Vaccinations and the Law

I’m going to keep this brief. For the record, I have no children but I think parents should have the final say over what happens to their children, not the State. Also, I realize that much of the following argument is hypothetical. Anyway, if the vaccines work, the only people affected by an outbreak will be those who opted not to be vaccinated. That’s their choice and their repercussion. If the vaccines don’t work, then there is no need to impose them. The only other possibility is if the vaccines positively influence statistical data. For example, suppose without vaccines the rate of infection is 39 out of 100 (note: this is totally made up data), but with vaccines only 13 out of 100. I’ve never trusted statistics because all humans are different. Suppose 3 out of 100 people react poorly to a vaccine and it actually increases the odds of those 3 people to get the disease while decreasing the odds for everybody else. Mandating vaccinations in such a case helps the population, but screws over those 3 people, and a result like that might not show up in statistical analyses. Of course, the above argument is futile: Our society is slowly moving to Scientific Totalitarianism and I, at least, see no way to stop it.

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6 thoughts on “Vaccinations and the Law

      1. Since I work in health care, that’s my boundary at work. But it saddens me deeply every time we have had to send a kid to the hospital and quarantine their family because they hold some woo-woo belief about vaccines we aren’t allowed to push them toward taking. We provide the true info, and some people choose to ignore the science, and all we can do is try and save them once they get pneumonia or other opportunistic infection. I HATE that part of my job.

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      2. I don’t work in healthcare. I studied philosophy and math in college. For myself, I would probably go with what the science prescribes, but I would insist that the final decision rests with me and not my doctor. As for how effective the science is, it is something of an enigma to me. It is better than mere opinion, yet not guaranteed with certainty. I would rather call scientific “knowledge” something else like “well-justified rational belief.” It may seem like a tiny adjustment, but I believe it is an important one. Science has a history of repeatedly proving itself wrong as more facts come in and are analyzed. I read recently that a new theory is saying that The Big Bang never happened. In the 1950’s doctors appeared in cigarette ads. Currently, I don’t know what the scientific opinion of the health effects of eggs is because it has changed several times. I’m sure there are other examples. Anyway, as a result, I’m kind of of the school that “The science is never settled.” That said, I am sorry for your pain, but I think the decision you described does rest with the family in question, and not the medical community.

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  1. I agree with you, philosophically. We also agree that science is a process, and newer, better proven info replaces old. Our licenses do not allow us to “push” patients toward any treatment. Anyone can refuse a treatment with or without giving a reason. We require a waiver against liability to be signed if patients refuse tests or treatments against medical advice in any serious situation, because families of patients who die or suffer damage often turn right around looking for someone to blame and sue even when the choice was theirs. Some doctors now refuse to accept new patients if they won’t vaccinate. The clinic where I work is more pragmatic about that. One of our most important functions is to help educate our patients so they can make informed choices.

    I also agree the responsibility lies with families. I just dislike the fact that they bear terrible guilt when decisions they make with good intention leads to a death or permanent disability. Every medical decision we make weighs risk vs. benefit. We can’t “save” every patient, nor do we expect to be able to. Diseases are always easier to cure if caught and fought at an early stage though.

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