Vaccines

My thoughts on vaccines:

1.  I am not a physician.

2.  I have gladly had all vaccines I am aware of appropriate to my age and circumstances.  I have never refused a vaccine recommended to me, and I have sought several out.

3.  When rearing our children, my wife and I assured that our children had all vaccines as and when recommended by their pediatrician.

4.  To the best of my knowledge and belief, my young grandson has had all vaccines as and when recommended by his pediatrician.

5.  As a general rule, vaccines are highly beneficial to populations receiving them, and those vaccines successfully running FDA’s gantlet are extremely unlikely to harm any given individual.  The odds of being harmed by a vaccine are far less than those of winning the lottery, and winning the lottery is so remote as to make the lottery a tax on arithmetic ignorance.

6.  But vaccines may have seriously harmful effects on small percentages of recipients.  By a small percentage, I mean a number consisting of a decimal point with several zeros to its right before any integers occur.

7.  Given that the US population is well over 300 million, when you multiple even that small percentage times the total population, you will come up with some people who are adversely affected.  That’s simple arithmetic.

8.  But each of us makes a decision for ourselves and for our children, not for the population as a whole.  And present technology does not allow us to know in advance who is susceptible to harm.   So we have to decide based on the general odds, odds that in my opinion make the call a no-brainer.

9.  Vaccines are a reverse lottery in which, for statistical purposes, everyone wins.  Regrettably, there are a losers in real life, but their numbers are not statistically significant.  I wish we could know in advance who those losers will be, but we can’t.

10.  Despite the remoteness of harm, I am reluctant to compel people to be vaccinated or have their children vaccinated.  Some circumstances might warrant compulsion, depending on the disease’s virulence, transmissibility, and consequences.  I am not personally convinced the standard is met with measles.

11.  My view is that anyone who does not vaccinate their children against measles is a fool, but we cannot outlaw all forms of foolishness.

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