With the HPV vaccinations debate trying to grab media attention, I thought I’d offer a voice of reason to the arguments.
At first glance, any government requirement on the individual seems heavy handed – particularly when it involves our bodies.
So, when the government tells us we must get Measles vaccinations to attend school or get Small Pox vaccinations, are they getting overly involved in our freedoms over our own bodies?
The short simple answer is yes.
Life is not simple.
Small Pox doesn’t exist in any significant numbers today because the state governments required that everyone be vaccinated and people complained about the heavy handedness of those requirements too. The government isn’t inoculating one person; they are inoculating the population as a whole. It is the government’s job to protect the health of the population. In the case of vaccines, preventing disease is certainly part of that.
While the government cannot and should not step into each individuals choices of lifestyle that could lead to acquiring medical ailments, they certainly should step in when those choices of lifestyles could result in spreading those ailments to a larger portion of the population.
Communicable diseases, when vaccination is possible, no matter how they are communicated, should be eradicated through vaccination in every case where it is possible to do so. Again, in these cases, the government isn’t violating the individual; it is inoculating the populace as a whole.
To date, the only medical study that said that vaccinations had significant adverse side effects was, as the author later admitted, a fabrication for profit. No, measles vaccine doesn’t cause autism. While there will always be the odd individual here and there who will have an allergy or pre-existing condition incompatible with the vaccine, on the whole, they save thousands more lives than they harm.
Even with something like HPV, death from HPV caused cancer occurs far more often than any significantly inconvenient side effect of the vaccine. I don’t count needle pricks as an inconvenient side effect. And the HPV vaccine policies are not sexist. Women are not the only people who can catch HPV, but they are the ones most likely to die from it (I’m not a doctor, but I’m fairly sure men can’t get cervical cancer)–and women are the only ones we have a vaccine for.