Letter: Choice over vaccines is important

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In 2015, Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey passed away at age 101. Perhaps not a household name, nonetheless, Dr. Kelsey was the person responsible for disallowing Kevadon — better known as thalidomide — from being distributed for sale in the U.S.

Kevadon was a drug developed by the Merrell pharmaceutical company, which claimed that their testing revealed no adverse effects for pregnant women. It had been marketed in Europe with a claim, among others, to ease morning sickness associated with pregnancy.

In her governmental capacity, Dr. Kelsey withheld approval, requesting more documentation while withstanding the company’s unrelenting and increasing pressure. Evidence started to surface in Europe of the malformation of the limbs of newborns born to mothers who had taken Kevadon. Calling the evidence inconclusive at first, the company finally withdrew its application. There were also cases within the U.S., which revealed the same tragic consequences. This was in 1961-62, and stricter drug laws were put in place.

In [1990, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established] VAERS — Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. All physicians and vaccine providers must report a suspected vaccine-induced injury and/or death — in 2016, it was estimated that only 10% of such cases are reported. [In] 1986, as a response to parents’ need to address vaccine injury, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which gave the vaccine manufacturer a liability shield. If parents wish to sue, they must apply to a federal claim court for injury compensation. Since 1988, approximately $3.3 billion has been paid out.

As a secret rider to a homeland security bill, immunity was granted to vaccine manufacturer [Eli Lilly & Co]. In California, SB 277 passed, requiring mandatory school vaccinations. Leading pharmaceutical companies spent approximately $3 million lobbying the legislators, the state pharmacists and the governor. Clinical trials generally examine short follow-up periods; however, autoimmune disorders may/can take years to evolve. There has never been a comprehensive safety study that looks at the cumulative effects of multiple vaccines over time. As of 2013, the government recommendation for vaccines is 48 doses of 14 vaccines by the age of 6.

What is equally unfortunate is the fanning of a hostile and contentious “drumbeat” by the media, including, in some ways, the Mountain Xpress. The article in the Jan. 25, 2017, edition, with the title “Community Immunity” was, to say the least, quite unbalanced. In the more recent article [“Stuck: Rise in Immunization Exemptions Threatens Community Health, Doctors Say,” Feb. 6, Xpress], there seemingly was an attempt made to contact health care providers who have a different approach.

Under the circumstances, it does not take much to understand why such folks were not forthcoming, given the antagonism and viciousness that has surfaced around this issue. (And let’s keep in mind, the subject was chickenpox!) The tendency seems to be to vilify those who make an informed choice not to vaccinate, and this is surfacing on many levels. Let’s hope that vaccine providers are as informed to their substances as those who also make an informed choice.

Yes, health care is a social issue on many, many levels, and choice in health care is an individual one — not to be intentionally compromised by government or industry.

With all due respect for the sincerity of health care vaccine providers and the acknowledgement of the sorrow of attending to the death of an infant from pertussis, I would have to, unfortunately, indicate that there are those who have witnessed such sorrow as a result of vaccine inoculation.

It is not easy to navigate the ins and outs of vaccines and points of view on such, but it is important to be thoughtful about choice.

Mandatory edicts regarding substances to be injected into any person’s body is a concern not only for parents, but for everyone.

— Patti Corozine
Burnsville

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8 thoughts on “Letter: Choice over vaccines is important

  1. luther blissett

    “With all due respect for the sincerity of health care vaccine providers”

    i.e. with no respect for health care providers.

    “it is important to be thoughtful about choice.”

    Immunocompromised children should have the choice not to contract life-threatening diseases; parents who undermine herd immunity take away that choice. Be honest and say “I don’t care if other people’s kids die” out loud.

    And comparing thalidomide — a synthetic molecule marketed as an antiemetic — with vaccines against infectious diseases is a smokescreen.

  2. James Cassara

    I no longer call them anti-vaxxer. They are pro-disease, willing to risk the lives of others due to their own ignorance and selfishness.

  3. dingo

    “It is not easy to navigate the ins and outs of vaccines and points of view on such, but it is important to be thoughtful about choice.”

    It is very easy: if you don’t vaccinate, people will die. Whatever your views on drug companies and secret government schemes, that fact remains.

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