This is the most recent in a series of Los Angeles Times editorials vilifying Californians who question the necessity, safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and particularly of mandatory vaccination. This is not an especially well written article I think, but the L.A. Times is a pretty big stage - and this is a piece calling for action. I've watched several of these attack articles go by, and feel the need to respond.
Let's be clear : infectious diseases had already declined steeply, historically, before vaccines were introduced - this is a matter of public record. The reasons for this included improved nutrition, improved removal of garbage and sewage, availability of clean water, alleviation of poverty and awareness of the most simple and basic principles of personal hygiene. Any time these factors decline anywhere, it can be noted, disease returns. Public health officials are disingenuous to ignore this, and to insist vaccines defeated a wide array of diseases.
The killing illnesses of our time are actually not infectious ones, but chronic degenerative ones : heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and a large range of neurological and autoimmune diseases. Chronic illnesses like asthma and allergies, ADD, ADHD and autism have also increased enormously. A main concerns of people in the vaccine safety and choice movement, is that vaccines CONTRIBUTE to these illnesses. Certain scientific research and concepts not only suggest, but even predict this.
Vaccine safety testing, in the meantime, is almost never done by comparing a vaccinated and an un-vaccinated group ; but rather by comparing a group vaccinated with one vaccine with a group vaccinated with another vaccine. The few studies that have tracked vaccinated versus un-vaccinated people show a two to five times greater incidence of chronic illness, particularly autoimmune illness, in vaccinated groups. More and improved research is urgently needed. If the L.A. Times wants to be adamant about something, this would be a better choice !
I know that there are cases where vaccination is fully appropriate. But there are literally thousands of viral pathogens. Is it our strategy to create a vaccine for each of them ? Or should we learn to strengthen our natural human immune system to resist infection, and/or fight it off successfully with appropriate help ? A comprehensive, rather than single solution approach seems to be in order.
In the meantime, vaccine related injuries and deaths are being reported persistently. What if these most dramatic cases are just the tip of an iceberg ? Such concerns shouldn't be ignored, and those who hold them shouldn't be ridiculed. And the L.A. Times shouldn't be party to undermining a most basic right of citizenship - namely, the right to informed consent.
Jeff Smith RN
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Some thoughts triggered by the above article, and posted on my Facebook political commentary Facebook page, Election Conversation 2014. I welcome you to visit this page, check out the "About" ..... and if you like it, request to join !
This post comes from a somewhat different direction than usual, but still fits the theme of rights and "rights life" this page addresses. It touches on the issue of government regulation. Whether for reasons of greed, recklessness, ignorance or simple human carelessness, we do endanger each other ; and this can proceed even to to the point of extreme harm. Where there are patterns to be observed, or where harm can be predicted from certain actions, it's within the rights - and responsibilities - of government to establish rules and penalties. But the question is, how to do this effectively and efficiently, without creating yet other forms of harm, for instance to the parties regulated ?
Some of the most dangerous and destructive practices in our society today - for instance economic practices, and ones harmful to our health or environment - still escape our best efforts to regulate them ; while in other areas and for certain groups and people, regulations descend with crushing and stifling force. How do we find the golden balance ?
I'd like to see much more discussion - even a national contest with cash prizes - for solutions to the basic problems surrounding government regulations. How do we establish regulations with real teeth - but not cripple regulated groups with compliance costs ? How do we prevent concrete harm and promote responsibility, without treating people like imbeciles and taking away their dignity ? A few initial thoughts :
1) in cases where employers are mandated to educate workers on required behaviors, why not task the government to also create the educational materials (signs, training materials, online courses), and provide them to employers at the lowest possible cost ? One set of compliance tools, more or less, for an entire industry. Big savings for employers right there.
2) Allow employers tax credits for their employee compliance training expenses (e.g. paid employee time spent in mandated classes)
3) Where safety or access building features (e.g. for the disabled) are mandated, require these in new construction ; but in the case of retrofits, be highly generous with tax breaks.
These are just a few possibilities, but there really does need to be discussion on how to keep people safe, without bankrupting employers or others who produce products or provide services. We also need conversation about regulations in other areas which have less directly to do with economic life - for instance with health care and health products, and with education. How to regulate - or not - in order to protect not just safety and well being, but our CHOICE as citizens, and the necessary freedoms of the practitioner ? These are some of my thoughts - what are yours ?
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Jeff Smith RN, born 1950. A registered nurse since 1984 - but holistic in my outlook to health since probably around 1968. Living Waters Wellness considers not just the health of the physical body, but our soul and spirit, our social forms, our environment - and as a matter of fact, our whole earth. It's a new website, and a work in progress - but by all means, have a look around !