It is obvious that in many places such as Steinbach and Southern Manitoba in particular, there is the deep distrust of government, authorities, and science. As a result, such distrusters refuse to take vaccines, and increasingly it is obvious that no rational argument can persuade them otherwise. That in fact is the hallmark of a religious belief. Faith is not moved by rational argument. If a belief has been arrived at by means other than reasoning and data arguments based on reason and data will be entirely fruitless.
Many people distrust the authorities for a variety of reasons. One of them is the vaccines had not been adequately tested because they have been approved so fast. So, they want to wait and see. ‘Why take a chance?’, they ask. I had one of such people tell me, ‘I will wait for you to take the chance. You can be the guinea pig.’ Sounds rational, doesn’t it? It’s not.
First, and most importantly, by now there is overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe even for young people. But there is another more subtle reason.
Right now, this issue is becoming very important because vaccines for those aged 5 to 11 are the in the process of being approved. They have already been approved in the US I understand. I heard paediatrician Paul Offit interviewed on Amanpour & Company on PBS. He is the author of the book You Bet Your Life. He makes some very interesting points. As he said,
“You never know everything. The question is when do you know enough? You know enough to move forward with vaccines. You know that for the 5-11-year-olds, there have been 2 million cases in the age group. You know that there have been 8,300 hospitalizations in the group, about one-third of which end up in the ICU and about one-third of those had no pre-disposing risk factor which would put them at risk of serious disease and that more than 100 children have died. You should know that this study was done with about 2,400 children showing the vaccine was 91% effective. And you know that as far as everything that most people are concerned about such as the fear of myocarditis, the heart muscle inflammation, it was less of a problem in the 12-15 year olds and that this group, the 5-11-year-olds is getting even less of a dose. So, is that enough? Of the 18 people who voted on that from the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee, pretty much everybody voted yes. 17 to 0 with one abstention. Those 17 people would never have voted yes unless they would be willing to give the vaccine to their own children. I can tell you that if any of my children were between 5 and 11 years old now, I would give them the vaccine in a second, because there are no risk free choices. There are just choices to take a different risk and doing nothing is a choice to do something—i.e. to take a different risk.”
By doing nothing your children, or you on their behalf, are taking the risk not to take a vaccine that has been scientifically proven to be very safe and effective! That is a big decision. That is not doing nothing! And you are betting your child’s life on that choice you have made for them.
Most of us don’t like taking risks. But sometimes we have no choice. When it comes to vaccines for children (or for ourselves for that matter) we have no choice to take no risks. Either way we are making a choice to take a risk and we can’t get around this no matter how much we would like to do that. We are on the horns of a big dilemma. So how should we make such an important choice?
We can look to Uncle Ernie who has been doing a lot of “research” on the Internet even though he has no training on how to do that or how to evaluate the results of the research. Or we can look for advice to the large number of well trained and educated scientists who are working collaboratively with other scientists around the world. I wouldn’t bet my life or my child’s life on Uncle Ernie or even on my own “research.” That is too risky.
As Dr. Offit put it,
“About the only thing you have on your side is science, reason, and data. So, some people that think for example the vaccine is dangerous for pregnant women or think that it causes infertility or that it alters your DNA. You can argue that with science, reason and logic, but for people who don’t reach this conclusion with reason or logic won’t be talked out of it with reason and logic.”
We have to take the risk we think is most reasonable to take. I know what that is for me. I would do the same for my children. Either way you are betting your life. Or your child’s life.