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Pro Vaccination

Image From: : Dr. Salk
I support the use of vaccines to combate viral diseases, microbes, pathogens and other sickness vectoring agents. Vaccines are not perfect, and some people are harmed by vaccines. Their overall effectiveness historically provides a lot of solid science from which to derive that the benefits of vaccination out weight the risks. Vaccines need further development to reduce their risks and increase their effectiveness.

Have you ever heard of Polio or Dr. Jonas Salk? People sure do seem to have short memories! Please go refresh your understanding before casting judgement against vaccination.

Each virus is unique, and they are constantly evolving/ changing. We have not and do not know how to develop vaccines for all virus that currently afflict mankind. Progress is being made however, and continued improvements with vaccines is possible with continued research, development and funding.

Most of the anti-vaccination propaganda I have heard online is based on fear, uncertainty and doubt. It reminds of of the irrational FUD I often run across regarding nuclear energy or gun rights. 

The facts are perfectly clear! Vaccines are not perfect. Some people will be harmed by vaccination. The vast majority of people that are vaccinated end up benefiting from the vaccination. Lets examine what a vaccine is and how it works.

"vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and "remember" it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it later encounters."

I understand that wikipedia is not a peer reviewed scientific source of information: it is crowd sourced!

You really want to take a look at the science?

So be it.

1. Vaccines are not effective forever after administration; they must be repeatedly used in order to remain effective as a prophylactic against the targeted disease agent.

Effectiveness of meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine 4 years after introduction
The Lancet, Volume 364, Issue 9431, Pages 365 - 367, 24 July 2004

2. Different vaccine routes of administration have different effective time windows and outcomes: but all routes of vaccine administration are effective at combating the viral agent: application of the vaccine is a regional issue, where each person has to consider their local viral problem and balance their choice by comparing the risks and benefits.

Typhoid fever vaccines: a meta-analysis of studies on efficacy and toxicity
BMJ 1998; 316 doi: 10.1136/bmj.316.7125.110 (Published 10 January 1998)

3. People with HIV can still benefit from vaccines to protect their immune system from other viral agents.

Immunization in children with HIV seropositivity at birth: antibody response to polio vaccine and tetanus toxoid.
AIDS (London, England) [1992, 6(12):1465-9]

4. The Polio vaccine development was not motivated by a profit seeking motif. 

Patenting the sun: Polio and the Salk vaccine : 1990 Book (ISBN 0688094945

5. The does of a vaccine must be carefully calculated to maximize safety and effectiveness.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Volume 102, Issue 4 , Pages 558-562, October 1998

6. The Flu- vaccines are very effective at protecting people Age 65 and older from the adverse heath impacts of influenza.
Vaccine Volume 20, Issues 13–14, 15 March 2002, Pages 1831–1836

I could keep posting scientific references and example about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines until a 300 page long dissertation on the subject resulted: but I will stop short of doing that as it is completely unnecessary. Even a cursory overview of the history of vaccines is sufficient to convey the functional utility, qualities, risks and benefits of vaccination.

Vaccines are not perfect: there is no free lunch of free for all in applied sciences. Theory and reality are often worlds appart, but the science behind vaccination is perfectly clear.

We have a lot more to learn in order to develop safer and more effective vaccines. We know that our current vaccines are less effective then they could be, but that with time and development they can be improved and refined the way that the polio vaccine was improved after decades of refinement.

We have a moral and ethical impetus to use the best science we have to combat the insidious toxic impacts of viral agents. The return on our investment in vaccines has been tremendously positive so far.

Jonas Salk was motivated by a desire to help people when he developed his vaccine for Polio. We can all learn something from his example. When people are motivated to create positive changes in the world for the sake of helping other people they will automatically become successful. When people focus on profit alone as their motif, they will fail like Enron, Worldcom, Madoff and so many other deranged greedy corporate schemes and people.

Even Islamic scholars and leaders have come out in support of vaccination. Many groups who initially oppose vaccines eventually end up supporting vaccination when they fully examine the history, science and facts about vaccination. No one here is saying that vaccines are perfect, they clearly need a lot of work. All I am saying is that vaccines produce a positive effect on society that outweigh their risks and costs.

I would argue that commercial nuclear power has had a net beneficial affect on the world because it displaced the burning of coal. If we had burned more coal and not gone with nuclear, the emissions from the additional burned coal would have released far more radioactive metals into the environments in which we live. Coal emissions are extremely toxic. The history of coal power is mared with one example after the other of toxic impacts. Nuclear power on the other hand has had a few sensationalized reactor accidents: while the vast majority of energy created by commercial nuclear fissions was created with a minimal carbon footprint and extremely limited emissions of other kinds, mostly related to the storage of spent nuclear fuels: which is a political issue as the spent fuel rods can be recycled into new fuel rods thousands of times. We can also use thorium instead or uranium for a far more abundant and less toxic nuclear fuel cycle.

Honest people with guns make everyone else safer. The police cannot be everywhere all of the time to protect the innocent from criminals. In a society where guns are illegal, only criminals and police have guns. In a society where guns are legal, every honest person has the option to take the power back from the criminals. We don't hear about the 99.99% of the time that responsible gun owners use their guns for protection and safety; we only hear about the accidents and problems with guns. Outlawing guns because of gun related accidents and crimes would be like outlawing vehicles because people die in car accidents. A gun is no different from a knife or a bow and arrow. I could use a pen to defend myself by repeatedly stabbing the attacker with the pen. I could use a pencil to stop a rapist or abuser of women if I came upon a crime of that type. I actually did use my gun to stop a man from beating a woman. My girlfriend and I pulled my car into a gas station, and we saw a large Man repeatedly beating a medium sized woman with his fist. I got out of the car and demanded that he not hit her again, he ignored me. When I pulled out my 45 auto, cocked it, and pointed it at him, telling him that I would light him up if he struck her again, that got his attention and he stopped beating her. I then called the police. If every honest person that was capable carried a concealed weapon, they would make everyone else around them safer. I will passionately defend the right to bear arms along with the NRA and other Americans that understand that people kill people; that guns are just inanimate objects like pens that require a human operator in order to do anything.

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt is bad for everything. People need facts not dishonest manipulative rhetoric. People can only make truly informed choices when they have the truth to think about. We need to educate other people about vaccines: that is why I am publishing this article to my blog and thinking about it!

~Aaron Kenneth Schwarz


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