The recent news that hundreds of students in Ottawa have been suspended from school for not proving they’ve been immunized reminded me of what’s wrong with the thinking behind the whole effort. Or rather, the lack of thinking behind it.
I’m not going to go into what I think of immunizations themselves, just the argument behind legally requiring everyone to get them (which is not actually true, but why bother with facts or ask any questions?)
The best argument supporting immunization is: look at how far we’ve come and how many diseases we’ve virtually eradicated … introducing an unvaccinated child into a school potentially reverses all of that progress and puts everyone at risk!
So if we bring a kid with, say, polio into a school where all the other kids have been vaccinated, they’re all at risk of catching polio? In other words, the vaccine is so ineffective that the moment you sneak the bug back into the general population, it’s game over. So get your shots so that everyone’s protected!
I suppose one could make the argument that if you choose not to be vaccinated and subsequently contract the illness, you should have to pay for your own treatments. Harsh, and not something I would support (my tax money supports lots of chronically ill people and I think that’s just fine), but at least there’s a cold, logical connection there.
But to claim that the vaccinated population is at risk of contracting the very disease that they’ve been “protected” against by being exposed to said disease, however that happens, is such an idiotic, nonsensical, and backwards argument that it’s hard to believe that anyone could repeat it without bursting into laughter.
The other argument I often hear is that if we allow people to make choices for themselves, they will choose to abstain from vaccinations and we’re going to end up with a pandemic, essentially destroying our healthcare system, etc. Basically, it’s about money, and isn’t it ridiculous of us to expect to be taken care of by the government that takes so much of our money under the auspices of using it to take care of us? If it’s good for us, we should be forced into it, so it’s vaccinations, cigarettes, booze, and a dizzying array of “safe” pharmaceuticals and continued government vigilance for everyone!
If you believe that vaccinations are ultimately useful, I’m happy to support your right to that opinion, and I’m even willing to have a part of my tax money to provide you with vaccinations (in fact, this is happening without my consent anyways), should you choose to get them. Choice is the operative word here.
In the meantime, let’s not throw around these infantile arguments that do nothing but imply that we’re all complete idiots while we’re forced to succumb to them whether we like it or not. It adds insult to injury.
US Center for Disease Control Statistics (2006)