Senate Exemptions from vaccinations

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by SuperWatto, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 6
    There's a small outbreak of the measles in my small country, the Netherlands. It's because we have our own little Bible belt, where people refuse to administer vaccines to their kids out of religious principle. I must admit I don't know the doctrinal reason for it, but it seems to me that you have a duty as a parent to protect your kid as well as possible.
    I've spoken to people in parliament about it. They said, you can't do anything about it. Even the people in the socialist party just shrugged and said 'You can't make vaccinations mandatory. You just can't. The legal framework isn't there'. End of story.

    The measles are not very widespread in the US, but with the global economy that could change. In this article from last year, the Director of the US Centers for Disease Control says "Diseases knows no boundaries", and points at worldwide sports events with mass tourism as a possible future cause an outbreak in the US, because travelers may bring the measles home.

    Most U.S. cases of the measles are imported by U.S. travelers who have not been vaccinated. Before routine vaccinations, the virus killed between 3,000 and 5,000 Americans each year.

    "We usually have about 50 cases a year, but last year we had a record number of importations" — at least 214 cases — says Greg Wallace, a measles specialist with the CDC's division of viral diseases. About 30% of those cases required hospitalization.

    Last year, England and Wales had 1,086 cases of measles, according to the U.K. Health Protection Agency. "Ukraine is experiencing a large measles outbreak right now," Martin says.

    Measles strikes worldwide but is of special concern in Western Europe, Wallace says. The disease had been under control there until a 1998 paper in the British medical journal The Lancet purported a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. It also said the vaccine caused gastrointestinal disorders in children.

    I understand Americans get religious and other exemptions from vaccinations too, and that "the legal framework just isn't there" either, but my question is: should that be changed? Or does anybody have any good reasons why it should not?
    Last edited by SuperWatto, Jul 20, 2013
  2. The Loyal Imperial Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 6
    Exemptions for legitimate health reasons, I'm fine with. Religious exemptions, somewhat less so. If changing the legal framework for the entire population is too difficult, perhaps the restrictions could be placed specifically on travelers, instead? Not a perfect solution, but it'd better than nothing, I suppose.
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I'd say putting it on travelers is perfect, actually; historically, disease has spread from colonization and people travelling.

    I agree that it shouldn't be allowed at all as I think it's recklessly endangering your child to not get them vaccinated against diseases that could kill them, but I doubt that'll ever be a thing.
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  4. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Only legit health exemptions-- for example, I broke out in hives at the Hep B vaccine and couldn't get the full course. You don't get to endanger others (including minors who don't have the capacity to make their own choices) with your own stupidity.
  5. Juliet316 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 8
    About the only exemption I'm okay with at this point is if somebody is truly allergic to a vaccine/has no immune system whatsoever/other medical reason that would prevent vaccination. I can't with religious excemptions anymore because too many of the anti - vax crowd is to eager to use those religious exemptions to get out of vaccinating their kids.

    Herd immunity protects everybody and can at least slow down the tide of drug - resistant diseases and viruses.

    And unfortunately with Jenny McCarthy now one of the hosts of The View, the anti - vax movement is likely to get worse.
    Last edited by Juliet316, Jul 20, 2013
  6. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 10
    I will say that there are legitimate reasons for religious exemptions in the US -- I happen to think those people are only hurting themselves, but the religious reasons behind it are sound. Also, those people are a very, very, very small minority of people and shouldn't affect herd immunity at all -- only the small enclaves of religious people for the most part.

    However, I think they should be more stringent -- I know many people who claim the religious exemptions and are not religious, which really gets my goat. If I could excise all of those people from the population myself, I would.
  7. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 9
    You know better than that, David. People who exempt themselves are harming more than themselves-- they can harm a much larger population, particularly those whose immunity has worn off. The elderly are particularly vulnerable.
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  8. Dingo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2001
    star 5
    In order for "herd immunity" to hold, you need at least a 90% vaccination rate. Any exemption from vaccination should require good reasoning behind why.

    I'd have a lot to say about the ill-informed and illogical anti-vaccination group when I have the time to say something properly.
  9. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 10

    I'm not disputing that, KW, only that there are valid and legitimate reasons for religious exemptions in the US -- and those people generally tend to stay amongst themselves, other than Christian Scientists. Also, as a note, doesn't that make up only about 1-2% of the population in the US (well enough for herd immunity)?

    Personal disclosure: I'm obviously a self-identifying Jew, but I'm heartily for vaccination -- as are most US Jews. The only "crazies" of my people are the super-duper Orthodox, I believe, which is ... a very small minority.
  10. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 9
    Two percent of our current population is around six million people. That is a lot. Now, I don't dispute that a majority of the people you speak of do stay amongst themselves, but there is another segment of the population (the one that Jenny McCarthy is speaking to) that most definitely does not do that and is as much a part of the general population as those of us posting here. That kind of exemption should be illegal, and prosecuted if necessary. It endangers the individual children and the larger population.
  11. SithLordDarthRichie CR Emeritus: London

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    In a nation like the US, where they are already really hung up about the government supposedly trying to take all their freedoms away, I don't think forcing everyone to have a vaccine is a going to go down well.

    And with the internet it is easy to look into any type of drug and see what is in it and whether it is safe. Most governments don't exactly have a great track record so can we be sure they are giving people a safe drug and not some dodgy untested thing a corporation leaned on them to have approved?


    I'm not saying mass immunisation is not a good idea, but there are a various factors you have to deal with.
  12. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 9
    It's more than a good idea-- it's necessary. The "well, we can't trust government" bit is just an excuse. There's a great way to improve safety, which is to increase funding for vaccinations and for oversight.
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  13. Juliet316 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 8
    And not for nothing, but school children (unless they have the religious and/or medical excemptions) have to be vaccinated for various diseases before the start of each school year.
  14. Rogue_Ten Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    yeah given the cultural context of a country where forced sterilization is a pretty damn fresh wound in the african american memory, i just cant get behind forcing predominantly black religious minority such as jehovah's witnesses, for instance, to have any sort of medical treatment or procedure. i think, like gun control, this is the kind of change that requires the snail's pace of cultural dialogue and change, rather than the comparatively faster legislative or judicial route

    also this sort of thing is where im particularly susceptible to slippery slope arguments, specifically with a view to immigrant rights and relations. very leery of this sort of thing

    any legislation with regard to public health that targets or disproportionately effects a minority population runs the risk of further alienating that group from the mainstream medical apparatus, potentially "driving them underground". it tends to do more harm than good in the long run, to the population concerned and the society in general
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Jul 20, 2013
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  15. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 10

    KW, you know I totally agree with you re: McCarthy. The only exemptions should be:

    1) Stringent religious exemptions (i.e. no people claiming it just because), and
    2) Immunodeficiency / proper medical reasons.

    That's it.

    Jenny McCarthy is a part of the problem and I hope that The View tanks because of it and she gets fired in disgrace (or publicly castigates herself on national TV).
    Juliet316 likes this.
  16. Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    The problem with religious exemption is that people can use it to just not vaccinate. There's a group of crazies down here erroneously called the Australia Vaccination Network. Recently the have told their members of a religion that didn't advocate medical interventions, including vaccination, and advised members to join this group.

    I think where I live has the right idea. From next year kids either have to be vaccinated when put ino daycare or have a doctor signed exemption as to why not. And vaccinations are free here, subsidised by the government. There's no reason why not.
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  17. Skywalker8921 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2011
    star 4
    When I was about 2 or 3 years old, I got the flu shot because the doctors told my parents I needed it. All three of us ended up sick as dogs that Christmas. The next year my parents said "Nope." I haven't had the flu shot since and haven't gotten the flu since either. The last time I was at a pediatrician before I turned 18, the nurse gave Mom a list of shots that I could have. Mom decided to only have me take one - the tetanus shot - and the nurse didn't press her. After we left Mom told me that if I had taken all the shots, I would have been like a walking wounded person.

    Obviously, babies and very young children need to be vaccinated for as many diseases as possible, but it still should be left up to the parents to decide if they want a particular vaccination or not. Vaccinations should not be mandatory for everyone, ever.
  18. Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    What I really hate about the anti-vaccination lobby is average people who think they know better than medical practitioners who have trained for years.

    Skywalker, a lot of vaccines are combined these days. Tetanus is usually combined with Diphtheria and whooping cough.
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  19. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 9
    Yes, they should be, for reasons mentioned above by several people. Most people simply do not have the medical training and expertise to make those decisions, and without either a genuine religious exemption or a doctor-approved exemption for clear medical reasons, vaccinations should be required.

    What you experienced could easily have been coincidence.
    Juliet316 likes this.
  20. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 10
    Out of curiosity, @KnightWriter -- what's your take on flu shots, being optional and all at the moment?
  21. Skywalker8921 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2011
    star 4
    Knight Writer, I respect your words, but it cannot be a coincidence that not only myself, but Dad and Mom as well - who did not get the flu shot - all got sick. I'm willing to grant that it could have possibly been a fluke, but they didn't know if it really was and didn't want to take the risk. Several of their friends who work it doctors' office have said they would not give their kids the flu shot either. I'm sorry, but vaccinations should not be mandatory. It's ridiculous i=to expect all of them to be so, and what if a kid develops a serious reaction to a mandatory vaccine?
  22. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 9
    In most years, I'm fine with them being optional. I don't get one myself, after all. I think that in the event of a major pandemic (like the 1918 flu), though, that would be different, and then I can see vaccinations being required.

    I'm sorry, but vaccinations should not be mandatory. It's ridiculous i=to expect all of them to be so, and what if a kid develops a serious reaction to a mandatory vaccine?

    Then the reaction is dealt with accordingly. All it takes for a once-eradicated disease to come back is a large enough foothold in the population. The flu shot is not on the same level as a measles vaccine. Millions of people get the flu every year, and that's to be expected. No one should be getting the measles in 2013.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jul 20, 2013
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  23. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Unlike MMR or tetanus or Hep B or chicken pox or whatever, the seasonal flu vaccine is worthless for the majority of the population and a waste of money. But it has a very low chance of making you sick, and even then it's usually mild symptoms like runny nose, and serious complications don't include actually getting the flu. And it's really, really ****ing stupid to refuse any routine vaccination. God.
    Last edited by Darth Guy, Jul 20, 2013
  24. Jabba-wocky Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Walker9, I guess I'm a little confused here. One person got the flu shot and three people got sick? Doesn't that suggest that it probably wasn't the shot? Not to pry into your personal life, but I don't quite see how we're supposed to put this information together.
  25. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    You can't get the flu from the vaccine, it's made from protein components of the viral coat itself, not whole viruses. It's biologically impossible.

    What happened to you and your family was very likely:

    a) you had all previously been exposed to the flu and got sick just after your vaccinations, before it had time to do its job

    b) caught another virus entirely, and had a stronger-than-usual immune response since your bodies were fighting two foreign invaders at the same time or

    c) a reaction to the vaccine (very unlikely, in my opinion).

    In fact, I would go so far as to say you probably picked up the flu virus at the doctor's office the same time you got the shot, since sick people tend to congregate where physicians are and the virus is airborne.

    And flu shots are mandatory in some places; most hospitals now require mandatory vaccinations yearly as a condition of continued employment. I've gotten them every year, despite being on Humira for Crohn's disease, because failing to do so puts my patients at risk. I'm not saying people shouldn't have a choice, but exemption should be the exception rather than the rule, and frankly, it oughta come with consequences.

    If you elect not to vaccinate your child due to non-physical reasons (and you know what they are), then your child should not be permitted to attend public school and put everybody else's children at risk

    Harsh? Perhaps. But necessary. We're talking about lives here.

    Peace,

    V-03