The Vaccine Philosophy

“Philosophy and science differ in many respects.  For example, science has attained definite and tested knowledge of many matters and has thus resolved disagreement about those matters. Philosophy has not. As a result, controversy has always been characteristic of philosophy.”

                                                        ~ The World Book Encyclopedia – 1988

The vaccine philosophy supports the conclusion that vaccines are always safe and effective and the benefits outweigh the risks. As a whole, the vaccine industry never questions the practice of vaccinating, rather it changes doses or schedules. It “improves” vaccines or makes them “safer” without ever admitting they were previously imperfect. It develops increasingly more vaccines, recommending them without considering or studying possible deleterious effects of giving so many vaccines to one person. The vaccine philosophers never challenge vaccination as the answer to optimum public health.

Whether a person’s beliefs support vaccination or not, the decision is based on a series of beliefs dwelling more in the world of controversy and philosophy, than in pure science.

The few who look at vaccines without the bias that they are always good, find that vaccination is based on questionable theories. Whether to vaccinate has become controversial, arising from continuing evidence contrary to traditionally-held beliefs. For all the facts in support, there are growing volumes of facts that counter them. One is left alone to navigate a sea of facts in order to decide which he chooses to believe. However, through cultural conditioning, the vaccine philosophy is almost unanimously accepted.

A new vaccine is approved for general use after comparatively short and small clinical trials. It is then given to a wider population. Simply by being released, a vaccine is elevated to unfounded status as safe and effective. People naturally agree with that assumption and it becomes commonly accepted, regardless of future suggestions to the contrary.

Once a vaccine is released, it is no longer ethical to withhold it and give a placebo in its place.1  Because 95-100% of the United States’ children are vaccinated, we have no placebo, no double blind study, and no control group. There cannot be an accurate study of a vaccine once it is released. Unfortunately, our established thoughts on how science would determine safety does not apply to vaccines.

In a study to determine the safety and effectiveness of a new pertussis vaccine (a component of the combined diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine), the control group received only the two other components (diphtheria and tetanus).2,3 There is no legitimate control group when the general population is over 90% vaccinated and the safety and effectiveness of one vaccine is measured against the safety and effectiveness of other vaccines, rather than against a control of no vaccines.

A study of a combined DTP/Hib vaccine (then new), showed it was “expected to provide protection against Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) as well as formulations of other DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) and Haemophilus type b (Hib) vaccines.”4 Speculations as to the new combination vaccine’s effectiveness was compared with the other separate vaccines, without studying the possible deleterious effect of giving these vaccines together at one time.

When new vaccines are added to the vaccines already received, there are no studies to determine whether multiple doses, combined doses, or the cumulative aspects of these doses could be harmful. Instead the focus is narrowly aimed at only the new vaccine, as if it could be studied in a vacuum.

Considering that vaccinated individuals make up over 70% of all cases of pertussis5 and that there is some indication  the Hib vaccine can induce meningitis6, then “protection” is measured against problems of existing vaccines, rather than a true control of no vaccines. This is how new vaccines become accepted and serious studies of old vaccines fail to be conducted.

Studying the safety and effectiveness of vaccines is often as simple as comparing to other vaccines. If two builders were building a house and one builder’s foundation was off by an inch and another builder’s was off by two inches, you could say that the first builder was at least as effective or more effective than the other. But compared to a foundation that was level (no vaccines), you would discover that both builders are not effective.

Too many variables are not taken into consideration. Too many questions go unanswered. One cannot compare vaccinated children with other vaccinated children and hope to arrive at an objective or valid estimate of the percentage that experience side effects or long term consequences.

It is tempting and easy to take a simplistic approach but that leads to the faulty hypothesis: vaccines are safe and good. This is the presupposition of almost every vaccine study, leaving the only unanswered questions, “How safe and how good?”

Most studies are exclusively focused on the benefits of vaccination so that outright denial of the risks never allows for the consideration of the opposite hypothesis: vaccines are inherently dangerous and their effectiveness is uncertain. This hypothesis may be much more scientific and provide sturdier ground on which to build medical theories.

While stubbornly sticking to a faulty hypothesis, studies treat vaccine injury and ineffectiveness as an exception with causes yet unknown. When the disease itself occurs at some arbitrary length of time after a vaccine, rather than considering it a failure, it is not uncommon for the disease  to  be subjectively labeled coincidental and that occurrence thrown out of the sampling.7 When serious reactions do occur, official studies may conclude they are coincidences by stating those conditions would have happened anyway. This is cavalier at best and irresponsible at worst.

Negative findings are often ignored, manipulated or simply abandoned in order to prevent discovering flaws in that original hypothesis.

Vaccine failure can be minimized by “adjusting” demographics. A population at high risk for exposure is considered atypical and not used in the study results. Or disease incidence rates are “race-adjusted” in order that differing distributions of socioeconomic risk factors do not show vaccine failure in these populations.8

We do know the diseases vaccinated against occur in both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,9 so without pure scientific evidence, we could just as easily conclude that a vaccine does not work.

It is reasonable to decide whether to give this vaccine or that vaccine, whether this one is safer than the next, but choosing one over another does not escape the vaccine philosophy. It is still a belief without sound scientific principles.

The more one understands the research procedures and the presuppositions that must be made in order to have faith in a vaccine, the more one doubts the entire philosophy behind vaccination.

People who bring the negative aspects of vaccines into the public’s awareness are treated as a fringe element. The information they bring to light is never seen as a red flag signifying possible danger. Opposition to the vaccine philosophy is actively discouraged or squelched.

Overwhelmingly, parents succumb to pressure to vaccinate their children. “No shots, no school” rings in their ears with visions of law enforcement. However, the vaccine philosophers rely heavily on the fact that most parents do not know that state laws require schools and agencies to submit forms stating whether a vaccine was given or an exemption was filed and in a huge majority of cases, it is not illegal to reject vaccines, it is illegal for agencies to have incomplete records.

The law is routinely misinterpreted in order to coerce if not force parents into agreeing to non-emergency medicine that some still consider experimental. The parents are injected with a sense of urgency that tugs on their emotions and pressures them into ignoring the controversy.

The vaccine philosophy has invaded society to the extent that most people do not question vaccinating. It is pervasive in the schools, television and children’s literature. It is so much a part of our culture that we take for granted that vaccines must be good for us.

When it is constantly reinforced in every aspect of life, people are comfortable with sticking to the status quo. However, the detractors might consider vaccination ineffective and harmful and may look on those who vaccinate as being members of an odd culture that places its beliefs in the ceremony of vaccination.

As more and more children are diagnosed with learning disabilities and a myriad of other chronic conditions, parents ask questions about the likelihood that vaccines caused the damage. A growing number of parents are rejecting vaccines based on their first-hand experiences. These strong beliefs come from personal observations and become ingrained in these parents as fervently as society’s criticism against those beliefs.

Still, societal pressure and cultural conditioning bring most members of the community around to the status-quo. The mavericks and those having doubt, pave the way for deeper probing. But, given both sides and a clear choice, a person still chooses an option which best fits his or her personal philosophy.

People will ultimately act on what they believe. Most believe the vaccine philosophy, some do not.

  1. “10 reasons why parents choose not to vaccinate.” Australian Vaccination Network, 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2010. <australian vaccination=”” network=”” http:=”” baby=””>.
  2. Shapiro, E.D., and A.T. Berg. “Protective efficacy of haemophilus influenza type b polysaccharide vaccine.” Pediatrics, supplement to, part 2. Current Status of haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines 85.4 (1990). Print.
  3. Leary, Warren E. “Critics question ethics of U.S. sponsored vaccine tests in Italy and Sweden.” The New York Times 13 Mar. 1994: 26L. Print.
  4. “FDA approval of use of a new haemophilus b conjugate vaccine and a combined diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and haemophilus b conjugate vaccine for infants and children.” Journal of the American Medical Association 269 (1993): 2359. Print.
  5. Miller, Neil Z. Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners. Santa Fe, NM: New Atlantean Press, 2008. 140. Print.
  6. Ibid; p. 322
  7. “Hepatitis A vaccines considered for licensing.” Journal of the American Medical Association 267 (1992): 2007. Print.
  8. “Progress toward elimination of haemophilus influenzae type b disease among infants and children—United States, 1987-1993.” Journal of the American Medical Association 271 (1994): 1231. Print.
  9. See note 5; p. 140, 155, 167.