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The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
diversion sign
tallguywrites
A fifteen page story about the MMR vaccination controversy. As ever, I'm sure a few spelling errors have slipped past me. Feel free to point any out so I can correct them.

The reference links for the strip are in the next blog entry.

Now! Let's have a heated debate!

2013 update. Since I wrote this blog entry, this cartoon strip as well as many others on such subjects as homeopathy, chiropratic, evolution, and the supposed NASA Moon hoax landings, have been published in a book: Science Tales in the UK (Myriad Edtions) and How To Fake A Moon Landing in the US and Canada (Abrams). Here's the link to my main blog.

1 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story



2 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

3 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

4 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

5 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

6 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 7 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 8 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 9 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 10 Vaccination Scandal Story

mmr 11 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 12 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 13 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 14 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 15 Vaccination Scandal Story

I am Darryl Cunningham and this is my main blog.


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Parents should absolutely be "coerced" into vaccinating their children. The same way people should be "coerced" into driving the speed limit, into not smoking in hospitals, and into not driving while inebriated. An unvaccinated individual poses a very real threat to the lives of other people, especially the very young, old, or immunosuppressed, and it is the height of selfishness to think that one's own offspring should be excluded from a very important preventative public health measure.

Hi CarmenWoods - The problem your attitude has is, it's illegal in most countries.

It is actually illegal in my country (NZ) to perform a medical procedure on a human being without their consent. As of at least yesterday, vaccination was, and remains, a medical procedure.

So whether you believe it is in for "the greater good" or not, what you're suggesting is the legal equivalent of sterilisation of the mentally ill and other similar "greater good" ideologies.

It's not so long ago that to decide not to circumcise your son was considered unacceptable, and medical grounds were given for routine circumcision. Now the tables have turned on that issue, it seems, and the medical fraternity seems to believe generally that circumcision causes more harm than good.

But for me, I believe that people have the right to choose whether they are vaccinated, whether they are sterilised or lobotomised or whatever, and certainly I do not want government or medical officials forcing me to choose for my child.

Medical understanding is changing all the time, as new evidence comes to light. But if there is one thing I *HOPE* we have learned, it is not to force our beliefs upon others.

What's legal can change as people recognize deficiencies in public policy. And the tired canard of "science changes, so we can discount science" is disingenuous. Asimov's The Relativity of Wrong is a good illustration of this. The benefits of vaccination have been proven time and again since the practice's inception. And frankly, your equating vaccination to lobotomies is despicable.

For me, sure, people may have the right to choose not to be vaccinated. But they should face criminal penalties as severe as those for people who *CHOOSE* to drive while inebriated and get caught. Penalties such as being prohibited from holding jobs that involve contact with minors, for example. Being prohibited from working in any medical profession, for another. Requiring them to inform daycares or children's exrtacurricular groups of their unvaccinated status so that those organizations can *choose* to decline them service due to the danger they present to other children. And if they want to enjoy state-provided public schooling, but don't want to vaccinate their children? Too bad. They can *choose* to send them to a private school that accepts disease-carriers.

I can choose to smoke in a hospital, but I would rightfully be thrown out when someone catches me. Choosing not to vaccinate is a direct equivalent, and the irresponsible and selfish parents who think they deserve to ride easy on the herd immunity of those who do care about public health should face all the disapprobation we can heap on them.

Being in an interconnected society beings as many responsibilities as it does privileges. Too many people want to benefit from the privileges and shirk their social responsibilities. "Freedom" is a nice rallying call, but our freedoms should not extend to visiting harm or the threat of harm onto other people, and one of our most important responsibilities should be making certain that our actions do not threaten to harm others.

I am not an anti-vaxer. I am simply a mom that questions. To forcibly vaccinate anyone is wrong, wrong, wrong. There have been real incidents of harm done to children via vaccines. Yes, they do help, agreed. But they also have the potential to harm. Look at the rotavirus, DTP and other vaccines that have caused harm and then were withdrawn and reformulated. They are not without risk. Yes, risk can sometimes be overstated. But I am not giving my son a Hep B shot at infancy, he can get that later. No one in my family has Hep B, so he isn't at risk, and so we wait. To say that everyone getting the shot covers everyone, is false. We all know that some vaccines are more successful than others, even with 100% vaccination rate, there is a smaller percentage of people who actually show immune response.

Years ago, my doctor pressured me into giving my 1 yo chicken pox vaccine. She said he would never need it again when I asked her how long the vaccine would last for his immunity. I was worried. Worried that perhaps after 20 years his immunity to chicken pox would wane and he would be most at risk of getting chicken pox as an young adult with no health insurance. He would have no money to pay for a booster. Sure enough, less than a year later new recommendations came out that kids needed to get it twice. So she was wrong, I was right. I am attempting to let him get it naturally at this point, because he will have lifetime immunity then. We are very careful with being sure that we don't expose others who are at high risk with chicken pox exposure.

All this to say, it's not so clear cut as force everyone to get shots and the world is better off. For my child at this point, polio vaccine isn't needed as polio in the western hemisphere is non-existent. I know, some of you will say, but, but, there's always the chance. But at this point the risks of the vaccine are higher than the risks of my son being infected with polio in the US.

she was wrong, I was right.

Hmm no she wasn't wrong, she was basing her opinion on the facts of the time, you say so yourself 'later in the year new recommendations came out'.

I am not an anti-vaxer. I am simply a mom that questions.

Uh-huh. And the "just a mom" stance gives you both an air of ASS-umed moral superiority, because we all know that reproducing makes you a "better person"; and a pretense that you're not actually challenging the vast body of scientific knowledge with no evidence, just personal anecdotes, which are not the singular of "data."

As for "just asking questions" in your manner, there's a delightful term for that.

For my child at this point, polio vaccine isn't needed as polio in the western hemisphere is non-existent.

Because of vaccinations. The more children who go unvaccinated, the better the chance polio will come back. But, then again, as long as your little precious is OK, or seems OK, everyone else's can suck it, right? Typical.

But at this point the risks of the vaccine are higher than the risks of my son being infected with polio in the US.

Gee, could that be because in the past everyone VACCINATED against it?

"All this to say, it's not so clear cut as force everyone to get shots and the world is better off."

This looks pretty clear-cut to me.

(Deleted comment)
He probably was serious when he said it, but I admit I have difficulty TAKING it seriously.

when someone doesn't vaccinate, they force their beliefs on everyone around them.

It is actually illegal in my country (NZ) to perform a medical procedure on a human being without their consent.

it's not illegal if they're incapable of consenting. We're talking about vaccinations of children. children are incapable of consent. Yet obviously, we would often say that medical procedures should be performed on children.

Vaccination is one of those times. Proven benefits, no downside, and lack of vaccination harms others.


certainly I do not want government or medical officials forcing me to choose for my child

Having to choose things for your children is what being a parent is all about. And protecting children from their parents when necessary is part of what government is about.

STICKYMUSIC:It is actually illegal in my country (NZ) to perform a medical procedure on a human being without their consent.

EYELID: it's not illegal if they're incapable of consenting.

Sorry, it is. Check your laws, but in my country (NZ), THANKFULLY it is illegal to perform a medical procedure on a human being without their consent, or the consent of their legal guardian. I believe this is also the case in the US, which is where I am assuming you're writing from? It is certainly the case throughout most of the developed world, where fairly solid human rights laws are in place.

We (NZ) are not a fascist dictatorship, and the US isn't quite there yet, either. What you're suggesting is inherently dangerous to human rights. It worries me.

I can accept your stance that vaccination is Good And Wonderful[TM], but I absolutely reject your suggestion that we have the right to perform medical procedures on people without their consent.

What next? Is using mentally impaired people as medical guinea pigs acceptable? If its for the greater good, your argument would seem to suggest that that would be just fine. One could argue that not doing it harms others, through lack of medical knowledge and understanding.

And besides, what do the rights of one human matter, when there is the "greater good" and "herd health" to consider?

We'll have to agree to differ on this one, but for now at least, what you're advocating is illegal and yes, in my country you would get successfully sued if you were a medical practitioner, or you might even go to jail.

For now, my view on vaccination is that I will and have vaccinated my children and myself against some diseases, but not others. It is up to me, as guardian of my own body and legal guardian of theirs, to decide what medical procedures we will accept. Not, thankfully, yours or anyone else's.

If you thought I am anti-vaccination, you are quite wrong. And I do not believe vaccination causes autism.

But I am absolutely, positively, pro human rights. And as we seem to disagree on this big issue, I can't see any point in discussing the issue further. We're at an impasse.

Thanks for your time.

but in my country (NZ), THANKFULLY it is illegal to perform a medical procedure on a human being without their consent, or the consent of their legal guardian.

"OR THE CONSENT OF THEIR LEGAL GUARDIAN."

You cannot obtain the consent of an infant. It is NOT POSSIBLE.

And the consent of their "guardian" is NOT THE SAME THING. You are equating them, and that's obviously disingenuous - if not hypocritical.

Another person cannot consent "for you". I'm sure that if I appointed someone else to make decisions over YOUR body, you would protest saying that their consent is not your consent.

If you were true to your principles, you'd be saying that we should never perform any proceedure on children at all, because we obviously can't obtain their consent. But you're not saying that.

What you are advocating IS doing things to children WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT, only you're trying to pretend you're not.

It's perfectly legal, in NZ or elsewhere, for people to make medical decisions for children.

Edited at 2010-05-26 11:19 pm (UTC)

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