Admittedly, my position on #vaccines is that it is really challenging for those who take a scholarly approach to today's healthcare to really get a clear perspective on the good and the bad regarding our various immunizations. This is our responsibility, however, to think critically, to ask questions, to consider alternative views, which doesn't mean we assume them. We entertain ideas and push our thoughts outside the box. This is the essence of science. We once thought blood-letting was the best medicine had to offer! Someone had to step up and ask if this was really the best option.
However, as a nursing professor offering advanced pathophysiology courses to advanced practice nurse practitioners, my curriculum specifically addresses the scientific basis of vaccines, yet I have witnessed my colleagues share with students that if they researched this topic, they must stick to how vaccines do not cause #autism and how they are effective and safe. Why does the profession allow such bias in this area of our study? Potentially the outcome of their research may prove the same, but we don't approach our studies or our teaching looking only for what we want to see. Our role as educators, is to point students where to look for good information and then to guide them into thinking critically about that information without so we can expand the ideals and perspectives; this is how we truly advance healthcare science. We don't tell people what to think.
As a professional, taking time to listen to the expert panels among our larger healthcare organizations discuss their positions, questions, concerns, and brilliance about various vaccines is an incredible opportunity because they aren't there trying to convince each other of the vaccine's safety. Rather, they are pointing out its weaknesses, seeking higher standards, and bringing light to areas of doubt, as this is how we advance health outcomes and build our scientific body. Recommendations are just that. After discussing all the many areas of concern and asking hard questions, recognizing weaknesses and contemplating better strategies, these experts craft recommendations which ultimately evolve and this isn't always based on new evidence, but also changes in member mindset, agendas, or political circumstances. I've participated in these panels. What many people think they know is not a reality.
Our Healthcare System is Manipulated by Capital Interests
Although healthcare throughout most all of its speciality areas can be very political and overrun with capitalist interests, this is unparalleled to that which occurs in the area of our country's vaccination program, which makes discerning what we think we know about these potentially revolutionary medical marvels a little disheartening to those who really do approach their practice with a scholarly mind.
When I was working through my undergraduate program in maternal and child health, and was learning the historical evolution of human milk replacements and recognizing the brilliance in the marketing campaigns that pushed this product to the forefront of the industry, and recognized how manufacturing companies paralyzed our own government, forcing our nation to shut down its national advertising campaign to promote breastfeeding because they feared class action law suits greater than those that resulted from the white lies campaign, I lost all naivety for believing when people know better, they do better. Our government was the country's largest purchaser of artificial breastmilk as it distributed it through our country's WIC program. If the national ad campaign continued to educate consumers about the dangers of artificial breastmilk, and caused them to question if their child's leukemia or asthma or chronic infections were the result of their aggressive marketing and inferior product, then prices would skyrocket for our government as manufactures endured #liability law suits. Financial security was a higher priority than the health of our children. The advertisements were quickly halted and Americans resumed their belief that choosing between breast and bottle is not a lot different than choosing between coke and pepsi; if you want to be an over-achiever, fine, choose to breastfeed, but who really wants to work that hard?
Now blow this up, expand it worldwide, and add billions more dollars. Then remove any liability vaccine manufactures could suffer if they put out a product too quickly, used less than the best ingredients, sacrificed a few who have #polymorphism vulnerabilities, or were led down an unethical path with less than altruistic ideals and we have our vaccine industry. It doesn't require a lot of critical thought to appreciate that this area of the profession is complex, murky, vulnerable to profound manipulation, and parallels the exploding rates of inflammatory disease, autoimmune disorders, and childhood morbidities we are currently suffering. The incidence of autism has jumped from six to seven children of every 1,000 kids at the turn of the century, to nearly twenty per 1,000 just twenty years later (per the CDC) while the number of recommended vaccines multiply and our Earth is pumped full of more and more toxic chemicals our bodies don't recognize. My thoughts are that we need to ask more questions.
When our President shares, quite candidly, not that he desires relief in future COVID-19 cases through vaccine efforts as soon as this can be demonstrated to be safe, but rather, that he would like a COVID-19 vaccine to be available before the election, it becomes more clear that vaccines are not just simple, innoxious marvels. They are vulnerable to significant manipulation, as are consumers. This may just be to boost his image and offer him credit within his presidency, but if we are knowledgeable about our history then we are also familiar with the many ways humans have suffered from grossly unethical practices. One might assume this is more true of ancestral ages, but the reality is that #unethical research practices, even illegal actions conducted without the knowledge, consent, or informed discussion with the test subjects has grown in incidence through the 20th century.
Humans have been exposed to many chemicals and biological weapons (including infection with deadly or debilitating diseases) and I have cared for some of these people in my lifetime. Humans have been used in radiation experiments within my lifetime. Injections of toxic and radioactive chemicals have occurred without consent, and many have been part of surgical experiments without their prior knowledge. Within my career, women have been and still are today, used as practice dummies for classes of medical students who need to perform pelvic exams if they present for any variety of surgeries that may offer general anesthesia because they argue the blanket consent form allows for any procedure deemed necessary, even for teaching purposes. While I don't want to be overly dramatic, it is important to also acknowledge that humans have been interrogated and tortured for purposes of research, and tests involving mind-altering substances have occurred, even on children, the sick, the mentally disabled, and under the guise of "medical treatment." In most cases, these subjects were poor, of racial minorities, or prisoners (of which we have a larger percentage than any other country in the world). One last point, many of these experiments were funded by our United States government, especially our military or Central Intelligence Agency.
What I find incredibly disheartening beyond the reality of our past is that just sharing this information as part of a scholarly inquiry will cause many, if not most, to #gaslight and attempt to discredit the historian or label myself a conspiracy theorist. This thought process alone creates vulnerability for losing teaching positions, eliminating potential for hire into the future, and potentially even professional reporting for breeching professional standards. Yet, this is the thinking that every scholar should offer any area of study. We must think beyond our passions, our bias, and ask important, even crazy questions. The norm doesn't advance. We must be courageous enough to stand out and think for ourselves. This is why I so adore my clientele. They are the ones who ask questions. They are confident enough to think for themselves. They carve out their own paths.
Dozens of vaccines are in clinical trials, including four in the United States. I've written about this before. If you want to better understand COVID-19 and the evolution of our understanding then please, peek at this previous blog and feel free to ask questions, share thoughts, or spark discussion. I welcome differences of opinion. Push us all to think a bit. I also talked a bit about the vaccine in this previous post and our immune system, as well as the important role vitamin D plays in our health and protection from COVID-19. If you want to really dive into discussions about vaccines and you are an Eden practice member, then join our vaccine forum. I share the literature and ask questions. I don't tell you what to think.
As we watch the unfolding of the new COVID-19 vaccine, consider that the FDA requires that the manufacture prove only 50 percent effectiveness compared to saline solution. Our flu vaccine reportedly ranges between 40 and 60 percent effective, although it certainly seems the past several years have rolled in as low as 10 percent. Measles has a reported effectiveness rate of about 97 percent. After it is considered safe for testing, it will endure ongoing monitoring until it hits the market which is when rare side effects and safety issues become more apparent, after millions of doses are given. Even if it proves overwhelming safe and effective, we won't know how long this protection lasts, or if it should be repeated annually. As most interventions in healthcare - think pap smears in teenagers, continuous fetal monitoring, routine prostate exams, and annual mammograms - we seem to start offering more, thinking this is better, and then as we recognize risks, it can be challenging pulling that back into balance.
The issue of immunizations is complex in every aspect of its being. Distributing vaccines is complex. Think of all the vaccines they have mass produced and need to get into people, not to mention the likelihood of hospitals and medical offices requiring COVID vaccinations although a huge percentage of people have already voiced disinterest in obtaining it themselves. It is unlikely that schools will require mandatory vaccination for children as safety testing has even begun on this age group, and won't for quite some time.