I know there are many who feel adversely about Wiki, but this is a good starting point:
How about we talk about it here? Those who feel strongly enough one way or another will have a place to re-visit every once in a while.
My take on the matter is here:
I have no final word or opinion on the matter, so don't expect one. But here are a few points:
- the fundamental concept/premise/effect mechanism of vaccines, both bacterial and viral, is VERY compelling. The whole point is to enable the human immune system to build defenses against disease in a SKIRMISH/SPAR rather than in a WAR/DUEL. I personally happen to believe in the concept, though also believe that vaccinating against chicken pox is lunacy.
- the issues, as I've seen them in the 'kooky internet pages' revolve to a large degree not so much around the active ingredients, but the delivery mechanisms, the preservatives, and the (allegedly possible) potential for long-term side-effects as a result of THESE (not the weakened pathogen itself)
- the aim of human welfare is SO far removed from the goals of the current biomed/pharma industry, that healthy skepticism is just that, healthy. Worked with pharma co's for years - sure, effectiveness and safety are important. Nearly as important as the universal perception of effectiveness and safety...
- there have been a few cases of botched/ineffective/deadly vaccinations which drive panic as opposed to reasoned, scientific investigation. That does not mean these cases were not botched.
- follow the money. Which drives more vaccinations, more doses ordered and stockpiled by governments, more fearful, panicky people willing to embrace a solution to a crisis -- and hence more profits? More disease or less disease? A better overall endogenic immune response capability in 'modern' Western societies, or a weaker one?
- a generation or two ago, children played in the dirt, picked up 'filthy, unsanitary' objects regularly, were exposed to non-hypoallergenic pets, livestock and wildlife on a daily basis. They developed their immune systems the way they were supposed to -- by coming up against non-human materials, and learning how to deal with them. Do you think the massive urbanization, sterilization fetish and multi-billion dollar antiallergenic industry have made things better or worse?
-vaccines which were tested on and proven to work decades ago on a reasonably healthy, active, 'normal' population might not have changed a bit. But how many % of Americans are now morbidly obese? Is the trend worldwide getting worse or better? Do you think, all else being equal, their response to the same, tested, safe and effective weakened pathogens can be expected to be the same? How about all the kids who never got breastmilk as infants, out of convenience or selfish comfort rather than necessity or deprivation/poverty?
As the lead-in implies, I am supportive of the concept, dubious about the execution. Would welcome knowledgeable, informative opinions and facts on the matter. Have a personal stake in the matter, 'irons in the fire', as it were, so I am truly curious.