This Chiropractor’s Perspective on Mandatory Vaccination

I have stayed away from the topic of vaccinations in my practice because it is very emotional for both sides of the argument and it is not necessarily relevant to what I do as a chiropractor. However, this is more about freedom and healthcare and I am finally ready to share my thoughts. I know some of you will disagree on different points. To that, I say, great! Science is all about looking at an issue from several angles and sharing perspectives. Science does not own truth nor does it ever espouse it. Science seeks to hypothesize, observe under certain conditions, and theorize. That saying, I am very concerned with any side of an argument that claims to use science to hammer their agenda to the point of a mandate.

State Senator Richard Pan, who was a practicing pediatrician turned politic, has been working very hard to make vaccinations mandatory. I am sure he has his reasons and some of them may be pure but it also seems like he is being supported by those who stand to make a lot of money from the sale of these vaccinations. He started out a few years ago by passing a bill which made it illegal for parents to sign a vaccine waiver on grounds of religious or moral opposition which forced parents who are concerned about the damage a vaccine may cause to their child to get a waiver signed by a medical doctor. Now he is going after the medical doctors who signed those waivers and looking to establish a panel to overturn their opinions and make it harder, if not impossible, to get a waiver.

A few years ago, Senator Pan paraded several medical doctors who testified that they would sign waivers if they felt it was warranted. Apparently, that was a charade to pass that bill because now he does not want any individual doctor to have that kind of authority. Let’s be very clear, he is not interested in your research, your opinion, your morals, or your beliefs. Right now he is seeking to make it mandatory for all children who attend a public school to be vaccinated unless his handpicked panel decides otherwise. This is not about science, it is about control derived from money and power.

The argument for mandatory vaccines and the talking points behind them have spiraled to fear mongering. They use the theory of herd immunity as the basis of their argument. Herd immunity is the theory that if a high percentage of people are immune to a disease, presumably through vaccination, then the disease can be contained. It is not a terrible theory but there are holes in it. They also claim they need herd immunity to protect the children who cannot be vaccinated. They claim that we are putting these children at risk. Interestingly enough though, they make it sound as if unvaccinated individuals are the ones spreading the disease. This thought has been pervasive enough for the mayor or New York City to pass a decree that the unvaccinated are not allowed in the city or they will be fined.

To these points, I beg for a more scientific approach or just plain and simple logic. It is not an unvaccinated person who spreads disease but a person who has the disease. You cannot share something you don’t have or have never had. In fact, vaccinated children are 100% more likely to spread a disease they are vaccinated for than unvaccinated children. Within two weeks of being vaccinated for measles or chicken pox, there is a shedding period where the person can be contagious. It is rare but possible. Whereas, it is still impossible for an unvaccinated person without the disease to spread it.  Besides, if you have so much faith that vaccines work, why should you be worried if you and/or your kids are vaccinated? Finally, if you are worried about the children who are unvaccinated getting the disease, I can understand the concern from your perspective but are you willing to claim that your concern is greater than the parents’? Herein lies the debate. Do you have the right to act on your differing opinion on a child who is not yours?

Those who claim the moral high ground in favor of forced vaccinations are missing the greater points of liberty and the slippery slope that can lead to the loss of all freedom. I firmly believe that almost everyone should get adjusted on a regular basis and that society would benefit from it. Would you be comfortable with me pushing to pass a law that forced you to get your children adjusted regardless of your opinion about chiropractic? What if I was reasonable at first and just said they needed a couple of adjustments? What if later I told you they needed more? What if I said, at first, that you could get a waiver if your chiropractor (and only a chiropractor) said your bones were too brittle or you have joint laxity or some other condition that might cause harm, only to then tell you that your chiropractor is not qualified to make that decision and we need to have a panel of experts whom I choose to make that for them? At first blush, this is ridiculous, yet, we are at this point right now with our rights to choose the care we feel best for our children as the stakes.

If forced vaccinations for children going to school passes, what is next? Will this smarter-than-you panel of medical doctors then decide that adults must be vaccinated? Will they decide that you have no options? Will we start fining people as they have threatened in New York City? Does this sound like a conspiracy? It is! But unlike the people who are trying to convince you that the earth is flat, this conspiracy has a lot of money and power to back it up.

Again, my point is not whether you should or should not vaccinate your children. For what it is worth, my opinion is that vaccination started out as a pretty good idea. It was a risk vs. risk scenario. Introduce a little of a disease, let the immune system work its magic and create a great chance at immunity. The risk on both sides is always real. We have taken it too far, though. The pro-vaccine side seeks to dismiss any risk that the diseases, let alone the rest of the chemicals in the cocktail, pose any risk. Yes, those risks seem to be small but they are real. For some people, the risks are not only real but imminent. For those opposed to vaccines, they tend to inflate the risks. Most people who are vaccinated are not going to have a severe reaction. For those that have had severe reactions, however, it can be absolutely devastating.

I get that having the measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, chickenpox, shingles, polio, etc. can be very bad and even life-threatening. Step back from the fear and consider that the chance of infection is still very small in the United States and the risk of death is almost statistically completely improbable. Now, one can argue that it is because of the vaccines that these diseases are almost non-existent. That is a reasonable assumption but I can counter that disease comes and goes regardless. I had chicken pox as a kid. Almost everyone I know did. It wasn’t fun but it wasn’t deadly. Now, I am immune. If I keep my immune system in good shape, I will never get it, or shingles, again. No vaccine needed. Chickenpox was super rare when they came out with the vaccination. Since then, shingles and chickenpox (the same virus) have been on the rise. Maybe it is a coincidence but I reserve the right to scientifically observe to think otherwise. Observation takes time, by the way. It is OK to wait and test. There is no crisis. Furthermore, are you comfortable giving your infant a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease like HPV or hepatitis because they may choose to be promiscuous when they are teenagers? I’m not. I would rather teach them the consequences of such actions and encourage proper behavior.

The argument as to whether you should or should not vaccinate your children based on the risks on both sides of the argument is a very personal decision and should be considered with much research. Unfortunately, the research is very thin. When, how much, and what kinds of vaccines a child needs, has changed with time not based on research but on theory. Either way, your right to do so or not should be unalienable. Forced vaccination raises the same ethical arguments of the Nuremberg Trials. I am far less concerned about the possibility of more disease or more injuries. Those will cycle. If you do your best to stay healthy, your risk for either is very low. I am much more concerned about the loss of freedom. What happens when you disagree with your doctor about a procedure for you or your child in the future? Will you be forced to do the procedure anyway? Will your child be taken from you? It sounds crazy but please consider that control is always the end game even if it sold for benevolent reasons.

***Photo by Hyttalo Souza on Unsplash

 

 

11 Comments

  1. “I had chicken pox as a kid. Almost everyone I know did. It wasn’t fun but it wasn’t deadly. Now, I am immune. If I keep my immune system in good shape, I will never get it, or shingles, again.”

    Congratulations, you just made the case for vaccines! That is exactly what vaccines do, minus suffering and potential for death. Now parents must ask themselves if it is worth it to watch their children suffer because “they probably won’t die,” or because of someone “might be getting rich” off vaccine production. You made a terrible, unscientific case which only reminded us all of the lack of scientific fluency from chiropractors. That’s 3 minutes of drivel I won’t ever get back. Good luck with everything, “Doctor.”

    1. Chuck, clearly your bias did not allow you to actually take in the whole article full of drivel. I am not anti-vaccination. I think one has to weigh the risks of both and make the decision based on those risks. The article was about the freedom to do so. Nice try on the ad hominem attack on the whole profession of chiropractors based on my personal opinion article, though. If you are brave enough to have a real discussion about science or even the science behind vaccinations please feel free to engage. Otherwise, you are just trying to create contention which is unproductive.

  2. Thanks you for sharing a well thought out response.
    It is a slippery and dangerous slope.
    How can Chiro’s and other non-traditional professionals get more influence so that Pan and others don’t force their ideology on all?

    Thanks
    Duane

    1. I don’t know that this topic is a chiropractor’s or other healthcare professionals’ fight. I think we, as a society, need to be open to scientific discussion on both sides and then be willing to let others make the decision. We do have a responsibility to educate people, though, so I agree with your point.

  3. Thank you for your perspective and for putting Senator Pan’s involvement in taking away our medical freedom and choice in perspective.
    You may have already heard about this, but just in case… Glyphosate has been found in ALL CHILDHOOD VACCINES~!!!
    Glyphosate is a known carcinogen and the key ingredient in Roundup – see: Johnson v Monsanto $78M jury award, Hardeman v Monsanto $81M Jury award for only TOPICAL exposure. – This should not be injected into our children…or anyone! I will be at the Capitol next Wed. 4/24/19 to protest SB276. As a mother, I was able to protect my son from further vaccines after he had a negative reaction to his first round of them thanks to exemptions. This is a dangerous path to tread – we must not allow the government or anyone to force anyone to be injected against their will. All penalties and threats to those who chose not to be vaccinated must stop. If the vaccines truly offered protection, then the vaccinated have nothing to fear from the vaccinated. The doublespeak must cease.

  4. Dr Thomas,
    Thank you for taking the time & making the effort to present what is an obviously well thought out balanced, factual article. I am pushing 80 and in my wildest imaginations I never thought I would see the day when our God given freedoms are so being eroded!

  5. Although I don’t agree with the dangers proposed in the actual vaccines there is an issue here of importance. Should the state dictate what we “ought” do? Seatbelts and auto insurance had similar issues in the past, but this seems more personal, more invasive by its very nature. It is placing something in us, in our children. Every red flag and panic button should be triggered by this. I get this. I don’t think there is a “right” answer. You ought to get this, but saying you “must” seems to say that we aren’t free to do with our bodies, our children, as we want to.

    I think vaccination is safe and good. I feely making laws that say we can’t do what we want with our bodies are bad.

  6. apparent that he backs up his decisions with logic and science. He did not jump on the band wagon, to line up with the other doctors that just go along with what is politically correct. This truly is about American’s rights, and the possibility of our rights being taken away, again.. No one should have to be forced to have ANY medical procedure against their will or desire. When a foreign substance is injected into a body, that IS a medical procedure.

    Possibly Senator Pan had not read the scientific results regarding the flu shot. It is only 10% effective, at best. And usually less because we (at least within the community) do not know which strain of flu will pop up it’s ugly head, until the flu season is in full force. Is driving force monetary gain or power/influence?

    Once again, responsible technology. The Glyphosate, mercury, Aluminum, and formaldehyde in the cocktail is enough for me to say thanks, but NO THANKS.

    I hope that there are no typos in this message. The background is too dark for me to proof this .

  7. My daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at age five. We hoped to look into alternative treatments in support of traditional chemotherapy because as we understood it, there are currently no concrete alternative therapies that have success rates which mirror those of traditional protocols.
    When seeking such alternatives, what we experienced was horrific. In brief terms, what we realized without being told this by a medical professional for a very long time, was that if we strayed at all from the cookie cutter treatment plan which was established by the Children’s Oncology Group in 1989, that CPS would be called, our child would be removed from our home, she would be confined to a hospital room, we would be refused visits with her, and treatment would be forced upon her.

    This is the world we currently live in. My daughter was diagnosed in 2016. Not decades ago.
    Benjamin Franklin said “Anyone who would sacrifice a freedom for safety and security deserves neither”.

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