Both Sides of the Vaccination Debate are Correct… and Incorrect

It seems to me that the vaccination debate has devolved into a cynical competition to see just how extreme each side can get.

On one side, we’re apparently just supposed to implicitly trust everything a doctor or the “medical community” says without the slightest degree of skepticism. No discussion of the financial incentives involved, the political connections within the pharmaceutical industry, or the risks associated with any particular vaccine will be tolerated.

On the other side, the only acceptable position seems to be complete abstinence from all vaccines in all situations. Suggest that a particular vaccine might be worthwhile, and you’re accused of being a “shill for the pharmaceutical industry.” (Sadly, such a lucrative position continues to elude me.)

As is typical for me, I don’t fit in either popular camp. I believe that vaccines can be useful. Smallpox and Polio were significant problems which were largely solved through vaccination. I also think that kids today are getting too many vaccines at too young of an age. Like almost all human actions, vaccinations carry both risks and rewards (“Heresy!” cries everyone) and the unique risk tolerance of each person will lead to a variety of conclusions—none of which are inherently or objectively wrong.

If both sides would strive to acknowledge the respective risks or rewards recognized by the other side, this acrimonious vaccination debate might be elevated to an enlightening discussion from which we all could benefit. I can’t say I’m terribly optimistic about this outcome, though, as it doesn’t seem to be anyone’s primary objective right now.

Save as PDFPrint
Liked it? Support this contributor on Patreon!
Parrish Miller

Written by 

Parrish Miller has worked as a web designer, policy analyst, blogger, journalist, digital media manager, and social media marketing consultant. Having been largely cured of his political inclinations, he now finds philosophy more interesting than politics and is focused particularly on alternative ideas such as counter-economics, agorism, voluntaryism, and unschooling.

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
David Weiner Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
David Weiner
Guest
David Weiner

I am glad to have found this article here. The author describes the dissident view as follows: the only acceptable position seems to be complete abstinence from all vaccines in all situations. Suggest that a particular vaccine might be worthwhile, and you’re accused of being a “shill for the pharmaceutical industry.” I think that this is an oversimplification. To be sure, there are some who take this view, but there are many others who believe, as the author does, that there may be situations where certain vaccines may be worth taking. There is more widespread agreement that these decisions should… Read more »