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Immunizations

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As a former scientist and current analyst, I am discouraged seeing how much mediocrity now passes for science.
Your discouragement need only be limited to this specific area of medical research. The rest of science is still exceedingly objective in their research, and the futuristic world we live in today--that could not have even been anticipated 30 years ago--is the result of that. Even Theoretical Physics isn't as bad as some want you to think, as silliness like String Theory and Cosmology only constitute a vanishingly small percentage of what is technically "Theoretical Physics". As an example, look at the development of Density Functional Theory, a revolutionary theoretical reformulation of Quantum Mechanics that allows for its practical applications to complex molecules/solids and phenomena otherwise inaccessible.

In my experience medical "research" often consists of a zealous attitude of "correlation implies causation" applied to unacceptably limited data sets (often based on anecdotal or subjective accounts) from which the researchers try to draw preposterously sweeping conclusions that are genuinely pseudoscientific and often damaging to human lives while retarding future understanding in that area.

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Back to the topic...So, it seems that many Objectivists may agree that immunization at gunpoint would be acceptible given that immunizations pose little to no risk. Would this apply only to pandemics that are sure to kill thousands like swine flu and measles or would it apply to others like tetanus and chicken pox? I would think that if there's no risk, logic would follow that it could be applied to all immunizations that the government deemed necessary. If one refused immunization should they then be shot or put in isolation?

This is more complicated than I thought. Thanks for playing.

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Back to the topic...So, it seems that many Objectivists may agree that immunization at gunpoint would be acceptible given that immunizations pose little to no risk.

Actually, Objectivists believe it is not a proper function of the government to require immunizations unless there is evidence to prove that the unvaccinated pose a threat of harm to others that cannot be dealt with in any other way. For instance, polio is highly contagious, but it can be prevented by immunization, so someone who does not vaccinate himself does not pose a threat to anyone willing to get the vaccine.

Would this apply only to pandemics that are sure to kill thousands like swine flu and measles or would it apply to others like tetanus and chicken pox? I would think that if there's no risk, logic would follow that it could be applied to all immunizations that the government deemed necessary.

As to the government requiring parents to immunize children, it is similar to cases where some parents refuse children medical care, like blood transfusions, where it can be proven that withholding care will result in death or permanent damage to the child. I don't think that applies to any immunizations unless maybe during a major polio or smallpox epidemic.

If one refused immunization should they then be shot or put in isolation?

If someone is contagious and poses a real, provable threat of physical harm to people, he should be quarantined. Also, disease carriers like Typhoid Mary can be legally restrained from working in the food industry or other places where they are likely to spread an infection. In any case, it is up to the government to prove that they have to restrict someone's freedom in order to prevent physical harm to others. If the only threat of harm involves an adult who does not get immunized or treated, that is his own choice and he should take the consequences.

Most of the time, there is also no reason for the government to get involved to protect children either since the private sector can handle it quite well. My son went to private schools and had to show an up-to-date immunization record to get admitted. He had a reaction to the pertussis part of his first DTP shot, so after that, he only got DT shots. The schools allowed that. So did the health insurance company that required immunizations when my son got a separate policy.

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Thanks Betsy.

In the last day or so there was a Supreme Court decision that nobody can hold pharmaceutical companies liable for injuries caused by childrens' immunizations. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cour...story?track=rss I find this interesting because I can't think of another product that enjoys such protections. At this point we have about 100 deaths attributed to Gardasil. I can understand the argument that such lawsuits may weaken the industry's ability to continue to keep us all safe. At the same time, I don't know of an epidemic that was a real threat in the past 50 years. I ask myself, "Why make changes now?" as I buy more pharmaceutical stocks.

I'm looking at the chart right now. (Vital Statistics of the United States; Historical Statistics of the United States - Colonial Times to 1970 part 1) Measles, Scarlet Fever, Typhoid, Whooping Cough and Diptheria all show massive declines from 1900 through 1924, before we had the technology to vaccinate for them. My theory on the decline? - Improved food, water, and infrastructure. (Hey, I'm an engineer) I'm still on the fence regarding polio. I've met a couple people my age who suffered with it, getting it as a child. Some argue that it was in decline before the vaccine. I really don't know. I need to learn more about it. The chart indicates that the only one of the illnesses on it still causing some trouble was whooping cough as the vaccine for it became widespread in the late 1940s. All listed ailments flatline from there and the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963. The concept of making as many as 36 injections "manditory" by the time a child turns 2 is very new and doesn't seem to be justified by statistics.

I will share with you some firsthand info. Children subjected to the current CDC schedule show, across the board, increased blood levels of some surprising substances. My son had clearly been exposed to high levels of mercury, bismuth, antimony, and arsenic. My wife showed none of those in her lab tests, yet my son acquired them in the first year of his life. I was working in a large drinking water project that had national implications at the time my son became ill. Lucky for me, I was working with a strong team of environmental scientists including some PhDs. We systimatically worked for weeks trying to find a source of the odd elements we found in my son's blood and urine. It was very enlightening as I had no idea at the time where he could have picked them up. Based on what I learned from that research, we are delaying several of my daughter's vaccines and eliminating some. I chose to change my premise that immunizations are without risk. Knowing what I know, I had to laugh when I heard the media report that a rare "mitochondrial disorder" was to blame in the Anna Polling settlement (look her up if you like). That mitrochondrial disorder is actually caused by mercury poisoning and many children with autism have it.

Thanks again for your comments on this. I was genuinely curious about how others with an Objectivist stance would stand regarding forced immunizations. It was not my intent to change minds, but to get a feel for the logic, and share a little of what caused me to change my thinking on this. I'll consider this thread dead.

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