There has been a lot of discussion lately on some of the internet sites I frequent concerning whether or not people should get the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine. Apparently there are a lot of women out there who think its unsafe, or at least that not having it is safer than having it.
"The mercury in vaccines is dangerous." OK. I know mercury is not good for you, but kids used to PLAY with mercury on table tops. The amount is so tiny, and it has been tested every which way with no replicable evidence showing any harm done by the amount of mercury in vaccines. (It's all in the science! Read the studies... I think there is one floating around saying it causes all sorts of issues and a million saying there is no effect).
"The swine flu vaccine hurt a lot of people 40 years ago". First - the definition of "a lot" needs to be considered, the vast majority of shots still had no negative effect. Second, do you know how much medicine has improved since then? 40 years ago birth control caused all sorts of potential complications including instant death from blood clots... so do these same women not use birth control because at one time it was unsafe?
"All vaccines carry a risk of serious side effect." True. But the risk is tiny. I would like to see someone showing with widely accepted data that the rate of death from the vaccine is higher than that from flu, particularly in high risk groups. I seriously doubt the evidence is there.
"Vaccines do not actually work, you still can get sick". True, but again, incredibly unlikely. In general, vaccines are offered to the public because they reduce the chance of infection significantly for each individual who has one and work at preventing the spread of the disease as a whole through society.
What bothers me the most about all of these reasons is that they all seem to rely on an underlying assumption that naturalists have some secret information or knowledge that the scientific and medical communities lack as a whole, or that the medical community does not have peoples best interest at heart (which frankly implies some conspiracy). I have said this before and I will say it again. The reason that doctors and the medical community recommend people have the flu vaccine is because on average statistically speaking it is better for a person to have it than not have it, and the more people get it, the better off society as a whole will be. To those people who disagree, especially those scientists and doctors who disagree, I want to say prove it! The medical community is a scientific community. Do the study that shows you are right, and publish it in a peer reviewed journal. It WILL get attention, if its scientific. I feel like the fear mongering by those against the vaccine is as bad (if not worse) than fear mongering done by the media.
Glad to have that out of my system.