Vaccines continue to be controversial these days and there appears to be a war between those who feel vaccines are safe for all people and those who don’t. One faction advocates legislating mandatory vaccines for all and resorting to tyrannical legislation that removes all religious and parental humanitarian rights. The opposing faction is fighting for their medical freedom to make informed choices about vaccines because vaccines can and do have adverse health consequences for some people.
To understand the debate you need to know the history of vaccines. Deadly plagues were common for many years and something to be feared. It was noted that people who survived a deadly virus were often immune for the rest of their life. In 1796, Dr. Edward Jenner was the first to develop a technique called variolation, which protected many people against the serious consequences of smallpox epidemics. As medical science evolved, the modern day version of vaccination was born. While many people were protected from deadly diseases, it was also well know that some people were debilitated or died after vaccinations. Parents were often faced with the dilemma of taking a chance their child would survive a deadly disease or risk injury from a vaccination. By the early 1900s, many governments began to force vaccinations upon its citizens because public health officials felt the benefits of vaccines outweighed the risks. Governments also protected vaccine manufacturers financially by preventing vaccine ingredient disclosure and lawsuits. Many doctors and mothers resisted forced vaccinations and this topic is explored in George Bernard Shaw’s 1909 book “The Doctor’s Dilemma”.
Fast forward to today. It seems much of vaccine history is again repeating itself. While vaccination techniques have become much safer and adverse events have decreased, they can still cause death and disability in some people. The average person assumes vaccines are safe and will not cause severe side effects. But that is not an assumption people should make. So what should a person do about having a vaccination that their doctor recommends or employer mandates? First, become educated. What we know about vaccines is that it does alter the immune system of a person. Charles Richet (1850 – 1935) and Dr. Clemens von Pirquet (1874 – 1929) subsequently showed in their research studies that vaccine injections also caused the first allergy epidemic in children. It was and is still well known that vaccinations, while protective for many people, have side effects ranging from mild (redness, swelling, fever) to rare reactions that are life threatening or debilitating. Adverse reactions often occur due to an underlying illness/disease or the vaccine antigen itself. Or it can occur in response to an adjuvant used in the vaccine solution. Adjuvants are an added ingredient that is used to promote a stronger immune response that increases the length of protection against a disease. Current research finds genetics and the microbiome may also have an impact on the ability to tolerate a vaccine safely. Before getting a vaccine, research vaccine ingredients and side effects and discuss them with your doctor. The National Vaccine Center is a great website to learn about vaccines. This link discusses common vaccine ingredients you should know about:
Enter the new area of vaccinomics and adversomics. Vaccinomics is the study of genetic and non-genetic factors that may impact how a person will react to a vaccine. The study of adversomics strives to develop a strategy that reduces the risk of adverse events by diagnosing potentially high-risk individuals so that modified vaccines can be developed and used in these individuals. Several recent studies find that individuals with the gene SNPs MTHFR and IRF1 had a significantly increased risk for adverse health reactions after receiving the smallpox vaccine. In two of these studies, between 19% to 52% of the study participants experienced an adverse health event. It is well known that small pox vaccines have a track record for increasing the risk for myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and myopericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart).
Vaccinomics and adversomics are still in their infancy as a science. But the potential to prevent or reduce adverse reactions to vaccines is great. The United States Court of Federal Claims, under the direction of the 1988 National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, provides a “no-fault compensation program” for death and disability from certain compulsory childhood vaccines. From October 1, 1988 through June 29, 2018 the court reports 18,280 injuries and 1,269 deaths from vaccines and has paid over $3 billion in claims. Unfortunately, much of the vaccine debate today has been politicized and pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers have been protected from responsibility for adverse vaccine events. Sadly many politicians, educators, healthcare professionals, doctors, and the general public are uninformed about the history of vaccines and the risks associated with them. As we come into the era of personalized medicine and learn more about our individual genetic susceptibilities, the hope is that vaccine debate will become objective and civilized as all science debates should be.
The mantra of medicine has always been “First, do no harm” and physicians, healthcare workers, governments, and employers should remember this when trying to force people to take mandatory vaccines. Informed consent and consumer medical choice is a win-win for everyone. Taking away a person’s medical freedom and Constitutionally guaranteed religious rights by forced vaccinations reminds me of the forced sterilizations by the U. S. government in the 1960s. It was morally and ethically wrong then as it is now, not to mention medical malpractice.