This is a discussion I have long stayed out of. Honestly there is no winning. Advisors tell me to just stay out of it. But, I cannot anymore. Here we go. Let’s talk vaccines.

I’ll start here: I’m not pro-vax or anti-vax; in fact I hate the media positioning that people are solely one way or the other. I am, as a pharmacist, appalled by the suggestion of mandatory vaccinations. Burn me at the stake if you must. All I ask is that you be kind to one another and respect each person’s individual choice. Here is my rationale.

Vaccines do not require randomized control trials.

Data is critical for decision-making for pharmacists. Yet, we are urged to turn a blind eye to the fact that vaccines are not required to undergo randomized controlled trials as drugs are.

In fact, there has never been a study that demonstrates that vaccinated children have significantly less disease burden than unvaccinated children.

I get it. Some drugs are old. Grandfather in the polio vaccine and approve it through the FDA. But do not expect me, as a data driven pharmacist, to inject an unverified vaccine – such as the flu vaccine – into every woman, including pregnant women, every man, including vulnerable populations, and every child, including infants, without raising an eyebrow.

If you criticize essential oils for lacking RCT testing, should you not also criticize vaccines for the same? For people in favor of mandatory vaccines, who fear that an unvaccinated person may infect a vaccinated person, doesn’t this conclude that vaccines do not work?

Adverse drug effects happen.

I accept that, and I am willing to accept that vaccines may cause adverse effects. But some the fact that drug manufacturers can hide behind the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act is criminal. The regulating bodies are not holding the drug companies accountable for harm caused by their products. Instead, tax payers fund a special vaccine court that pays out compensation to people who have suffered adverse effects. Have you known someone who has suffered an adverse drug event from a vaccine?

Ingredient quality is questionable.

There are many questionable ingredients in vaccines, including: aluminum salts, formaldehyde, formalin, monosodium glutamate (MSG), phenol. Additionally, many contain animal products, such as fetal bovine and horse serum, egg, mouse, dog, and monkey cells, and gelatin, and are therefore unsuitable to vegans.

Even more concerning is the inclusion of human fetal cells. Currently, there are multiple vaccines (Hep A, MMR, Varicella, Zoster, Adenovirus, Rabies) that contain one of two human cell cultures dating back to the 1960s that originated from two aborted fetuses. For many people this poses a major ethical problem.

Allergies to vaccines are real.

There are five different allergic responses to vaccines. Eggs are one of the big 8 most common allergens, and egg-containing vaccines are not safe for people with this very common food sensitivity. Antibiotics and antifungals such as neomycin, amphotericin, streptomycin, erythromycin, kanamycin, gentamicin, polymyxin B, chlortetracycline are also vaccine additives that may cause allergies.

Vaccines also contain contaminants such as latex, also an allergen. Even mild GI irritants, such as sorbitol, are ingredients in vaccines and need to be considered for sensitive populations.

Religious freedom is at risk.

For reasons of their choosing, certain religions choose to avoid ingredients such as blood and albumin. These are common vaccine additives used in growth media. Therefore this suggested law is a violation of religious freedom.

In short, it violates our founding principal as a country. Our first amendment. Lest we forget. Do we not give space for people to refuse to dispense emergency contraception? Should we not give space for people to refuse vaccines?

I hear you, many people think that the connection between autism and vaccines is 100% bogus.

I am open and willing to accept that vaccines do or do not cause, have some link to, or otherwise impact autism. However, I find no reason that a Senior Scientist at the CDC would admit to intentionally withholding statistically significant information from a 2004 article in Pediatrics. I would be horrified if I did this. The article concluded SPECIFICALLY the combination MMR vaccine administered between the ages of 12-15 months versus administration after 3 years of age increases the risk of autism syndrome 7-fold in African American boys.

Why on earth would someone beg the US Congress to subpoena testimony, unless you have something to say? If congress subpoenas Dr. Thompson and finds that his testimony is bogus and that there is no evidence he and his co-investigators destroyed data, okay. At least we know the truth. We don’t tell his story. It begs the question “Why?” Since this is the origin of most of the vaccine debate. The facts have been bastardized, polarized, and sensationalized. Let’s hear him out. Why not?

Conflict of interest at the CDC.

In a highly critical study in 2009, the Office of the Inspector General concluded that “CDC had a systemic lack of oversight of the ethics program. For almost all special Government employees, the CDC did not ensure that financial disclosure forms were complete.” They conclude that 64% had unidentified or unresolved conflict of interest.

Dating back to 2000, the Congressional Committee for Government Reform concluded “The Committee’s investigation has determined that conflict of interest rules employed by the FDA and the CDC have been weak, enforcement has been lax, and committee members with substantial ties to pharmaceutical companies have been given waivers to participate in committee proceedings.”

For my own selfish reasons

I am gravely concerned that this potential law halts my ability to earn a living. I choose not to take a flu vaccine, and have for years. If a federal mandate prohibits travel, I can no longer earn a living.

Here is my suggestion:

  1. Classify, trial, and regulate vaccines as drugs and ensure they go through FDA approval processes before administering to public.
  2. Subpoena authors from 2004 Pediatrics article to Congress to discuss their opinions of trial data.
  3. Require public disclosure and minimization of financial conflicts at CDC.

For more controversial opinions, come check out this post on Why I Will Never be an Aromatherapist.