There’s a bit of a myth that is commonly bandied about which is that there is no debate about vaccine policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every vaccine (new and old) is constantly examined to see if they remain a cost-effective way of preventing illness, and new vaccines are given intense scrutiny by public health officials to ensure that they work. Take the HPV vaccine, for example. When it was released, there were fears that it would lead to consequences for teenage sexual health, such as more STIs or unintended pregnancies. This was thoroughly researched and found to not be an issue.

The thing is, whilst there is debate about vaccine policy, there is no debate about vaccine facts. You don’t debate facts. They are true regardless of whether you argue against them or not. So, for example, we can look at the idea that increased numbers of vaccinations lead to more chronic disease diagnoses. And having done research including literally millions of children, we can conclude that they do not. So the fact is that vaccines don’t cause, say, asthma. They just don’t.

The debate isn’t about the facts, because as I said they are facts. The debate is about whether the very well understood harms of vaccines — primarily a low risk of anaphylaxis — and the sometimes high cost of individual vaccines justifies their use. An example of this is the flu vaccine. Because the efficacy is reasonably low (between 40 and 50 percent), and the cost is not insignificant, there is a good argument that it should not be used for people who are unlikely to get really sick from the flu. But for an elderly person, the evidence is quite clear that the benefits outweigh the risks.

In terms of liability and vaccine inserts, I talked about this in the article. Rather than rehashing the same content, I’d say just have a read again, particularly points 2 and 1.

As to your final point, that we should include recommendations about things other than vaccines to enhance immune systems, I would argue that the CDC absolutely already does this. On their website you can find any number of infection control pamphlets, diet and exercise guidelines, even tips on how to stay healthy in winter.

Epidemiologist. Writer. Podcaster. Twitter FB Email

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