16 years ago, a doctor published a study. It was completely made up, and it made us all sicker

Comments

Sam Eggertsen's picture

I disagree with the Secular Coalition taking this stance on vaccines.  The majority of parents who wish to modify the vaccine schedule for their children do so for very serious concerns about specific vaccines, not for religious reasons.  And your comments on Andrew Wakefield are at best uninformed.  I suggest you watch a YouTube video on this topic:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LB-3xkeDAE

The Secular Coalition should not involve itself in this issue. It is not a state vs religion issue. It is an issue of parental rights.

Doug Berger's picture

The scientific consensus doesn't back up the need to modify vaccine schedules. Such concern is usually because parents read suspect information on the Internet or told by a friend and refused to check the information with an actual doctor.

Here in Ohio the exemption includes reasons of conscience, including religious convictions so the change would need to remove the both "reasons" to protect children.

 

 

Sam Eggertsen's picture

I disagree with the Secular Coalition taking this stance on vaccines.  The majority of parents who wish to modify the vaccine schedule for their children do so for very serious concerns about specific vaccines, not for religious reasons.  And your comments on Andrew Wakefield are at best uninformed.  I suggest you watch a YouTube video on this topic:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LB-3xkeDAE

The Secular Coalition should not involve itself in this issue. It is not a state vs religion issue. It is an issue of parental rights.

Michael T.'s picture

I support the Secular Coalition taking a stance on vaccines. There is a clear overlap with religion since nearly all states allow a religous exemption [http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/16/nearly-all-states-allow-.... Furthermore, evidence-based thinking is a core value of the SCA's members, and the majority of parents who oppose vaccines do so for reasons which are not well supported by evidence. Andrew Wakefield has been demonstrated over and over again to have been wrong in his methods and wrong in his conclusion.

I support the Secular Coalition in taking a stance on this important issue which has clear overlap with separation of church and state, as well as being an important issue for public health and the safety of children.

I agree that the SCA should take a stance on this issue. Prior to the Wakefield paper, most parents who did not vaccinate their children refused to do so on religious grounds, and it was mainly in fundamentalist religious communities where previous outbreaks (such as the measles outbreak in the early 1990s in Philadelphia that killed nine children) occurred.

It is worth noting that the 1998 Wakefield paper specifically said, "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described." Of course, that did not stop Wakefield himself from declaring in the press that there was a link, nor does it make the study any less scientifically fraudulent.

Whether the SCA's stance on vaccines is the correct one, though, is a matter I'm not entirely sure about. Is the SCA more concerned with removing some of the legislatively-entrenched stigma against people without faith - an approach that would tend to encourage religious pluralism? Or is it more concerned with removing religious interests from government altogether - an approach that would tend to encourage a French-style "subtractive" secularism? The SCA might support vaccines on the evidence in either case, but its stance on religious exemptions would seem to depend on its philosophical approach.

Doug Berger's picture

The stance of SCA is that non-medical exemptions to vaccines should be repealed from state laws that include them.

For example here in Ohio the legal code states

(4) A pupil who presents a written statement of the pupil's parent or guardian in which the parent or guardian declines to have the pupil immunized for reasons of conscience, including religious convictions, is not required to be immunized.

The simple fact is that the science doesn't back up religious or philosophical reasons to not immunize children. The only reason a child shouldn't be immunized is if there is a medical reason not to have it.

Some parents, using faulty information they read on the Internet or told to them by a friend, ignore the people who actually know the correct information - doctors and scientists. It this case religious beliefs can cause real harm to their children and other children who for medical reasons aren't immunized. Even adults with compromised immunity can be exposed and can die as one woman did in Washington State. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/woman-dies-measles-first-us-de...