I was reading “Forced immunization challenges free thought,” an op-ed piece apparently about how requiring immunization… well, actually, what it’s about isn’t perfectly clear.
The author, talking about a bill in Vermont, seems to be saying that taking away parent choice in immunization is wrong because it is an undue limitation of freedom. The problem isn’t what the man is saying, but his lack of explanations and ultimately the resemblance of his piece to a rant.
He never explains or even mentions the name of the actual bill that “25 senators who initially voted to move this forward.” He doesn’t explain what the bill is about. He doesn’t provide a single source or link. He says:
These 25 people have essentially said you must believe what we believe or you will be — what, locked up? Separated from your children? Labeled as abusive? What?
Well really, what? What does the bill say? It’s not as if legislatures are able to pass blank bills and write in the law after it’s passed. Tell me what the bill says, even in your biased view. I’m sure it’s available information. Are you relying on another’s analysis of the bill? Have you read the primary text?
The op/ed piece reads like a useless piece of ranting. Never does the author give rational explanations. He just asks questions and tells his audience that he has chosen to risk his children’s health and the health of other children by not vaccinating his kids because he “has not shut down information” and hasn’t been convinced that vaccinating is better than not vaccinating.
The thing is, as much as I dislike holding this opinion, I think there is something valuable in exemptions from immunization for religious or philosophical reasons. I think the vaccine fight needs to be fought in society, not in government, but this man does a disservice to his anti-vacc opinion and his anti-government-intervention* opinions by not contributing to a rational discourse on the subject.
I think it’s interesting that he says he “has not shut down information,” but seems to be sadly uneducated about vaccines.
So what happens? What happens when a family like mine says we still don’t believe that vaccination is the best option for us? When a family like mine, who has not shut down information, says that we haven’t been convinced that vaccination is the right choice, but that we are open to hearing real data that supports vaccination because our primary concern is the life of our child.
The real data that is out there is overwhelmingly pro-vaccine. From countries all over the world the studies of vaccines are overwhelmingly positive. It sounds like he has shut down information. Perhaps he shut down information after the UK study linking autism and vaccines came out, but before that study was fully retracted and the lead researcher left the UK to escape his deservedly-bad reputation.
*in this case. I have no idea how he feels about other intervention. It’s irrelevant.