Should Vaccines Be Mandatory? Experts Pick Sides
From a fear of needles to concerns over autism and even government mind control, the small percentage of Americans who shy away from vaccinations for themselves and their children each year certainly have their reasons. Some even justify the choice with supposed financial responsibility, as if a $40 flu shot is really going to break the bank.
But that’s faulty logic, at least financially. For one thing, the best credit cards can pay for more than 15 flu shots with their initial bonuses alone. Even more importantly, people who fail to get their vaccinations cost the country over $7 billion per year in lost productivity and medical treatments, according to a new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
That said, we’ll stick to helping you reach Top WalletFitness and leave the medical advice to the experts. We invited a panel of leading experts in healthcare, biotechnology and public policy to tell us what they think. We asked them a very simple question – should people get vaccinated – and received a wide range of wonderful responses, including 8 Yeses and 15 Nos. You can check them out below and share your thoughts on this important issue in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.
Why Vaccines Should Be Mandatory
- "Most vaccine-preventable diseases maintain themselves in nature through a continuous chain of person-to-person transmission. When a transmitting case comes in contact with an immune person, the chain is broken. The higher the immunity in the population, the less likely a transmitting case will find a susceptible person and the chain of transmission will be broken (i.e., infection will die out), even if the entire population is not immune."
Walter A Orenstein // Emory Vaccine Center
- “I don't believe all vaccines should be mandatory in all circumstances for all people. However, vaccines should be mandatory in some situations, for some people to participate in some public and professional activities. If an individual's participation in a particular activity places other members of the public in danger for an infection, then the vaccine, to prevent that infection, should be required if the individual desires to participate in the activity. For example, children who want to attend child care centers should be required to get all age appropriate vaccines. Same for school age children, if they want to attend out of home schools.”
Mobeen H. Rathore // University of Florida College of Medicine
- “Since the days of early death from vaccine-preventable diseases are so far removed, we forget that these illnesses were once referred to as scourges due to the widespread loss of life they left in their wake. We don’t have babies with blindness from congenital measles; we no longer need polio pools in hospitals; and we don’t see pandemics of deadly diseases such as small pox. We feel a sense of security. We begin to parse details. Very small or theoretical risks impact our decisions around vaccination. … As states have allowed for refusal of vaccinations based on personal choice exemptions, we see less awareness and responsibility to the public health and resurgence of diseases like measles causing mini-epidemics. As the numbers of vaccination declinations increase, more disease will inevitably follow.”
Elaine Cox // Indiana University School of Medicine
Vaccines are some of the best means we have of preventing serious infectious diseases and their complications. As a result of widespread use of vaccines in the United States, many vaccine-preventable diseases of childhood have been reduced by 98% or more, compared to pre-vaccine era levels.
What are vaccines and how do vaccines work? Vaccines are either whole killed germs (bacteria or viruses), parts of the surfaces of those germs, live germs that have been weakened so they do not cause serious diseases, or toxins that bacteria produce that have been modified so they no longer are poisons. The goal of vaccination is to give the immune system practice so that it is ready to recognize and destroy the real germs, if there is exposure, before those germs can cause disease. In essence, a vaccine induces immunity to the germ. Before a vaccine is licensed and recommended, it goes through years and years of testing to assure it is both safe and effective.
But vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations save lives. And vaccines that remain in the vial are 0% effective, no matter what their potential for preventing disease is.
Most vaccine-preventable diseases are known as “person-to-person” spread diseases. An infected individual finds a susceptible person and transmits the infection. After a period during which the germ reproduces, the newly infected person becomes contagious and then transmits the germ to another susceptible. Thus, most vaccine-preventable diseases maintain themselves in nature through a continuous chain of person-to-person transmission. When a transmitting case comes in contact with an immune person, the chain is broken. The higher the immunity in the population, the less likely a transmitting case will find a susceptible person and the chain of transmission will be broken (i.e., infection will die out), even if the entire population is not immune. This concept is known as “herd immunity” or “community protection”.
When high levels of vaccination are reached in a community, levels of herd immunity can be attained to prevent transmission of a germ if it is introduced. In this way, high levels of vaccination directly protect those who are vaccinated. But they indirectly protect those who are not and cannot be vaccinated because they will not be exposed to the infectious germ. For example, children who have compromised immune systems cannot be vaccinated against measles. These individuals are indirectly protected when almost everyone around them is vaccinated. When that happens, the immune compromised persons are not exposed to measles.
This is where mandates come in. Most vaccines protect not only the individual vaccinated but also the community. When persons are intentionally not vaccinated, not only is their health potentially compromised but so is that of persons who cannot be vaccinated and who in fact may be at greater risk of complications from the disease than the general population. School mandates assure that population immunity for diseases like measles is high enough to prevent outbreaks. When a child is vaccinated, that vaccination is not only good for the child but for the community as well. A choice not to vaccinate puts not only the child at risk of a vaccine-preventable disease but the community as well. Thus, the community has a stake in assuring high levels of vaccine-induced immunity.
All school laws are state-based and tailored to the specific state. All laws allow children with legitimate medical contraindications to not be vaccinated. School vaccination laws have been upheld in multiple courts including the US Supreme Court. Prior to the enactment and enforcement of school laws, the nation was plagued by large outbreaks of infectious diseases such as measles. School laws have played a major role in the termination of indigenous transmission of measles in the United States and bringing us to record or near record lows for most of the other vaccine-preventable diseases.
The question about mandatory vaccine use is not a simple one. The answer if vaccines should be mandatory is different depending on the disease the vaccine prevents, age of the individual, profession of the individual, and the public health implications of some vaccine preventable diseases. For example, yellow fever vaccine is mandatory for visitors to some countries who are arriving from countries where yellow fever is endemic. I don't believe all vaccines should be mandatory in all circumstances for all people. However, vaccines should be mandatory in some situations, for some people to participate in some public and professional activities. If an individual's participation in a particular activity places other members of the public in danger for an infection, then the vaccine, to prevent that infection, should be required if the individual desires to participate in the activity. For example, children who want to attend child care centers should be required to get all age appropriate vaccines. Same for school age children, if they want to attend out of home schools. Similarly, healthcare workers should be required to get immunizations against some diseases such as influenza, measles and chickenpox, if they want to work in their profession. In public health emergencies there may be some vaccines that may be required to protect the public. So, for the good of the public and public health some vaccines should be required in certain situations.
Since then, multiple immunizations have been discovered and refined. Diseases that once killed tens to hundreds of thousands have become only history lessons in the annals of medicine — illnesses like polio and diphtheria. There is no doubt that human life-years have been added because of vaccines.
In addition to protection on an individual basis, vaccinations improve the public health by promoting herd immunity. When enough individuals become immune to a disease through vaccination, there will not be a large enough susceptible pool, the disease will not have a population in which to thrive and, eventually, will disappear from the general population. Collateral benefit follows herd immunity by allowing for cocooning, a phenomenon by which the vulnerable, those who may not be able to receive the vaccination, will be protected by the immunity in others induced by widespread vaccination programs. Patients on chemotherapy, rheumatologic medications, or with other immunodeficiency syndromes who either have risks from vaccination or non-response, will be protected by the actions of those who do get immunized and thus decrease the risk of disease spread to the community as a whole.
In recent years, the debate on personal choice versus the public health has come center stage with questions surrounding mandatory vaccinations. Here is where we must take our history lesson. Since the days of early death from vaccine preventable diseases are so far removed, we forget that these illnesses were once referred to as scourges due to the widespread loss of life they left in their wake. We don’t have babies with blindness from congenital measles, we no longer need polio pools in hospitals, and we don’t see pandemics of deadly diseases such as small pox. We feel a sense of security. We begin to parse details. Very small or theoretical risks impact our decisions around vaccination. We think the risk/benefit ratio has reversed and the possible consequences of vaccine outweigh the benefit. This is due to widespread revisionist history of the days of scourge and death. As states have allowed for refusal of vaccinations based on personal choice exemptions, we see less awareness and responsibility to the public health and resurgence of diseases like measles causing mini-epidemics. As the numbers of vaccination declinations increase, more disease will inevitably follow. In no other way are we looking to return to the prewar era, so why would we risk the health of our fellow man to return to an 18th century state?
Our life span and improved quality of life for all in the modern century are due in large part to public health initiatives. The most significant of these are modern day vaccinations. We must weigh the liberty of personal choice with our civic responsibility to health of the nation and world as a whole. We must make sure we all step up by leaving no debate. We must make vaccination mandatory. We must keep scourges at bay. We must gather together, put our arms around our vulnerable, and protect the future generation so that we continue to impact rather than repeat our history.
If someone lives in a deserted island, by him/herself vaccines should not be mandatory. However, most humans live in communities with other people. Before deciding one way or the other, there are some facts to consider.
- Science is defined as the knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation. Science is not a collection of personal opinions and anecdotes. A fact is something that truly exists or has existed, happens or has happened, a true piece of information.
- The guiding rationale for considering mandatory immunization program is that the vaccine causes minor side effects; that the vaccines offer a high degree of protection; the disease prevented by the vaccine is severe enough, possibly causing permanent disability or death. There should a clear benefit for the unprotected individual and the community at large. All these items subject to some degree of judgment.
- The main question becomes: Assuming that there is a consensus on the clear benefit for the unprotected individuals and the community, is it acceptable to coerce an individual (not at risk of severe complications from the vaccine) to get vaccinated?
While most humans live in communities, we accept the fact that all individuals rights often conflict. Most humans do accept limits for the sake of living together. We all desire the freedom of movement but we all agree that traffic lights and one way streets are impinging on our freedom of movement. There are no organizations that advocate the abolition of traffic lights and one way streets. This is only one example among thousands of limitations that we accept for living together.
But for obscure reasons, some have decided the right to kill a neighbor for lack of personal immunization shall not be infringed upon while the right to move freely can be limited.
Fast forward 15 years, and we’re in the midst of a widespread measles outbreak that started in Disneyland. In 2015, 189 people from 24 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles. This, on the heels of 667 cases from 27 states in 2014.
Measles is back, but why? The answer is simple, most of the patients were unvaccinated, including children of parents who chose not to vaccinate. Importantly, 40 percent could not be vaccinated because they were too young, too ill, or were people who needed others to be vaccinated because they could not protect themselves, such as an immunocompromised child undergoing chemotherapy.
Immunizations are the #1 most important action you can take to protect your health and that of your children. I come to this truth as a doctor, a parent, Vermont’s health commissioner, and as someone old enough to have seen the devastating effects of diseases that are now preventable.
Vaccines are safe and effective. There is no scientific debate about it. While even the best vaccinations can’t be 100 percent effective or risk-free, they work.
Vaccines work so well that most people have never seen the grave toll of polio, measles, whooping cough, and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
The Internet is rife with sites that scare parents with unscientific and anecdotal “evidence,” such as the purported link between vaccinations and autism that was simply bad science, done by a now discredited physician whose license has been revoked.
It’s understandable that this steady drumbeat causes anxiety and raises concerns. For many, the tiny risk of reaction to vaccine seems great.
The problem is the increasing number of pockets of lower vaccination rates. Where there’s a high percentage of unvaccinated people, there is a greater risk of getting and transmitting potentially deadly disease. In Vermont we created oktoaskvt.org, a website for parents and others to explore their concerns and find credible information.
What keeps me up at night is the knowledge that despite the fact most people choose vaccination, many do not. Which means there are children who are not protected and are at risk.
Some vaccine-preventable diseases may be gone, but they mustn’t be forgotten – and they’re never really gone. Whether Ebola or measles, the world is too small to let down our guard and believe that it can’t happen here. It does and it will.
Let’s reinforce the social norm of vaccination with our family, neighbors and friends.
We rightfully value individual rights, and with those rights come responsibilities. Vaccinating our children is part of our social contract, to protect the community at large and especially the most vulnerable among us.
There is a robust legal framework to support requirements to protect the public health – whether this be to protect our children from lead poisoning, secondhand smoke, underage drinking – or from potentially deadly diseases.
As a physician, to have seen children die of meningitis before a vaccination virtually eliminated the disease was a terrible experience. We can work to ensure this doesn’t happen with other diseases. Protecting the public’s health is the right thing to do.
What differentiates vaccines from all other forms of healthcare products is that they protect populations as well as individuals. Drugs like antibiotics, chemotherapeutics, biologics, anti-hypertensives, and others are all designed to treat individuals who already have a disease. Vaccines prevent people from developing disease in the first place. They are a form of health insurance, but much cheaper than insurance premiums. If health insurance is mandatory, vaccines too must be mandatory. Of course, vaccines must have a much higher safety standard than drugs given to sick individuals. We don’ want to make healthy people unnecessarily sick with a vaccine.
For this reason, we must always listen to those who have concerns about mandatory vaccines. We must try to understand their hesitancy and hear their arguments. Most such individuals will ultimately come around and engage in this community effort to protect the public. Benjamin Franklin himself was a staunch anti-smallpox vaccine campaigner—until he lost his 4-year-old son to smallpox. He then said, “I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation.”
Vaccines are the most cost-effective healthcare product to maintain not just our health but our wealth. Healthy population is absolutely vital for the wealth of a nation, and mandatory vaccination contributes enormously to maintaining high GDP of nations. The wealth of different regions of the world directly correlates with the level of vaccine coverage of their populations.
The southeastern US just experienced yet another hurricane disaster. What do we do when a hurricane is about to hit our shore? Mandatory evacuation. Yes, there will always be individuals who elect not to evacuate, and such individuals will either die or end up having to be rescued, endangering the lives of first-responders and costing taxpayers. We have government-maintained satellites financed by taxpayers to predict when and where a hurricane will hit. We can’t use satellites to predict when and where a new infectious disease will hit. Mandatory vaccination is the only guarantee we have to guard against diseases that threaten to come crashing on our shores or land in our airports at any moment.
Benjamin Franklin was talking about the permanency of the United States Constitution when he made the above statement about death and taxes. I propose that mandatory vaccination be added to our Constitution as the 28th Amendment. It is that important.
Vaccines are already mandatory in many settings. For example, all 50 states have mandated certain vaccines for daycare and primary school entry, and these mandates are followed by most students. Opting out for medical reasons is allowed in all states. The exemption process differs in many states, but generally speaking, if a parent reports a valid medical reason to opt out and provides medical documentation, the local or state health department will grant a medical exemption. Although vaccines are safe, some pre-existing medical conditions or a severe reaction to a previous vaccine dose make the risk greater than the benefit for the occasional individual. These reasons for opting out are medically necessary.
In all but three states (Mississippi, California and West Virginia), there are processes in place to opt out of vaccination mandates for non-medical reasons. These non-medical exemptions are used liberally and have dramatically increased over time in many states. It is our position that non-medical exemptions should be eliminated entirely. Non-medical exemptions have been shown to be associated with outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases and put children at risk who have medical reasons preventing their own immunization. In the measles outbreak at Disneyland, California estimated 1.5 to 3.9 million dollars expended to manage the outbreak. Public health science falls strongly in favor of eliminating non-medical vaccine exemptions.
Vaccines are most effective when the majority of those who can be vaccinated are vaccinated. Under-vaccination leaves gaps for vaccine-preventable diseases to gain a foothold that can lead to an outbreak. This leaves the most vulnerable even more at risk of contracting serious, often life-threatening disease. The cost to a community is high when there is lost productivity and missed school days for students.
Why Vaccines Should Not Be Mandatory
- "Like all medical interventions, vaccines have risks and benefits that vary with the circumstances and the individual. Forcing a medical treatment on a patient who has not given informed consent is considered an assault. Vaccines should not be an exception."
Jane Orient // Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
- "It is not clear even that the perceived benefits of vaccines are actually benefits. For example, while immunity following a measles infection is permanent, vaccination-based immunity wears off over time, leaving a portion of the vaccinated population now susceptible to exposure. ... Most at risk are the infants under six months old, born to mothers whose vaccine-based immunity has worn off. In nature’s clever design, newborn infants receive in their mother’s milk antibodies to diseases to which the mother has acquired immunity, and this affords protection against the disease during the critical neonatal period, when the infant's own immature immune system leaves it more vulnerable. Vaccinating during pregnancy is not an option: MMR in particular has never been recommended by the CDC for pregnant women, because of its known potential for harming the unborn fetus."
Stephanie Seneff // MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
- "There has never been a randomized trial on 69 doses of 16 vaccines versus placebo. In fact, most vaccines have been very poorly studied. The hepatitis B vaccine is given to newborn babies. We are injecting billion, billion aluminum atoms into a newborn.... three times. All to supposedly protect against a virus contracted by IV drug users and those who sleep with prostitutes. You say that there are children who cannot get vaccinated because they are immunocompromised. My children need to take one for the team. I think not."
Jack Wolfson DO, FACC // The Paleo Cardiologist, Wolfson Integrative Cardiology
When there is risk, there must be choice. Seems like a simple freedom that is a fundamental right in the United States of America. Yet, there are those who seek to deny our freedoms over our body and that of our children. California was the latest state to take away the right of the parents to choose whether or not to inject their children with known toxins.
Vaccine law proponents will argue this law does not force you to vaccinate your child. Just they can't go to school without them. But what if you are a single mother who cannot home-school? That woman is effectively forced to vaccinate.
The Supreme Court has called vaccines "unavoidably unsafe." The package insert of a vaccine contains a lengthy list of warnings and side effects.
VAERS, the government's adverse events reporting system, is overloaded with reports. Most importantly, there are thousands of parents who claim their child is vaccine damaged. One day the child was normal, the next day they weren't. These complaints are swept aside as coincidence or labeled as normal behavior. These parents know better.
What kind of system mandates a medical treatment such as vaccines, but allows no recourse to the injured? In short, due to federal law, a vaccine-injured person cannot sue a vaccine manufacturer or doctor. Therefore, vaccine standards can be lax and a doctor need not seek informed consent prior to injection.
If vaccines were so beneficial, why do we have to mandate? If vaccines, work so well, why worry about my child? Your vaccinated child is supposedly protected from the dreaded chicken pox. I write this last sentence with obvious sarcasm. I remember the chicken pox parties and look back at my bout with this virus very fondly actually. Maybe priming my immune system with this virus protects me against cancer, heart disease, and dementia. We don't know.
What we do know is that there has never been a randomized trial on 69 doses of 16 vaccines versus placebo. In fact, most vaccines have been very poorly studied. The hepatitis B vaccine is given to newborn babies. We are injecting billion, billion aluminum atoms into a newborn... three times. All to supposedly protect against a virus contracted by IV drug users and those who sleep with prostitutes.
You say that there are children who cannot get vaccinated because they are immunocompromised. My children need to take one for the team. I think not.
The number one job of a parent is to protect their child. I protect mine the way I see fit, you protect yours. Has it ever occurred to the parents of the child with cancer that it was the vaccine that caused the cancer?
You ask for studies proving harm? They are out there. Check my website, TheDrsWolfson.com. The sad truth is that research is funded by Big Pharma. Funding for research contrary to the vaccine machine would dry up like a glass of water in the desert.
The government must not be allowed to force this agenda. The government is the puppet to the corporate master. Big Pharma wants these laws instituted so the money train rolls on and the patient can do nothing about it except swallow this bitter medicine.
Do we want to live in a society where medical treatment is mandated? Should it not be my choice whether or not I want to take a cholesterol lowering drug or an aspirin? Must I receive chemotherapy and radiation if I develop cancer? An adult mandatory vaccine schedule will be next. Prove you received a flu shot or you will not be eligible for Social Security or Medicare.
Wake up America.
There have been no double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that can prove the safety or efficacy of vaccines. Vaccines are not tested the same way as other pharmaceuticals. They also lack studies done on combo and multiple shots usage, as well as proper studies done to ascertain whether vaccines cause cancer, genetic mutations, sterility, or infertility. Any mandatory vaccination would therefore be experimental and would violate the Nuremberg Code (of Medical Ethics).
There is no scientific evidence that can prove that the decline in disease in any part of the world was due to vaccination. In fact, diseases had declined by as much as 90% by the time a vaccine was created that would supposedly prevent it. Some diseases have disappeared or almost disappeared despite not having a vaccine that will supposedly prevent it.
Vaccines in no way, shape, or form prevent anyone from being a carrier of any diseases, even the diseases they have been vaccinated against. Those who have received any live virus vaccines can actually shed the virus from the vaccine, which can remain in the nasal and mucous membranes of a recently vaccinated individual for a number of weeks or months, thereby rendering the recently vaccinated as disease carriers.
Herd immunity is an unproven theory. In order for so-called herd immunity to work, a large percentage of the population must be fully vaccinated. The US population, particularly adults, is nowhere close to that percentage (which is arbitrary to begin with), given that so-called immunity wanes after several years, rendering the adult population non-immune. Almost without exception, every disease outbreak has occurred in predominantly vaccinated groups. If herd immunity were a fact and not a fallacy, outbreaks would not occur regularly in vaccinated populations.
There is no scientific justification that injecting a human body with a confirmed neurotoxin will benefit their health or prevent disease. The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” In light of all the evidence, vaccines should never be mandatory.
The United States is a nation that prides itself in its advocacy of personal freedom, yet it ironically does not allow a parent the right to choose whether or not toxic chemicals found in vaccines should be injected into their child's small body. In many other countries, the vaccination schedule is merely "recommended" by the government, and parents are free to choose to decline vaccines for their children without justification. These countries have not experienced any obvious health declines as a consequence of lower vaccination rates; on the contrary, countries in the industrialized world with the fewest vaccines tend to have the lowest infant and under-five mortality rates, while the US, with the most required vaccines, has the highest infant mortality rate.
While the government and the media lead us to believe that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the small chance that a child might be harmed, what we are experiencing in our everyday lives does not support this view. Children in America today are collectively very sick, with alarmingly high rates of food allergies and autoimmune diseases that are arguably being caused by the antigenic proteins and other ingredients found in the vaccines. It appears that, as the number of vaccines on the schedule increase, the number of children with these autoimmune health issues rises in step. And there is a plausible mechanism by which the proteins in vaccines could cause autoimmune disease via molecular mimicry. This is particularly true because of the adjuvants that are often added to the vaccine with the direct intent of inducing a more intense antibody response. Studies on autistic children have shown that many of them have high autoantibody titers to human myelin basic protein (via molecular mimicry) along with an excessively high antibody response to measles haemagglutinin from the MMR vaccine. This can be predicted to cause destruction of the myelin sheath in the brain.
It is not clear even that the perceived benefits of vaccines are actually benefits. For example, while immunity following a measles infection is permanent, vaccination-based immunity wears off over time, leaving a portion of the vaccinated population now susceptible to exposure. As a consequence, we now face a difficult situation with respect to measles, because most of the children and young adults in this country are now vaccinated against it, and almost none of them have the lifetime protection afforded by a measles infection. Most at risk are the infants under six months old, born to mothers whose vaccine-based immunity has worn off. In nature’s clever design, newborn infants receive in their mother’s milk antibodies to diseases to which the mother has acquired immunity, and this affords protection against the disease during the critical neonatal period, when the infant's own immature immune system leaves it more vulnerable. Vaccinating during pregnancy is not an option: MMR in particular has never been recommended by the CDC for pregnant women, because of its known potential for harming the unborn fetus.
- Parents should not be obligated to play Russian roulette with their children. Vaccines are risky. These hazards are acknowledged by vaccine manufacturers in their product inserts and documented in numerous studies. For example, the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine manufacturer concedes that diabetes, thrombocytopenia (a serious blood disorder), arthritis, encephalitis (brain inflammation), Guillain-Barré syndrome (paralysis), and death, have all been reported during clinical trials of its vaccine.
- Vaccinated children can spread disease. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently acknowledged that individuals vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough) "may still become infected with the bacteria without always getting sick and are able to spread infection to others, including young infants who are susceptible to pertussis disease." [FDA Press Release Nov 27, 2013.] Thus, herd immunity is unlikely to be achieved even if everyone is vaccinated.
- Unvaccinated children cannot threaten vaccinated children if the shots are effective. When people contract disease, vaccine proponents are quick to blame the outbreaks on unvaccinated children. Yet, official data tells a different story: often, a majority of cases occur in fully vaccinated populations.
- Some vaccines recommended for children are clearly unnecessary. For example, infants are expected to receive several doses of the hepatitis B vaccine even though they are not at risk of contracting the disease. Hepatitis B mainly affects sexually promiscuous adults and intravenous drug users.
- Childhood immunization schedules are not based on science. In the United States, infants receive 8 vaccines at 2, 4, and 6 months of age yet the safety of combining multiple vaccines during a single physician visit as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was never affirmed in clinical studies. In fact, a recent study showed that infants who receive several vaccines concurrently are significantly more likely to be hospitalized or die when compared with infants who receive fewer vaccines simultaneously. This study also found that younger infants were significantly more likely than older infants to be hospitalized or die after receiving vaccines. [Hum Exp Toxicol 2012; 31(10): 1012-21.]
- Conflicts of interest permeate the vaccine industry. Vaccine safety is not always a top priority. Medical research has been compromised by premeditated bias and industry control. For example, in one study, 33% of scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) admitted that they engaged in questionable scientific behavior during the previous 3 years. Nearly 16% of these top U.S. scientists changed the design, methodology or results of a study due to pressure from a funding source. [Nature 2005 Jun 9; 435: 737-38.]
- Many doctors reject vaccines for their own children. A recent study found that 10% of pediatricians and 21% of pediatric specialists would not follow CDC recommendations for their own children. Physicians in this study expressed concerns over the safety of vaccines and several vaccines administered at one time. [OJPed 2012 Sep; 2(3): 228-35.]
- Government officials know that vaccines will harm and kill some people. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) charges a 75-cent excise tax on every vaccine purchased. The money goes into a Trust Fund managed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As of October 1, 2016, more than $3.4 billion had already been paid out, most of it to compensate parents whose children were permanently disabled or died after receiving vaccines.
- Vaccine manufacturers are not liable when their vaccines harm or kill people. The federal government protects vaccine makers from most financial liability associated with their products. Vaccine manufacturers can no longer be sued in a state or federal court for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death. They not only make billions of dollars annually from their compulsory market, but they have been disincentivized from producing safer vaccines since they are shielded from any financial obligations when their mandatory products harm consumers.
- Medical procedures should not be performed without informed consent. During World War II, many doctors experimented on people in concentration camps without their permission. After the war, a set of internationally accepted ethical principles — the Nuremberg Code — was created. Medical procedures should never be conducted without the voluntary, fully informed consent of each person. It is a violation of human rights to coerce or compel anyone to accept a medical procedure against their will, with or without the risk of a disabling injury or death.
- Vaccines are not compulsory in many countries. The United States has the most stringent vaccination laws in the world yet dozens of nations have better infant mortality rates. Canada, Australia and many European countries do not mandate vaccines yet diseases are not widespread and human rights are preserved.
- There are credible alternatives to many vaccines. For example, numerous studies provide strong evidence that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces the risk of influenza, pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Several studies also show that severe cases of measles in children are associated with vitamin A deficiency. When patients with measles are given high doses of vitamin A, their complication rates and chances of dying are significantly reduced.
Free, prior and informed consent to medical procedures is a widely recognized standard of human rights, in a tradition that harkens back to the Nuremberg Code of 1947 and was recently affirmed in the UN Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights of 2005. Yet America’s increasingly draconian vaccination mandates rides roughshod over those rights. It’s time to reaffirm those rights and restore balance to a world gone mad.
As recently as 1986, American vaccination policies were sane and reasonable. Infants were vaccinated against a short, unchanging list of diseases, most of which had either ceased to circulate (e.g., diphtheria, tetanus and polio) or had long ceased being a public health risk (e.g., measles and mumps). But then, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, gave vaccine manufacturers and health workers a liability shield against vaccine adverse events… and that opened Pandora’s Box.
Thirty years later, we are living an Orwellian nightmare. The recommended vaccine schedule has exploded, with the recommended injection count in the first year of life going from 5 to a possible 25. Vaccine adverse events have skyrocketed to over 30,000 reports a year, including 200 deaths, and these reports are estimated at only 1-10% of the true injury toll. The vaccine industry has been transformed from a fragmented, invisible utility to a pharmaceutical profit juggernaut with over $25 billion in revenues, most of which accrue to a handful of global giants like Merck, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis. Crony capitalism rules the game, as top government officials like Julie Gerberding and Elias Zerhouni leave their top jobs (at CDC and NIH, respectively) and take the reins as President of Merck’s Vaccine Division and President of Global R&D at Sanofi-Aventis. And the corporate media, with most of its advertising coming from the pharmaceutical industry, routinely suppresses concerns over adverse events while stirring up fears (and ratings) over the latest infectious disease crisis: H1N1! Ebola! Measles! Zika!!!
Americans have lost sight of just how extreme and how bad our situation is. We have the most aggressive vaccine mandates in the world; no other country comes close. We have among the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world, worse than Cuba, Estonia and Slovakia. We have whistleblowers from the CDC (on tape) and Merck (in a lawsuit) confessing to widespread scientific fraud. Yet the propaganda campaign continues unchallenged: “vaccines are safe and effective” and “antivaxxers are anti-science.”
We must not allow this to continue. American consumers should have the right to opt out of coercive medical interventions and the freedom to do so without retribution. Fear-mongering over infectious disease needs to be recognized for what it is: the calculated campaigns of the interested parties who benefit from vaccine mandates. Vaccine injury should be recognized as a serious and widespread phenomenon of a bureaucracy run amok. We are running a massive, untested, and unconstrained experiment on a generation of children. Only freedom — free choice and free markets — can restore the checks and balances this system of mandates requires.
Mark Blaxill is the father of a daughter diagnosed with autism, Chairman and co-founder of the Canary Party and Health Choice, and Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism. He has co-authored two books with Dan Olmsted: The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Man-made Epidemic, (Thomas Dunne, September 2010). and Vaccines 2.0: The Careful Parent's Guide to Making Safe Vaccination Choices for Your Family (Skyhorse Publishing, February 2015).
Mr. Blaxill earned an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School and an A.B. from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Compulsory vaccine mandates violate the fundamental human right of informed consent; the right to make uncoerced, autonomous decisions about medical treatment. If vaccines are as “safe and effective” as we’re told, why are they mandated?
If vaccines pose no risk of harm, why are manufacturers and doctors immunized from liability for harm? Immunity from liability was extracted by vaccine manufacturers whose lobbying resulted in the 1986 National Vaccine Injury Act. Children’s vaccine schedule soon ballooned: from 23 doses of 7 vaccines in 1986, to 26 doses before age one; 36 doses by age 5; and 70 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18. The US vaccine schedule is the most aggressive in the world. The financial justification is obvious; what is the medical justification?
Vaccines are legally defined as “unavoidably unsafe.” Vaccines pose risks of harm and vaccine injuries are real; the most serious injuries are death and severe brain injury resulting in neurotoxic disability.
Unlike all other medical and non-medical products, no court may adjudicate claims of injury due to defective vaccines. The determination of whether a marketed vaccine is unreasonably unsafe or negligently unsafe – is left to the FDA and CDC which recommended the vaccine in the first place.
Some vaccines include live viruses, animal and human DNA, heavy metals, and various foreign contaminants — some intentional, others unintentional. Some batches are avoidably harmful due to negligence during production; they may be adulterated, contain neurotoxic pesticides.
Mandatory government vaccination policies coupled with access denied to due judicial process, have galvanized a parents’ movement that is gaining momentum; in part, because of the magnitude of harm and the number of affected families. CDC officials claim that multiple vaccines are safe “for children with normal immune systems.”
- What about the risks for infants with underdeveloped brain and immune systems?
- What about children who are at higher risk of severe allergic reactions, including brain damage (encephalopathy), seizures, and even death? Doesn’t these children’s well-being matter?
- Why haven’t they developed tests to screen out and protect particularly vulnerable children?
- What evidence justifies the risk of exposing infants to excessive, repeated immune stimulation and toxic vaccine ingredients — especially for non-fatal illnesses?
Under the 1986 National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, parents cannot sue a vaccine manufacturer or a doctor for vaccine injury. Instead they can seek compensation from the NVICP within 3 years of injury, but most people don’t know of the existence of the NVICP, so they miss the deadline. Ordinary rules of civil procedure and discovery do not apply in the NVICP. There are no juries of one’s peers; the process is slow and highly contentious, with the vast majority of claims rejected. Despite the difficulties, the VICP has paid out $3.475 billion in compensation for vaccine injuries since the program was established in 1988.
“Totalitarianism under the guise of public health”?
A recent CDC proposed rule (August 15, 2016) would extend CDC’s power to detain any citizen; perform a medical examination under duress; and to vaccinate someone against their will. CDC seeks discretionary authority to designate an individual who is not contagious with any disease, as being in a “precommunicable stage.” If such an individual resists, CDC will use federal police enforcement.
I am a Dartmouth-trained pediatrician and addiction specialist with 30 years of medical experience and over 13,000 patients in my integrative practice in Oregon. If you’ve never heard the term “integrative” before, we combine the best that western medicine has to offer with other healing methods, including nutritional counseling, naturopathic approaches, and herbal medicine. Our goal is to take the full range of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental factors that affect our patients’ health into consideration as we keep them healthy and help them heal when they get sick. I believe that vaccination, along with other scientifically proven interventions to support the immune system — optimal nutrition, adequate vitamin D, improving the gut microbiome — is an essential tool in the medical toolbox.
When I graduated from medical school, an improved vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae, a bacterium that can causes brain swelling and other severe illness in children, was coming into widespread use. The Hib vaccine was tremendously effective. I saw firsthand how it helped reduce the cases of Hib-induced meningitis by nearly half at our hospital.
But as medical doctors, we cannot do a medical procedure — whether that procedure is freezing warts, elective surgery, or giving a vaccine — without providing informed consent. Informed consent means that you tell the patient the benefits, the risks, and the alternatives of the procedure.
Despite the fact that vaccines have proven benefits, they also have risks. Some children — especially those who are genetically susceptible — may have adverse reactions to vaccines. These reactions range from mild to severe. I have also seen this in my practice firsthand.
Where there is any kind of risk, there must be a choice, which is why I do not believe that vaccines should be mandatory. One choice is to delay certain vaccines, like hepatitis B, a vaccine against a sexually transmitted viral infection. This vaccine concerns me because it contains 250 mcg of aluminum, a known neurotoxin. Unlike in Scandinavia where it is only given to at-risk infants, we give the hepatitis B vaccine to every newborn in America even if the mother is hepatitis B negative and the baby has essentially zero risk of catching the disease.
Another choice is to space out vaccines, doing one at a time, so that if a child has a bad reaction immediately following a vaccine, we will know which vaccine was the culprit. A third option is to use other scientifically proven ways to boost a child’s immune system and forgo vaccines.
As important as vaccines are, one size does not and cannot fit all when it comes to medicine. The freedom over what is done to your body is a basic human right. There is no place for medical strong-arming in a free and open democracy like the United States. We can no more mandate vaccination than we can mandate breastfeeding. We must use education, not coercion, to help people make the best healthcare decisions for themselves and their children. When and how to vaccinate must always be the patient’s choice.
As the Supreme Court noted as early as 1903, before the development of the modern law of Informed Consent, the Courts are not without power to intervene, “…if it be apparent or can be shown with reasonable certainty that he is not at the time a fit subject of vaccination or that vaccination, by reason of his then condition, would seriously impair his health or probably cause his death.”
In 1914, Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Benjamin Cardozo validated the concept of voluntary consent when he noted that every human being has a right to decide what shall be done with his or her body, deeming medical intervention without Informed Consent an unlawful trespass: “Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body; and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient’s consent commits an assault for which he is liable in damages.”
A century later, the Supreme Court was being very clear on the level of Consent required:
Even a “…diminished expectation of privacy does not diminish the… privacy interest in preventing a government agent from piercing the… skin. And though a blood test conducted in a medical setting by trained personnel is less intrusive than other bodily invasions, this Court has never retreated from its recognition that any compelled intrusion into the human body implicates significant, constitutionally protected privacy interests…”
I do not know if vaccines promote health (I have never seen a disinterested third-party comparison of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people in a modern society) nor do I know if the toxins in the unavoidably unsafe vaccines “cause” autism or infertility or whatever. While I am not an expert in whether vaccines prevent disease as is claimed, a number of physicians question the view in the profession that vaccines “work.”
I do know that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out over three billion dollars to victims of vaccine injury, and if you graph the payments, the level of acknowledged vaccine injury is rapidly increasing, even faster than the number of vaccines “recommended” and “mandated” (by government, employers, schools, etc.).
Vaccination should never be mandated. Never should the power of government infringe upon philosophical, religious or other conscientious objections to vaccination. To do so imposes unconstitutional burdens on the exercise of the right to Informed Consent.
Wars have consequences. One of the consequences of World War II was a clear enshrining of the universal right to Informed Consent in international law. The United States is also a party to the Bioethics Declaration. The United States and its constituent States are bound by the law of Informed Consent and any government agent violating the right to Informed Consent commits a crime against humanity.
In my humble opinion, vaccine mandates are never permissible. Any free human person has the right to assert refusal to consent to any medical intervention, including vaccination, for any reason or no reason at all.
In principle, U.S. law today supports the right to choice – the law does not permit people to be “force vaccinated.” More and more federal and state policies are extremely coercive, however, pushing children and adults out of public and private schools and workplaces if they elect not to vaccinate according to vaccination mandates.
The U.N. Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, adopted by 193 countries, including the United States, states the following:
“any preventive…medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information.”
The “sole interest of science or society” does not prevail.
The Declaration is an extension of the medical oath, attributed to Hippocrates 2500 years ago, that doctors must work for the good of their patients and never do harm. Abbreviated as the “first do no harm” principle, this credo embodies the precautionary principle in medicine, clearly placing the interests of individual patients above the interests of the collective or the “herd.”
This principle leads directly to the view that vaccination policies must be recommended, not coerced. The doctor-patient relationship depends first and foremost on trust. Coercion undermines it. When the doctor-patient relationship is based on coercion, doctors serve the state, and by extension the society, above their individual patients. This is a slippery slope, where civilized medicine has too often derailed in the past.
Dr. Leo Alexander, the chief U.S. medical consultant to the Nuremberg Trials, warned in 1949 that “From small beginnings the values of an entire society may be subverted.” Long before the Nazis came to power in Germany, a cultural shift in the medical community “had already paved the way for the adoption of a utilitarian, Hegelian point of view,” with literature on the euthanasia and extermination of those with disabilities as early as 1931.
Many developed countries’ vaccination policies embody the principle of vaccination recommendations, including developed countries that achieve impressive public health without resort to compulsion, including the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, South Korea, and Spain.
With over 270 vaccines in the global research and development pipeline, vaccines represent a growing medical market with increasingly high profit margins. We must insist on the human right to prior, free and informed consent to all medical interventions, including vaccines.
As a health care provider, I’m well aware of the fact that vaccine adverse events do occur. Just like any other medical intervention, vaccines carry a risk of injury, death and failure. Vaccine manufacturers are also well aware of this fact and successfully petitioned Congress to provide liability protection for such injuries. In 1986, Congress created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). The program was established on the premise that vaccines, like all prescription drugs, are by nature “unavoidably unsafe.”
The NVICP legislation was supposed to create a no-fault program that would provide swift and fair compensation to families and individuals who were injured by vaccines. But unfortunately, that has not been the case. Many families who file claims are dismissed from the program for technical reasons because their injuries did not meet the very limited criteria for compensation, or they missed the short three year statute of limitations in filing their claim.
For those families who actually have their claims heard, the deck is stacked against them. They must argue their case against government attorneys who use government science provided by our government agencies who have endless resources. There is no real court, judge or jury in these proceedings. In the past, families who were not compensated by the program could go to civil court.
But a Supreme Court ruling in 2011 that reaffirmed vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” also severely restricted the ability for cases to be heard in civil court. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a compelling dissent, arguing that "The majority's decision leaves a regulatory vacuum in which no one - neither the FDA nor any other federal agency, nor state and federal juries - ensures that vaccine manufacturers adequately take account of scientific and technological advancements. ...The vaccine market will often have little or no incentive to improve the designs of vaccines that are already generating significant profit margins.”
Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened. It is a known fact that vaccine injuries occur and that there are genetic, biological and environmental risk factors that make some individuals more prone to vaccine injuries than others. But there has been little effort to understand these risk factors and make vaccines safer.
Whenever there is a product that is unavoidably unsafe, then our basic human rights should include our ability to refuse to use such a product. Our states and the Federal government should not be allowed to mandate what is injected into our bodies.
Many families have determined that vaccines are counter-active to the natural immune properties of the human body, that they hinder a child's neurological and neuro-developmental capacity via a neuro-toxic breach of their delicate central nervous system apparatus, prematurely strip them of vital trace minerals and anti-oxidants; in many instances spreading the very disease or disorder which they claim to prevent.
This science-based evidence is supported by a new generation of enlightened doctors and medical researchers, who have witnessed the overwhelming damage caused by vaccines first-hand.
In the absence of genuine health freedom, legislators will see fit to utilize authoritarian measures on any faction of the population with impunity. This is the basis of a Totalitarian system.
Self-determination of the body is non-negotiable. Every parent or guardian is bound to protect their child’s inalienable right to self-determination of the body, what goes in it, and if so, administered by whom. The Government has no authority, whatsoever, to regulate, monitor or deny these primary parental rights.
Voluntary consent is a defining criteria of any open society. There are numerous historic charters which have laid down the parameters for preventing any infringement on this sacred ground. The imposition of mandatory vaccines would thereby forfeit the legality (lawfulness) of these formal declarations, thus rendering our bodies the property of the state.
Joel Lord is Founder and Director of the Vaccine Resistance Movement.
Historically, mandatory mass vaccination of a population typically arose through state legislation to deal with outbreaks of highly contagious (high in R0 value) infectious diseases which may pose a public health threat with high mortality. However, the R0 value of HPV infection is very low and only 1.7 deaths per 100,000 women die of cervical cancer per year in the United States. Cervical cancer can be reliably prevented by regular good gynecological care. The fast track approval of marketing HPV vaccines to prevent cervical cancer was based on using self-regressing surrogate endpoints for efficacy evaluation, a wrongful implementation of Part 314, Subpart H--Accelerated Approval of New Drugs for Serious or Life-Threatening Illnesses of the drug law. Cervical cancer is not a national public health threat. The benefits of HPV vaccination do not outweigh its risks.
In a report entitled “Clinical Review of Biologics License Application Supplement STN# 125126/773 – mid-adult women indication for GARDASIL”, dated August 8, 2010 and authored by Jeffrey N. Roberts, M.D., Medical Officer, Clinical Review Branch 2, Division of Vaccines and Related Products Applications, Food and Drug Administration, it stated “Efficacy in the prevention of high grade cervical disease was not established.” (let alone cancer, note by S. H. Lee).
The more disturbing information contained in this report is that in the post-vaccination follow-up period there were 7 deaths among the 1911 Gardasil-vaccinated subjects who were “judged to be in good physical health on the basis of medical history, physical examination, and laboratory testing” at the time of enrolment into the clinical trial. A global censorship by the medical trade journals and by the mainstream media, both heavily influenced by vaccine manufacturers, has prevented this kind of unfavorable data and dissenting opinions from being widely circulated. The citizens should have the right to be fully informed and to make a personal decision before taking such a risk for a questionable benefit.
I, for sure, do not support making vaccines mandatory! I did not vaccinate my other 2 children and their immune systems work the way they were designed to. They attend the public school system with vaccine exemptions, although we are told “No shots, No school, No kidding”. The drug companies have done everything in their power to hide the danger of vaccinating and have misled many to believe that they eradicated “so called” deadly diseases. Diseases disappeared by better sanitation and nutrition, which I show all over the world in the presentation in honor of my baby girl. I also show the Congressional hearings and the researchers that have proven to us parents all the many ways our babies were injured by vaccines. No one knows our children better than we do and we will never stop being a “voice for these voiceless victims!”
Image: Planet Flem / iStock.
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