Every medical procedure has risk associated with it. EVERY ONE!!!
That is not to say that the risk is large: getting a blood test, for example, is a very low risk medical procedure. The benefit of learning from a bloodtest the information a doctor needs to treat a patient far outweighs the risk of getting an infection or something going wrong during or following a blood test for most people. Yet, you might not want to perform daily blood tests on a patient with hemophilia…
The same is true for vaccination: the danger of something going wrong is very, very low. But it is there.
In my experience, doctors and other health officials are likely to vastly understate these dangers: some because they truly believe that the risk is so small and the patient too dumb to make a right choice on their own, some undoubtedly do it because they actually get money for having vaccinated over a certain percentage of their patients. Either way, doctors and medical officials rutinely mis-state the dangers associated with vaccines and manipulate people into ‘getting the shot’.
People pick up on being manipulated – and most dom’t like it…
Yes, most people are poor at risk assessment – but that does not give anyone the right to deny them the very information they need to make their own choice. Part of being a grown up is making one’s own decisions – right or wrong!
There is a second part to my ‘risk’ rant: another aspect of the risk associated with vaccination which medical and health officials are simply not giving the general public sufficient information they need to make an informed decision. The fact remains that we know that some people are much more likely to have adverse reactions to vaccinations than the average person would.
Have you ever been told this? Most doctors who are not immunologists whom I have spoken to about this are woefully undereducated and, in my never-humble-opinion, almost criminally ignorant about this.
People who have problems with their immune systems are much more likely to have a dangerous reaction to vaccinations (and it is less likely that vaccines will actually work on them). Again, there are many factors to consider, so each person ought to do some independent research into this. People who have immune system diseases (like lupus and so on) are the most likely to have very bad reactions to vaccinations. Close behind them are people with immune system disorders: asthma, serious allergies (peanuts, milk, eggs) and so on.
[Aside: the theory of vaccination is that the ‘skin’ of viruses has a ‘fingerprint’ (made up from unique proteins in the bilipid wall of the skin of the virus). Once our body identifies the germ, it tries to create all kinds of antibodies and tests to see if any will kill the pathogen (infection). This trial-and-error method is slow and while it is going on, the germs multiply and make a person sicker. Once an effective antibody is found, the body makes a lot of it and uses it to kill the germs. Vaccination introduces dead or weakened pathogens into the body: this causes the immune system to make antibodies against. Then, the immune system ‘stores’ the antibody and whenever it encounters the germ again it can start to make lots of it right away, skipping the trian-and-error step. This prevents the germ from multiplying before the body is ready to fight it, so that it is defeated before it can make the person ill.]
Since the potential of acquiring immunity through vaccination (based on healthy immune systems – not ones that don’t work right) is seriously decreased and the danger of an adverse, potentially life-threatening reaction to a vaccine is greatly increased in people with immune systems which do not function properly, these people need to be fully informed of all the specifics and decide on a vaccine by vaccine basis which course of action carries the least possible risk.
This, of course, is not a concern for people with healthy immune systems.
There are other risks associated with vaccination, which do affect everyone. When multiple-pathogen vaccinations (such as the controversial MMR) are administered – or several single vaccinations are administered at the same time or very close in time to each other, there is some indication that the probability of an adverse immune system reaction is increased. However, I am not as knowledgable about these risk factors as about the risks associated with vaccination in people who are immunocompromised, so I am not comfortable saying more than that this has been identified as a risk factor.
Yes, there are risk factors associated with vaccinations. My post is nowhere near exhaustive – it just hits the highlights. Despite all of these, vaccinations are an important tool to keep infectious diseases under control.
Information is power. It is my deep conviction that if doctors and health officials gave people accurate information about both the benefits and the risks of vaccination, people would make more informed choices. Because they would be aware of the true (however small) risks, many of the hysterical reactions to vaccinations would be minimized, if not eliminated altogether.