Friday, October 9, 2009

Vaccines

I'm of two minds about vaccines. My biological science background taught me that they are good as they make your body increase or build immunity against diseases. But of late, with all the information available around us, I've been wondering if vaccines really help. Maybe they do, if these vaccines have been thoroughly researched and tested till no end before they are pushed out to the market. The testing, however, is another area of concern - testing on animals i.e. cruelty to animals, testing on humans i.e. people used as guinea pigs and getting paid to participate in drug trials, but otherwise, how to test?

Vaccines may have side effects. Some could be mild and tolerable but some could be serious or fatal. Till today, vaccines administered during the toddler years, have been debated about as to whether they cause conditions like autism. And recently, the cervical cancer (HPV) vaccine has been reported to be the cause of serious and even fatal incidents among teens and young women. With the influenza A(H1N1) virus attack not letting up, and even a second wave expected during the coming winter spell, pharmaceutical companies and scientists had rushed to develop a vaccine. It is now available and there's much debate about that too, as to whether in the rush, testing was done sufficiently or not since viruses can develop resistance or mutate (like the avian flu virus), and if governments have the right to 'force' people to be vaccinated, and penalise those who refuse it.

An 'alternative' health and medicine website, that promotes health through natural means that I subscribe to online, often bashes drug companies and their government links for their push to medicate and vaccinate for financial and economic reasons. Some of what is written makes sense.

Here are some samples of their articles:

Top researcher who worked on cervical cancer vaccine warns about its dangers

Teen girl suffers permanent brain damage after cervical cancer vaccine

Historical facts about the dangers (and failures) of vaccines

Diseased African Monkeys Used to Make Swine Flu Vaccines; Private Military Contractor Holds Key Patents

Some other links I found on my own:

HPV Vaccine Researcher Blasts Mandatory Marketing

'Dangers' of the fast-track swine flu vaccine



The public should be made aware of the possible side effects of any vaccine, and any durg/medication. Most times, especially here where I live, clinics do not explain or highlight these possible side effects to the patients. Some general practitioners dispense generic medicine in bulk packaging types of bottles or their clinic's personalised bottles and plastic envelopes. These carry labels informing the patient about the dosage only. Patients don't even know the names of the pills/medicine they are taking, let alone the possible side effects. There are only some doctors/clinics who are conscientious and responsible enough to take that extra step to explain thoroughly to the patient about the drugs he/she is given. Is there no guideline by the healthcare authorities in ensuring all healthcare providers conduct themselves in the rightful manner?

Ask the person dispensing you your medicine the next time what you are taking and if they cause any side effects. Or if the medicine is in its original packaging, it should have a pamphlet inside detailing it's drug content, recommended dosage and possible side effects. Some sections may contain pharmaceutical jargon but the recommended dosage and side effects should be easily understood by the man in the street.

So while we ponder about whether drugs/vaccines do more harm than good or vice versa, it's still best to stay healthy by natural means, i.e. eat well and exercise and be mindful of our general health. Prevention is better than cure, as the old saying goes.

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