Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More On Vaccines (of course)

The last two months flooded us with good news about vaccines. Good, because after many years of sitting on the fence between science and anti-vaxxers, the mainstream media finally started to realize where the real information and truth is, and began reporting on this issue the way it should have for years. Maybe some of the recent outbreaks of measles or pertussis helped and made everyone realize where we are heading if we don't stop the nonsense anti-vaxxers have been feeding us.

Recently, I found a few good articles discussing this issue on the Time portal, following the Supreme Court decision in the Bruesewitz v. Wyeth case:

Bruesewitz v. Wyeth: What the Supreme Court Decision Means for Vaccines

and their follow up with Dr Paul Offit:

The Dangers of the Antivaccine Movement


However, there is another, potential issue here, an issue that has been overshadowed by the purely scientific debate of the "safe vs. harmful" that we've grown accustomed to. The other issue is: can/should the government mandate vaccines? You can probably tell pretty easily where I and my convictions are. We live in an increasingly "packed" and interactive society. I do feel that individual rights are the most important and should be guarded vigorously. However, there are cases where those individual rights can and do interfere with common good. Common good not so much as some vague communal idea, but with individual rights of others. In case of vaccines the decision is rather simple. The scientific evidence is overwhelming: the harm is minimal (almost zero), the benefits are huge and there is simply no excuse not to vaccinate. It is a requirement of being part of, and reaping benefits of, modern society.
On this topic, The New York Times has an interesting article:

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Vaccines