Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vaccine. Please, I Need Vaccine.


I just came across an amusing article appearing in the Green Bay Press Gazette. It's entitled:
Adults need vaccines, too!
And it's main premise is that:
You never outgrow the need for vaccines.
The piece begins with the false premise that we ever needed vaccines in the first place then goes on to tell adults what they "need" We've always heard "children need their vaccines" but as drug companies and public health do-gooders turn their sights to adults, the need theme is being applied to us. Heck, the piece could have been written by the Department of Health and Human Services as part of their plan to "support communications to enhance informed vaccine decision-making".

But let's look at what need means before we go any further. According to wikipedia:
A need is something that is necessary for organisms to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants because a deficiency would cause a clear negative outcome, such as dysfunction or death. ...So it's clear. We don't "need" vaccines! We can live healthy lives without them. I will not suffer death because I did not succumb to the temptation of a Walgreens' flu shot.
But the author, a nurse practitioner, doesn't understand that. So she plods ahead with the need theme:
Adults need immunizations to protect against flu, tetanus...pertussis...HPV and other diseases
Flu? I'm not worried, besides I can't remember the last time I had the flu. Tetanus? Tetanus was exceedingly rare even before the vaccine and, because C. tetani, the infectious organism that causes tetanus, is found in the soil, those working on farms are most vulnerable -- and I don't work on a farm. (Another group suffering disproportionately from tetanus was comprised of soldiers fighting in the trenches during World War I. War wounds -- allowing c tetani to enter -- along with exposure to soil made our doughboys particularly vulnerable. Pertussis? In adults pertussis is usually mild. I can handle a cough, besides I probably have already had pertussis and may therefore be immune - at least for the next thirty years.

So there you have it. My needs are being met -- and miraculously, all without an adult round (or rounds) of vaccines.

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