Monday, January 25, 2016

Considering the ethics of forced vaccination programs

 March 20, 2015
I am a school nurse, as well as a student of ethics.

As a school nurse, I am a representative of the State and am required to advocate for vaccines as part of my job description. I make sure all my schools comply with CA State vaccination mandates.
At the same time, I understand that every student at school is someone's family treasure, and we are charged with the duty of keeping the students safe while they are in school.
I don't doubt that many of the vaccines are efficacious and safe. I remember how in my childhood, everyone was forced to get a smallpox vaccine. I remember taking my own perfect infant daughter to be marred and scarred with a smallpox vaccine. But it wiped smallpox off the face of the Earth. It was a success!

But since the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment, it has been deemed unethical to force medical treatments upon people without their consent. Then we must weigh which is the higher good, to protect the public from deadly diseases, or to give people sovereignty over their own bodies, and those of their children?

The press release from Senators Feinstein & Boxer concerning Head Start students about preventing "deadly diseases like measles." The CDC reports that over 1/4 of children under 5 who contract the measles have to be hospitalized for diarrhea (24%), dehydration (21%), and (17%) pneumonia. No cases of encephalitis and no deaths were reported. NOT DEADLY! Yet, at least 3000 - 49,000 people die each year of influenza, and I don't hear anyone talking about forced flu vaccines. I think perhaps you are jumping on the measles panic bandwagon with this legislation to force vaccines on children without the parents' consent.

When smallpox and polio vaccines were invented, they were public health miracles. But now we have a government that cuts funding for FDA research, fast-tracks vaccines, and protects corporate rights more than human rights. Many people are suspicious of what the government sponsors these days because our members of Congress seem to have mostly sold out to corporate interests and no longer protect the People. We have been betrayed by our public servants.

Many people feel that natural immunity is superior to vaccinations. As such, they breast feed their infants to protect infant immunity for the first couple of years. They feed their children organic foods, live far from air pollution, and wash their hands before meals. They believe that good health is the best protection, and if their child catches a disease, it will be mild and provide a better lifetime immunity than a vaccine manufactured by a big pharmaceutical corporation interested in maximizing profits. Considering how our government has betrayed the People time and again, many people prefer good health and natural immunity to injecting manufactured serums into their precious children.

I don't know what is right. Historical vaccination programs have been a boon to worldwide public health, but never before have world governments been as influenced by profiteering corporations as they are today. To me, informed consent is the most ethical thing to do. I can't bear the karma of forcing parents to vaccinate their children against their wishes. I just give them the facts and let them decide.

I suggest you get off the measles panic bandwagon and stay off the annual pandemic panics and instead advocate for more money for schools to hire school nurses to teach health promotion. The fact is that most of the school nurses in northern CA shamefully have caseloads of 4000 students each and have no time to do prevention programs. School nurses advocating good health is no longer a priority in CA schools, and school nurses have had their hours cut and caseloads expanded as if they are being phased out as unnecessary expenses. Instead, the government is investing in vaccines. And you want to take away the parent's right to sovereignty over their child for a mild childhood disease like measles.   I don't think it is ethical.

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