General Question

Caravanfan's avatar

How do you feel about those who think that vaccines should be a personal choice?

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68 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

Cool.. Don’t get them. Just home-school your little petri dishes.

chyna's avatar

I do not think that vaccines should be a personal choice. There is no way to keep your unvaccinated child locked away from other children and when they get measles, chicken pox or other viruses that were essentially done away with years ago and pass it to other kids, they are likely killing children whose parents are doing the right thing by vaccinating their kids.
I do not think it has been proven that vaccines cause autism in kids. I just saw a segment on TV that they are now blaming pesticides.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Vaccines have been shown to prevent diseases.

Witch doctors need not apply !

seawulf575's avatar

I guess I see that it should be a personal choice. I know the argument is that unvaccinated children will come in contact with other children. But if the other children are already vaccinated, it shouldn’t matter. And if they aren’t, then those parents also made the choice to pass on vaccines. But I really don’t like the idea of medicines being forced upon our nation. They are available for use…that should be enough. I don’t get a flu shot. The reason is that I don’t believe in them. They are designed based on what is thought to be the most likely strains of flu. If another strain comes along or if one of the known ones mutates a little, the shot is useless. Meanwhile, every time I have gotten a flu shot, I have gotten the flu shortly thereafter. So I see it as I can get the shot and get the flu or don’t get the shot and take my chances.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

No because some of us might not be human. Medication might adversely effect them. Other than that I believe that vaccines should be mandatory. Or at least free and strongly encouraged. I refused 30 years ago and finally got caught up last year.

JLeslie's avatar

I think parents should have the right to delay or refuse at least some of the vaccines. Vaccinations in the US is over 90% of children still get the full schedule of recommended vaccinations. It is not a huge problem. Some cases of disease happen in vaccinated people, although measles vaccine is overall extremely effective.

Some of the people freaking out about children not being vaccinated need to be boosters themselves! And, haven’t bothered, so the hypocrisy is a little annoying in those situations.

I absolutely think the government should put out a vaccine schedule, and doctors should give them routinely, and our government should combat false information regarding vaccines, but I still am ok with waivers.

My mother worked in vaccinations, and if she told me not to give my kid a particular vaccine I wouldn’t. She’s pro-vaccine, but doctors suck at knowing contraindications. When I was a fertility patient they tested me for rubella immunity, and she told me don’t let them give you the shot if you’re low, and I wouldn’t have, but she is completely in favor of immunizing children for rubella.

Measles is EXTREMELY contagious. 100 people is very low considering how contagious it is.

janbb's avatar

Yes, getting vaccinated is something we do to protect ourselves and others; herd immunity is a proven concept. It is part of the special snowflake mentatity to opt out.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb How is it snowflake mentality? I’m not arguing, I think I don’t fully understand how to use the term snowflake, or how it’s used by others anyway. I never say it.

janbb's avatar

I don’t use it in a political sense ever but in this context, I mean that parents think that their child is so special and their needs are so unique that they shouldn’t get vaccinated.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

They should be a personal choice. They are a personal choice. Why do the people who think they should be mandatory care whether everyone gets them or not? Get them if you want them. You’re protected.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

To opt out is not snowflake mentality. It is freedom in action.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have mixed feelings. I don’t like the idea of forcing them on anyone and I can see scenarios where the safety profile of certain vaccines or combinations of them can come into question prompting some to opt out. I don’t think we should take that option off the table, it’s not the place of gov’t to do so anyway. I think it’s irresponsible to shun them completely but I’m not convinced all are necessary like flu shots every year even though I get one myself every year
I do think we need to push back against the conspiracy opportunists who spread bad information and cause people to get the wrong idea.

kritiper's avatar

They’ve got shit for brains. Vaccines are for everybody, and they protect everybody. Anyone who doesn’t get one, and/or is opposed to the idea, threatens the safety and general well being of all.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I am split on the subject.
While I believe choice is important, by making them mandatory we have to commit to providing them somehow for those who can’t afford them.

There are so many aspects to the topic.

filmfann's avatar

People who don’t immunize their children are putting mine at risk.

zenvelo's avatar

If you don’t vaccinate your kid, fine. But if he gets sick, you get to stay home and treat him, no hospitalization, no doctor visit. Your personal choice, but don’t be a burden on society.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Don’t be silly @filmfann. If yours are immunized you needn’t worry.

Caravanfan's avatar

@MollyMcGuire What if @filmfann‘s children are immunocompromised and vaccines are less effective. Would you be okay in harming @filmfann‘s children because of your personal choice?

zenvelo's avatar

@MollyMcGuire Not if they are too young to be immunized yet. Some vaccines aren’t given until a child is a toddler or older.

Caravanfan's avatar

@zenvelo is correct. Vaccines start at 2 months of age and they’re not fully vaccinated until well after that.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am in favor of wholesale vaccination. However, if a parent feels uncomfortable with it and believes there is a danger, they should be required to complete an educational program that examines BOTH sides of the issue before granting a waiver.

raum's avatar

If your choice only affects your person, then it’s a personal choice.

But when your choices can affect other people, no. It should not be your personal choice.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

That is just an infringement. In the end I, the parent, am going to do what I want to do for my children. To put me through a bunch of propaganda “education” is ludicrous.

YARNLADY's avatar

@MollyMcGuire There is a great difference between education and propaganda. One does not equal the other.
Every responsible parent wants what is best for their children, and we achieve that by making sure we are fully informed through reputable sources.
I hope you do not truly mean “do what I want to do” includes willfully harming your children.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
JLeslie's avatar

Some Americans don’t vaccinate their children because the vaccine program here has been so good for so many years those parents haven’t seen these diseases all around them. If half the neighborhood children had polio, they would be running to get the vaccine for their kids. Their ignorance is bliss. They don’t understand how horrible these diseases are, because we don’t deal with them much, and then they have someone telling them vaccines are poison and the diseases aren’t that bad. Some of the diseases are very bad. I can’t inagine not vaccinating for polio, tetanus, pertussis (that is popping up a lot again) and MMR.

Also, I think childhood vaccinations are very cheap or maybe even free under Medicaid and most insurance plans? Aren’t they? I might be wrong about this.

@ARE_you_kidding_me I don’t think flu shot is mandatory for children. It is mandatory in some states for hospital workers from what I understand, which I am against. People complain about it anyway, I don’t know if they just feel that way. When I worked in a hospital I waived it. We did all have to be TB tested, that I’m in favor of.

YARNLADY's avatar

@JLeslie In California vaccinations are mandatory for any child attending the public schools.

chyna's avatar

@JLeslie I work in a hospital and the flu shot is mandatory for all hospital workers. Why are you against it? If a patient with a compromised immune system comes in and a hospital worker has the flu and comes to work anyway the patient is even more compromised. No hospital needs the reputation that its workers are passing the flu to patients.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna First I’ll answer your question with a question. Does your place of work forbid employees with colds, strep throat, pink eye, illnesses with a bad cough, and sinus infections to go to work? Do they insist you stay home, and other employees cover for you?

Now, my answer. I don’t take the flu shot, because I don’t want to. I don’t want to be ordered to. I had a bad reaction to a tetanus shot last time I had one, and I don’t feel like taking unnecessary risks. Mind you, I would take a tetanus shot again if my titre gets low, and I would take a flu shot if there was an especially dead flu going around like wild fire. I’ve even recommended to my husband he take the flu shot, because he seems to be more susceptible. My mother worked for the FDA in vaccinations, she collected the adverse reaction report, and she doesn’t take the flu shot. Infer what you will from that. My dad does get the flu shot, because of his specific increased risks.

I am in favor of hospitals systematically administering the flu shot for free to its employees, I just want people to be able to refuse it. Most people won’t refuse it. The TB test should be mandatory, either the test or a chest X-ray for those who are positive for everyone.

canidmajor's avatar

The Q is misleading as stated. Are you asking about all persons? I think that the standard should be different for people who are unable to choose for themselves, either legally (children) or because of a lack of understanding of the consequences (persons who are permanently non compos mentis for whatever reason).

I feel that an informed, mentally competent adult should have the option to make a choice, recognizing that there may be consequences. The others, I believe, should be compelled to be vaccinated unless there is a sound medical reason for not doing so.

Patty_Melt's avatar

This is a question we have discussed a number of times already. Still very good points are made.
It is easy to see that there are some who believe very strongly in their point of view.
Many points have been mentioned that do deserve honest thought.
This is an impressive discussion. I am reminded now why I came back to Fluther.

chyna's avatar

First I’ll answer your question with a question. Does your place of work forbid employees with colds, strep throat, pink eye, illnesses with a bad cough, and sinus infections to go to work? Do they insist you stay home, and other employees cover for you?
@JLeslie They are required to wear a mask and gloves if they are sick.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna That’s good. Last time I went to the doctor she had a cold, and I wasn’t happy about it. She might have been in the 5th day and not contagious, I don’t know.

Some years the flu vaccine is very inaccurate and barely worth anything, and yet still doctors take care of sick people.

I would hope any hospital worker who was sick wouldn’t take care of any pt that has significantly compromised immunity like chemo patients, etc. Mask and gloves wouldn’t be enough for me to feel comfortable.

Personally, I think it’s medical people probably more at risk than anything. They put themselves in front of sick people every day. Surgeons literally, knowingly, put their hands in infected blood. I give them credit for it believe me. I view it as a very selfless act, even though I know not everyone is as “paranoid” about getting sick as I am.

snowberry's avatar

“Vaccination has been recommended for decades as the best way to protect yourself against flu, but it’s no silver bullet. The shot’s effectiveness varies from year to year, depending on the closeness of the match between that season’s viruses and the vaccine, which is usually reformulated each year. This winter in North America, its performance has been especially poor, leaving people more vulnerable to a virus that’s caused a spike in hospitalizations and deaths.” (regarding the 2018 flu shot)

In other words, don’t blame unvaccinated people if you get the flu anyway! (There are enough uninformed irrational people in the world already!)

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry You can’t compare flu vaccine to the childhood disease vaccines. Flu vaccine is never at the level of herd immunity while the others are.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie my RN daughter was required by her job to either get the flu vaccine or wear a suffocating mask all during her shift. She HATES taking the flu vaccine and resents the requirement. She usually toughs it out during flu season until the mask gets to be too much. She would much prefer the vaccine be a personal choice.

None of us EVER get the flu because we use excellent immune support (a lot of which is seen as quackery here).

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I was the one who said I think hospital workers should be able to opt out.

Most people don’t get the flu. It hits usually 5 -10% of the population each year, sometimes it spikes a little higher. There’s no way to really know that you all have better immunity than the average person. Not having had the flu in the last 30 years (I really doubt none of you have ever had the flu) doesn’t mean you won’t get it next year.

Meanwhile, the 2018 flu vaccine was barely effective, so it didn’t really matter if someone was vaccinated or not, they should have made everyone wear a mask with that logic. . Some years the guess is very good though.

I’m not trying to convince you to get the vaccine, like I said I don’t get it myself, but I also think be realistic. Don’t feel immune. I had the flu when I was 25 years old, and then again when I was 48. It took 23 years to get it again, and my husband had it 3 times during that time and I never caught it. You just never know.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I have never taken a flu shot other than when in the hospital one time they gave me the shot while asking if I wanted it. Never since either.

Caravanfan's avatar

@JLeslie IMO hospital workers who opt out should be fired.

ScienceChick's avatar

The flu shot is not the same as getting childhood shots for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Or tetanus, or polio. The flu shot, while not personally effective in avoiding every type of flu virus that goes around, does assist in some strains infecting multiple hosts and then, doing what it does, and that is evolve and spread some more. Flu strains are adaptive and we’ll never have a vaccine that is effective against all of them, but people who work in those ‘petri dish’ areas where they concentrate and mutate in their warm, obliging hosts, should be taking the inoculation because, while not totally effective like polio or small pox has been, it’s the best we got and, while it isn’t totally evident, it does help.

Some shots need to be mandatory, now more than ever. Measles, whooping cough (pertusis) and polio and rubella need to be on the list of mandatory. We haven’t wiped out polio yet, folks! There is also a shot against HPV now, so we do have a cure for that form of cancer, which is HUGE! Hepatitis A and B are also important. Hep A because the planet is getting crowded and has a more mobile population. Hep B because a small child infected can incur long term health problems. 90% of adults that become infected clear the infection themselves, but it’s totally avoidable, so there is no reason to take the chance. Also, if you are a woman of childbearing years, you need to make sure you don’t have Hep B. This is something on the screening list along with other STDs. (along with Hep C, but there is no cure for that one, I’m afraid)

Small children who aren’t finished with their full immunisation yet are particularly vulnerable. A visit from a cousin or friend who is vaccinated and carrying (incubating) a bacteria like pertussis, but is asymptomatic, will kill an infant or, at best, but the baby and family through agony. It happens far too much. Same with measles. The baby’s immune system isn’t built up yet with the vaccines, so THAT family that is trying to vaccinate their child against these diseases end up getting them anyway because people are walking petri dishes, spreading them around. So, it isn’t just the kids who’s parent’s have decided not in inoculate that are going to get sick. EVERYONE is going to have to keep their babies in the bubble for 3 years until their immune systems are fully inoculated. Just get immunised. If you don’t, you are a selfish asshole who can go live on your isolated ‘disease island’ somewhere.

JLeslie's avatar

@Caravanfan Well, that’s exactly what happens at some hospitals from what I understand, so you get your way.

But, you do realize last year was basically a year where there was almost no flu protection from the vaccine right? Still hospitals were running.

Most people will opt in for the free shot, you’ll still have high immunity in the hospital if the shot is good.

Most patients that are high risk get the shot themselves, like my dad, when his own wife doesn’t get it.

JLeslie's avatar

Just to add more information. From what I understand there is a high dose flu vaccine that has been developed. I haven’t asked my mom about it, I don’t know if it’s officially on the market yet. I also don’t know if they bothered to test a dose in-between. I think the high dose is 4 times the drug. I always wonder when I see things like that if double would have been enough. I’m hoping they tested double, and maybe they saw no significant change in protection.

JLeslie's avatar

@ScienceChick I’ve always wondered how infants are getting or giving Hep B? Blood transfusion? Rape? Biting? That one I have trouble understanding, I must be missing something.

ScienceChick's avatar

Imagine if there was a shot to protect everyone at birth from getting AIDS. That is basically the Hep B shot. Hep B isn’t as serious an illness, but it can be, especially if contracted as a child. Bites will spread Hep B. Adults can also get complications from Hep B. There is no reason to not protect yourself or your children.

seawulf575's avatar

So just a side thought: If you believe that childhood inoculations should be mandatory to help rid us of childhood diseases, do you also worry about illegal aliens bringing these diseases to this country? In some cases, these children have never been inoculated, nor have their parents. Aren’t they posing every bit as much of a threat as an unvaccinated native born child?

JLeslie's avatar

@ScienceChick I have no problem with vaccinating for Hep B to protect children, my little bit of hesitation is doing it the day the baby is born.

@seawulf575 The US government requires immunizations for people becoming citizens, I don’t remember if it’s for green cards too.

We have so much tourist traffic, my bet is that immigrants coming to live here are a small percentage to that.

Latin America does bring some Hep A and TB. Parts of Asia too. It’s why the border states were giving out the Hep A vaccine systematically before other states.

ScienceChick's avatar

@seawulf575 We take in refugees and health screenings are done as a matter of course. I’m more worried about young moms with google degrees who refuse to inoculate their kids. The kids, by the way, from Syria are fully inoculated. They actually had a working health system until their region was destabilised.

ScienceChick's avatar

@JLeslie It’s easier done when their immune system is in full blast when they are babies.

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JLeslie's avatar

Because two weeks later their immune system is so different.~

All you adults so very worked up need to go get your titres or boosters done. You might be part of the group not protecting others. I do check my tetanus titre since I had a bad reaction, but that is contagious person to person. I’m thinking about getting the pertussis vaccine, since that vaccine isn’t great to begin with, not like measles vaccine for instance, which is very close to 100% once you get the full series, but can wane too.

My guess is most Americans over the age of 40 are not immune to Hep A or Hep B, unless they traveled to exotic places and bothered to get their shots. Even if they got the shot years ago, immunity might have waned, but most probably never were inoculated.

Edit: I looked it up. Hep B is given at birth to counter for mother to infant transmission during childbirth. I guess it can be effective a high percentage of the time, but not 100%. They could bother to test the mother for Hep B I would think, but they don’t.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie and @ScienceChick you both dodged the question of illegals. These are not refugees. They are not visitors that entered the country legally. They are not actually trying to be come citizens. There are no controls on them. And they make up a group of about 20M people.

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JLeslie's avatar

^^Oh, they would love to be able to become citizens. If you gave them an easy path to some sort of paperwork we could test them.

Yes, they can bring diseases with them, but like I said tourists can too. Way more tourists among us. Plus, many enter legally and overstay and become illegal.

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ScienceChick's avatar

They check here for Hep B in the mother and they give the vaccine to the babe in any case. Don’t they do a STD panel with the first appointment after confirming pregnancy? I forget that the prenatal care in the US is not equivalent to what we get here and the infant mortality is so high there.

JLeslie's avatar

@ScienceChick they do do some checking for STD’s I’m not sure what the entire panel includes. I guess we could look it up on Quest’s website. Even if they check for Hep B they automatically give all newborns the vaccine. Maybe premies are an exception? I don’t know.

Infant mortality isn’t so high here, it’s just higher. It’s shameful, for sure the US should be better, but it’s not dramatically much higher like people make it seem. It’s awful, I don’t excuse it, because even 1 more unnecessary death of a child is unacceptable, but people use percentages rather than numbers, and the percentages can sound really bad. Like we might have 100% more infant deaths than your country (i’m making it up, I don’t know the exact numbers) which might be your country is 3 per 1,000, and ours is 6.

I don’t know if maybe the US is less likely to abort when there are serious health issues with the fetus compared to Western Europe? For sure part of the US problem is probably poverty, and probably young pregnant women not getting proper care leading to low birth weights and other complications. Plus, the US has a high immigration rate from poor countries, I think we have discussed this before, and they are less likely to seek medical help, especially if they are here illegally. We border the developing world, my guess is the country you are in doesn’t. I don’t remember where you live.

ScienceChick's avatar

@JLeslie I’m in Europe. We have borders with many developing countries. But the health care system works differently.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought you are way up north? Are your countries in Europe that are closer to the borders with developing countries higher infant mortality rates? I don’t know if they are, I’m just curious.

I think socialized medicine in the western world is better for lower infant mortality, I’m not arguing that. Like I said, America should be lower, it’s a problem.

Edit: Wikipedia with stats.

Dutchess_III's avatar

To me, it’s disgusting that a person who doesn’t have to worry about contracting those kinds of diseases, because they’re already vaccinated, would decide it’s OK to expose their own helpless kids to the risk.

JLeslie's avatar

^^In their head they think they are protecting their kids.

ScienceChick's avatar

This is what happens when people think it only has to do with them and their children.

Every death is on Wakefield’s head. I hope there is a hell he could rot in.

JLeslie's avatar

@ScienceChick It would be interesting to know if after articles like this if some of the unvaccinated young adults are bringing themselves in.

I would assume GP’s in the UK are looking at vaccination records when they see a patient to give recommendations. Isn’t the information all centralized there?

The UK still probably is having more deaths from chicken pox I bet than measles, since practically none of the population is vaccinated for that, unless it changed recently. I wonder if the UK is rethinking their decision not to vaccinate for varicella now that the vaccine has been out quite a while. Is your country vaccinating for chicken pox? In America, all the parents I know who refused the shot purposely get their children infected as kids, or vaccinate if the children haven’t had chicken pox by the time they are teens. Vericella is everywhere. I live in a 55 and up community, I bet at any given time a percentage of us have active shingles. I just got through another bout 3 months ago.

ScienceChick's avatar

Chicken pox isn’t nearly as deadly, so no.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Ugh, I can’t find stats easily on UK deaths from chicken pox. I still bet it is higher than measles the last 10 years since there still are relatively few cases of measles. Plus, the article below says it’s likely undereported how many deaths are related to vericella. I personally know someone who was working in a hospital where a 32 year old man dies from chicken pox. He had been healthy otherwise. It’s rare that people get seriously ill or die from chicken pox, but not as rare as people might think.

It’s also risky for pregnant women both mother and fetus if the mother comes down with chicken pox during pregnancy.

ScienceChick's avatar

I don’t deal with paediatric medicine, so I don’t know. I also didn’t know that the shot was only available for £250 privately and not offered to by the NHS. That sounds very off and wrong. I’m old. No kids. Friends with kids have never had issues. My family has never had issues. This sort of story has not hit my radar and at a guess, I’d say, sadly, it boils down to statistics. The number of fatal cases just isn’t significantly high a percentage of infected, where as measles has a higher number of complications and deaths, per infected. It’s horrible that it comes down to numbers when it comes to insurance, but that’s exactly how risk assessment and insurance actuary tables work. I’d also guess that you must be right that the death and complications of chicken pox has been higher in the past, with everyone inoculated against measles. But again, it falls down to risk assessment and the percentage of infected that die. Chicken pox, statistically, is a less deadly childhood illness.

I found a statistic for the US. In all of the US, before 1995, when the immunisation became available. between 100 and 150 people died as a result of chicken pox. Before vaccine licensure in 1995, ∼4 million cases per year resulted in ⩽9300 hospitalizations [1] and 100 deaths each year

With measles: Here are the statistics from the CDC. Before the vaccine in 1963— 3 to 4 million cases occured. 500,000 cases were reported to the CDC resulting in:
48,000 hospitalisations
4,000 cases with encephalitis (brain swelling)
450 to 500 deaths

So, while we are trying desperately to crush out measles and people are just ignoring the science, there is also the opportunity to lessen the chances, albeit slimmer, of dying of chicken pox. I don’t think they’re going to listen, but we are due for a culling, I suppose.

‘Doctor, Doctor! Should I vaccinate my kids?’ Doctor answers: ‘Only the ones you love.’

JLeslie's avatar

^^I think the UK chose not to vaccinate for CP, because they believe more people will get shingles and also the expense of the vaccine.

I don’t know about other European countries? Whether they vaccinate for vericella. I’ve known about the UK not vaccinating for years.

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