I just finished On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Bliss, and it got me to thinking about immunizations, herd immunity, and of course what is our responsibility. For me, I was always pro vaccine. I couldn’t imagine not vaccinating my child against diseases that have shown a definite decrease in the infant mortality rate. I couldn’t imagine putting my child at risk for catching diseases that have been largely eradicated in this country for decades. My mind wasn’t changed after reading the book. The truth is that the book is also pro vaccine, but I believe that it presents some valid arguments about why it is important to vaccinate your children. First, there is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism. The original study on this topic even sited that more research would need to be done to prove or disprove the status of vaccine and autism. Those tests have been done over and over again and they always prove there is no correlation. Second, we live in a social world, which means we are responsible for others as well as ourselves. It’s true.
The first chapter of On Immunity: An Inoculation brings up a very important factor in my mind. This is where I’ll admit that despite what is sometimes popular opinion I am a Christian. I’m Catholic to be exact, but we’ll forgive those people who think of us as non-Christians. Anyway, I’ve gotten off track to my original point. The point is:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
This makes me think about all those people who cannot be immunized. I am left feeling sorry for the very young, very old, and very sick of the world, because I know that these days we are unable to protect them in large areas of the United States. I know that so many people aren’t vaccinating that we risk losing this herd immunity. I cannot imagine looking at someone and telling them that their life is less important than mine, and I often feel like this is the very thing happening when we choose to not vaccinate. We are snubbing our nose at those who have no protection. We are snubbing our nose at those who can’t afford vaccinations. We are snubbing our nose at those who rely on herd immunity. Shouldn’t we love our neighbor enough to want to protect them as well as ourselves. Doesn’t protecting them make us healthier? Why are we more special than anyone else?
In the case of vaccinated versus non-vaccinated children, you are risking lowering the effectiveness of the vaccine the child took to prevent disease. You are risking exposing them to a mutated version of the virus that has now found its way back into the system. This is also not looking out for your neighbor. Herd immunity is a very serious thing, because we are all dependent on it working. There isn’t a single person who doesn’t need it.
It is after looking at the science available to us, the ingredients in immunizations, and the herd immunity factor that we have decided to immunize this child and any future children. It’s important to me not only for myself but for my neighbor. I live in a global community, and I support herd immunity.