A Question for Libertarians

I think what he's saying is that they are entitled to a right to be unprotected. Everyone can get vaccinated - most people, given the chance to take a safe vaccine, would get vaccinated - but they can also choose not to, and face the consequences.

I think this misses an important point. Vaccinations are not just individual protection. Applied across a wide population, they can wipe out a disease. Even if they do not, they can help prevent it from occuring often enough to mutate away from the strain used for vaccination. They are community protection, and need to be ubiquitous to be effective.

Partial vaccination of a population can leave the virus able to spread and mutate, and thus possibly endanger the entire population once again. It can also lead to an increased cost to society for caring for damaged individuals.

Given the choice to risk contracting a debilitating/deadly disease or voluntarily submit to a safe vaccine, I believe people would take the vaccine. Sadly, I have no way to prove it.

Experience has shown that large segments of a population will decline vaccinations for irrational reasons, if that option is available.

Paleocon wrote:

From your article:

"In the United States, 14,000 women annually are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and around 4,000 will die, according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. But developing countries have carried most of cervical cancer's burden, accounting for about 85 percent of total annual cases. Many of these women don't have access to pap smears, a medical procedure which can detect cervical cancer early."

If that doesn't scream out to the necessity of a mandatory public health initiative, folks need to change religions.

CDC Web Site wrote:

What is Influenza (also called Flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent this illness is by getting a flu vaccination each fall.

Every year in the United States, on average:

* 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
* more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and;
* about [i]36,000[/i] people die from flu.

Italics mine.

So why aren't we discussing making the influenza vaccination mandatory? Oh I know it is because the companies that make the influenza vaccine do not make much money off it (for multiple reasons). The main reason why they are driving the HPV virus vaccine to be mandatory is to make insurance pay for it, as not many people would drop $246 for the procedure voluntarily. (Source:Stanford Medical Center)

So lets just drop the "saving lives" charade shall we.

Robear wrote:

I think this misses an important point. Vaccinations are not just individual protection. Applied across a wide population, they can wipe out a disease. Even if they do not, they can help prevent it from occuring often enough to mutate away from the strain used for vaccination. They are community protection, and need to be ubiquitous to be effective.

Not misses as much as ignores... I think the point is irrelevant, that people would take them anyway, bringing us to...

Robear wrote:

Experience has shown that large segments of a population will decline vaccinations for irrational reasons, if that option is available.

My Google-Fu failed me. Whatcha got?

So lets just drop the "saving lives" charade shall we.

I was making a serious argument that does not depend on the expense of vaccination. I'm not making my argument to ridicule you. (What did I do to you? Geez.)

So why aren't we discussing making the influenza vaccination mandatory?

Couple of reasons. Until very recently, we didn't have the technology to make enough vaccine to cover an entire country. I think within the next few years, that will be reachable. But it's not yet, and has not been.

It is in fact mandatory for health workers and others in high-risk categories.

Another reason is the difficulty in getting the "mix" right. Put against the possibility of side effects, the rather high possibility that the flu vaccine won't actually cover all the outbreak types, it's not reasonable to apply it to all the population, even if we could.

Now, if you look at something like the DPT vaccine, you are are looking at diseases that don't change frequently, primarily affect children (a fraction of the population) and within that population, they used to be endemic. So this is a reasonable tradeoff against the possibility of side effects. Measles and now chicken pox are the same way, as is polio. These are good mandatory vaccines.

Note that I'm not arguing that all vaccines, or even the HPV vaccine, be mandatory. I'm arguing that the government should always retain the right to establish a class of mandatory vaccinations, as well as the right to conduct involuntary quarantine, for the public good.

Vaccination resistance is not at all unusual. It's seen in US religious communities, and in other countries for various reasons. Here's an article on problems completing the eradication of polio.

ABIDJAN - Resistance by some northern Nigerian Muslim leaders to allow polio vaccinations is threatening a U.N. goal to eradicate the disease by next year. U.N. health officials are alarmed over reports that polio, instead of being brought under control, is spreading in Nigeria and to neighboring countries.

World Health Organization officials are blaming Islamic rulers in northern Nigeria for the setback in the polio eradication campaign.

Nigerian human rights campaigners blame the central government for doing too little to prevent the local authorities from controlling the vaccination drive.

Immunization drives were halted last year in northern Nigeria, after Islamic clergy alleged the vaccine is contaminated to cause infertility, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. The use of the vaccine, the clerics claim, is part of a plot to depopulate developing countries.

http://english.epochtimes.com/news/4...

Here's the CDC FAQ on vaccine misconceptions, with a section that describes some of the points I'm making.

http://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/...

5. Vaccine-preventable diseases have been virtually eliminated from the United States, so there is no need for my child to be vaccinated.

It's true that vaccination has enabled us to reduce most vaccine-preventable diseases to very low levels in the United States. However, some of them are still quite prevalent - even epidemic - in other parts of the world. Travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the United States, and if we were not protected by vaccinations these diseases could quickly spread throughout the population, causing epidemics here. At the same time, the relatively few cases we currently have in the U.S. could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases without the protection we get from vaccines.

We should still be vaccinated, then, for two reasons. The first is to protect ourselves. Even if we think our chances of getting any of these diseases are small, the diseases still exist and can still infect anyone who is not protected. A few years ago in California a child who had just entered school caught diphtheria and died. He was the only unvaccinated pupil in his class.

The second reason to get vaccinated is to protect those around us. There is a small number of people who cannot be vaccinated (because of severe allergies to vaccine components, for example), and a small percentage of people don't respond to vaccines. These people are susceptible to disease, and their only hope of protection is that people around them are immune and cannot pass disease along to them. A successful vaccination program, like a successful society, depends on the cooperation of every individual to ensure the good of all. We would think it irresponsible of a driver to ignore all traffic regulations on the presumption that other drivers will watch out for him or her. In the same way we shouldn't rely on people around us to stop the spread of disease; we, too, must do what we can.

Again, I could care less whether the companies are making money or not. I personally care about the public health advantages of eliminating harmful diseases that are preventable through population-wide mandatory vaccination programs.

PurEvil wrote:

Last I heard the restriction was that you could only buy one box of medication containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine per day (or one per costumer, something like that). If you are using this drug for legal purposes, that box should last you at least a week for the smaller boxes. I've never known someone to go out and grab two or three boxes of antihistamines at one time. So a person using these legally shouldn't even notice the restriction.

At least here in Louisiana, it's not just a restriction on purchases. You can't take a box off the shelf. You have to take a pullcard to the pharmacist who then asks for your license and copies a bunch of it into a register of sorts.

(I haven't read all the posts after the one I'm replying to so if someone has already mentioned this, sorry.)

Edit: Then again, they may have just been Wal Mart's policy. What I mean to say is, I don't actually know if it's a law or, if so, at what level of government, but that was my experience the one time that I purchased Tylenol Cold since the regulations and it made my little semi-Libertarian alarm go off... though I still gave them my info like a good worker drone.

I'm beginning to think my view of this issue is a little scewed due to the way I get my medications... anyone who has ever had to deal with a government (military) pharmacy can tell ya, it's a pain in the ass. And half the time I get meds I have to fill out a little card with all my information and sign it. I have to have my dependant ID to do anything on base... from getting my meds to buying a soda at the gas station. So maybe I'm just desensitized to this kind of stuff