A vaccine for fear, anyone?

This week’s American Profile, the weekly insert in my hometown paper, the Watertown Daily Times, had an ad that got my attention.  The ad was for a vaccine to prevent shingles.  I’d never seen or heard of such a vaccine.  But the ad reminded me of the recent push from so many directions for everyone to get vaccines for all kinds of diseases.

The Gardasil vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), the vaccine for what is popularly known as “swine flu,” er, that would be “H1N1,” this vaccine for shingles, and on and on.   In fact, the CDC’s Immunization page lists 27 diseases for which there are vaccines.  For children ages 0-6, the CDC recommends 11 different vaccines and 10 for young people ages 7-18.   

To vaccinate or not has been and continues to be a hot topic–for parents making decisions on behalf of their children and for adults making decisions for themselves.   That issue isn’t the point of this post.

What I think is becoming all too apparent, especially in light of this disaster of  a bill audaciously called “health care reform,” is that we have outright fearmongering.  I suspect it’s the pharmaceutical companies that are largely culpulable here, but I don’t think they’re alone.  The pharmaceuticals (Merck pops up frequently in connection with vaccines) need to keep us afraid that we’re going to get some dread disease so we keep buying their vaccines and thereby improving their bottom line while possibly really endangering our health.  The media picks up these scary stories and plays them ad nausem, increasing the fear.  

Then, if we get this universally-bad health care program, and we get sick from the vaccine(s), we  are at the mercy of the system as to whether we are statistically worthy of treating.  And this whole atrocious cycle starts because we buy into the fearmongering.

Fear is a natural human emotion–and often a very good one.  But fear used as a means to scare people into decisions that may very well not be in their best interest is just plain wrong, especially during an economic crisis that has many people worried about paying any medical expenses.  

Next thing you know someone will be hawking a vaccine for fear!  Do yourself and your family a huge service.  Research before you jump on the vaccine boat.  Don’t let scare tactics and fear drive you in this life and death matter.  Get educated so you can make informed decisions for yourself and your family.

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One comment on “A vaccine for fear, anyone?

  1. Kathy says:

    A vaccine to prevent shingles would be like the vaccine that has in recent years been available against chicken pox…it is the same virus that lies dormant in a persons body and can present itself at any time in the form of a shingles rash erupting along a nerve tract oftentimes on the face or the trunk. It is a very painful and disabling illness. It seems that seniors are often the ones most afflicted. I think sharing information about the vaccines that can prevent spread of some very painful illness’ is not ‘fearmongering’. In fact in preventing illnesses you can save yourself and your whole family alot of money…you won’t be visiting your physician with your illness, buying those expensive pharmaceuticals, having time lost from your work etc. As you say ‘in this economic crisis..people are worried about paying for any medical expenses’! Your comments are unfounded and in fact you are spreading fear through your rhetoric!! A fact: one reason that certain illnesses are once again on the rise is because people have made the decision not to vaccinate, motivated to make that decision because of information like this! I certainly hope people don’t take your comments as gospel and I hope they do follow your bit of good advice to research the whole issue.

    I am neither Republican or Democrat. I am trying to stay informed from both ‘sides’ and make informed decisions. I am continually disappointed in poor information like this that is more like a battle of words against the ‘other side’, never mind that is poor information or downright wrong information. It is often Republican sources that have rhetoric like this…

    And does our country need health care reform…You bet we do!! Heres hoping our country can put it together to benefit ALL!!!!!

    RN in Wisconsin

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