costs for unvaccinated people.

Or we could do it in a positive way, with reduced health care/insurance costs for people who do get vaccinated, ‘healthy behavior’ discounts paid for by what society saves by avoiding the spread of disease.

There could be restrictions on the community/social facilities unvaccinated people can use, or limits on the social activities in which they can participate, like lengthy school trips for kids, etc.

Here’s an idea; vaccination, including boosters, should be required of anyone who wants to work in health care.

For certain, Ropeik, who is neither a doctor, politician, or an enforcer of public policy (many of you may be thankful of this fact) says, “We live in a society; we are all rowing in the boat together,” Ropeik points out. “I’m not calling for more big government. I’m just calling for government to do what it always does when we can’t protect ourselves as individuals.”

Is it fair to take parents to task if they opt out of what is considered the normal vaccine regimen? Do governments and individuals have the right to question parent’s philosophical and/or religious objections to such practices as refusing immunization for their children? Are the health and financial costs associated with non-vaccination enough to warrant an override of certain civil liberties and freedoms? Is this sort enforcement/punishment simply un-American?

Read more: Babies, Children, Family, General Health, Health, Healthy Schools, Parenting at the Crossroads, , , , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

52 comments

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1:07PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

So should I then expect people who opt for vaccinations and conventional medicines who have lowered their immune systems to the point of major allergies, asthma, and a multitude of other health problems to pay higher amounts or be criminally held accountable for the billions of dollars a year that they use in healthcare? Palative care (especially that which ends up in Emerg) of some of the most basic health problems will forever cost way more than controling an outbreak of something.

The world needs a major overhaul. We need to rid it of artificial preservatives, refined sugars, processed foods, genetically altered foods and by-products. We need to be more proactive about our wellbeing. We need to have the healthcare system come together and work with the natural end of things too. Hollistic, homeopathic, allopathic, chiropractic, accupuncture, they are all proven to not only treat major and minor health problems, but to work with your body to increase your immune system and basic functions to keep you from getting ill. 100 years ago we did NOT have the same standard of cleanliness as we do now. Other parts of the world still experiencing these diseases and contagions have a lower standard of cleanliness as well.

Not all the diseases vaccinated for are awful anyways. I had chicken pox. My sister had whooping cough and scarlet fever. Learn how to break a fever naturally or how to properly administer fever reducing medication and most of these basic things won't be a prob

1:14PM PDT on Oct 24, 2011

This is supposed to be a free country. Nobody should have say over whether parents should vaccinate there children or not. I for one have educated myself and no longer get vaccinated and I would not choose to vaccinate my children in the future.

10:22AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

Pharma-backed legislation to allow secret vaccinations of children without parental consent about to become law in California


http://www.naturalnews.com/033629_vaccinations_parental_consent.html

9:09AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

erm this is a horrid issue i wish they where not forced, my son has severe allergic reaction to eggs so every time he has an egg based shot we end up in hospital. But because he has not had a sever enough case of anaphyaxis my son cannot get a waiver! b4 everybody votes to force vaccines on baby's please remember kids have allergys! b4 we inflict our baby with jabs why dont we test are babys immunitys first! i have to move, home school or wait till my son almost dies b4 anybody will possibly hear my crys! i have a 4 month old with no vaccines he is perfect! my 3 year old was already in hospital at 2 months with his first reaction and first steroid injection! please dont attack people who are thinking of there children support the parents with real reasons not to vaccinate! don't judge me for worrying and fighting for choice!

3:07AM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

We have to look at this issue from all angles. A measles epidemic has been spreading throughout France, with over 10,500 reported cases. Before introduction of the vaccine, measles was mostly a childhood disease. It now also afflicts adults and has become more serious. Before launching the vaccination campaign in 1983, children who had measles acquired life-time immunity against the disease. The artifical immunity created by the vaccine is not as long-lasting nor 100% effective. According to recent articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and New England Journal of Medicine, dozens of studies show that cases of measles appear in 80 to 98.7% of vaccinated children. The United States is the only country in the world which recommends vaccinating its children so early in life and with so many doses for a wide variety of diseases. Between the day of birth and age 18, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 70 doses of 16 different vaccines for children. One has to ask whether this might have an influence on the state of immunity and health of our children. The United States has a high infant mortality rate, ranking 37th in the world. Health experts are saying that children will not live as long as their parents. Life expectancy is increasing more slowly than in many other industrialized countries, despite the fact that the U.S. spends the most money on health care per capita in the industralized world.

9:34AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

I am one of those kids that did NOT have any vaccines and guess what I was one of the healthiest kids in school and still am. To the people that talk about the low percentage of problems are you willing to let your child take the fall to save humanity? GIVE ME A BREAK
don't forget to get the frozen dinner out of the freezer or better yet just go eat fast food now there's a good stable diet ,,,NOT! and another thing What and Why would big business be interesting in saving you and your family? Money they all ready have tons and I would love to do a study on how many who run the show actually go get their shots faithfully...try a balance diet oh yea most doctors don't get kick backs from that so if your doctor is driving around in his jag, sucking on Cuban cigars going to the south Hamptons and you are taking your child in for treatments because of the side effects guess what kick backs kick backs kick backs look at the big picture and have you ever noticed that they hate vitamins but don't have a problem taking a B12 shot, or ordering vitamins for cancer and hiv patients hmmm sounds like a double edge sword to me so you go ahead and trust that company that put out million dollar ads and wonder why are children are now allergic to peanut butter and strawberries etc, hmm looks like all the good things in life have to go better stick to those fast food places at least you won't have an allergic reaction to all those wonderful additives, dyes and filler. Are we the Stepford wives

9:28PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

The gold standard, bench mark science has never been done that proves vaccinations actually work, why not? What are they waiting for and what are they afraid of? My guess is they are afraid the science will fail and they will lose a lot of money, power and reputation?

They say we should just trust and have faith that they will work and not harm us. Does that sound like science to you, it sounds like religion to me?

Some people say we should be forced to have them or face Imposed Consequences. That sounds like a big fat goose stepping, Nazi, Fascist idea to me and we thought we destroyed the Third Rich? Hitler must be giggling in hell over these people.

What I say is if you want to go down and get your vaccination fine go ahead and get it and force your family to as well if you like. Just don’t tell me that my family or I have to submit to vaccination or face Imposed Consequences. Because I will definitely tell you where you can put your Imposed Consequences and your goose stepping boots. Doc Blake

8:50PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Here is a Doctor whose word we can trust on this subject. Dr Robert Mendelsohn, M.D.
Associtae Professor of Pediatrics University of Illinois College of Medicine, President of the National Health Federation, Chairman of the Medical Licensing Comittee of the State of Illinois, appeared on over 500 television and radio talk shows, and is the author of Confessions of a Medical Heretic, Male Practice: How Doctors Manipulate Women, and How To Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor

"There has never been a single vaccine in this country that has ever been submitted to a controlled scientific study. They never took a group of 100 people who were candidates for a vaccine, gave 50 of them a vaccine and left the other 50 alone, and measured the outcome. And since that's never been done, that means if you want to be kind, you will call vaccines an unproven remedy. If you want to be accurate you will call people who give vaccines quacks."
Robert S. Mendelsohn MD, Pediatrician, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Illinios, College of Medicine

Doc Blake

2:31PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

I think there should be consequences for opting out of a vaccination that would otherwise be required. No, vaccines do not cause autism. Wakefield's research has been shown to be fraudulant, and a 1 in 110 rate is still only around 1% of the population. While every medical procedure does have serious risks, such serious risks are extremely rare.

That said, I do think it would be wise if the technology was developed to test for your risk of suffering a serious side effect. Serious risks are rare, but that's little comfort for those rare people who do suffer vaccine injuries. That way someone who is genuinely at risk of suffering a vaccine injury can opt out. But that's the only time I can see a legitimate reason to let someone opt out of a vaccination.

But I do not see it as an intrusion of privacy to require a vaccine. Federal law forces us to feed, clothe, and educate our children. So why isn't requiring a preventative vaccination any different? It is not a step towards fascism; there is an entire body of case law and constitutional law that would prevent that.

12:48PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

I think punitive action should be taken against parents who don't vaccinate their kids and put both their kids and the public in danger. They should definitely pay higher health insurance rates. The vaccinations should be required for all who work in health care and I am not opposed to barring entry to public facilities for unvaccinated people. Wake up people and protect your kids!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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