By Carol White
In Vaccine Epidemic, editors Habakus and Holland advocate for an end to government-mandated vaccination.
In places where populations have been vaccinated against polio and smallpox the diseases have virtually disappeared. Isn’t that a positive result of general vaccination?
Many developments have occurred since the time when smallpox and polio were rampant. Better nutrition, clean water, modern sanitation, hygiene, improved living and working conditions, and antibiotics have played essential and underappreciated roles in public health. Many infectious diseases were almost gone by the time vaccine mandates began. Some infectious diseases, such as scarlet fever, typhoid, and the bubonic plague, disappeared without vaccines. Vaccines have played a role in decreasing some infectious diseases, but it is not disputed that they have also injured and taken lives.
Antibiotics also have adverse health effects, and there is increasing danger that bacteria are becoming resistant to them. Can a case be made to encourage the development of more vaccines?
Sure it can. A distinction must be made, however, between vaccine development and vaccine mandates. Vaccine Epidemic builds the case for vaccination choice as a human right. The book is not anti-vaccine; it supports vaccine development and safety improvements. Many have noted, however, that it is a short distance between vaccine licensure on the one hand, and universal vaccine recommendation and mandate, on the other. Just weeks after licensure of Gardasil [for HPV], for example, it was added to the CDC’s schedule of recommended childhood vaccines, and not too long afterwards, there was pending legislation to mandate the vaccine in over 20 states.