People have been talking about measles and vaccines. But, for me, the issue is broader than measles and vaccinations; it is an example of the manipulation of information about health and food for corporate profit. And that affects our ability to make informed decisions and give informed consent regarding what happens to our bodies and those of our children.
The debate about measles and vaccinations on social networks has been ugly for the past few months, ever since some people got measles at Disneyland. Anyone who questions the current schedule of vaccinations in North America is said to be “anti-science,” ill-informed, non civic-minded, and even stupid. Some people have been suggesting that parents who don’t vaccinate their children should be jailed or sued. A medical ethicist thinks that all doctors who have concerns about vaccines should lose their licenses. War has broken out between those who are being characterized as “anti-vaxxers” and those who think they have righteousness on their side and like to reinforce it with insults. The rest of us have been keeping our heads down.
When fear kicks in, truth, complexity, and rationality get lost in such “discussions,” so I haven’t become involved. But the truth is that the issue is not black and white. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is not a simple decision, and it is a highly personal one. It is increasingly being complicated by a huge amount of obfuscation of the facts. Although the media, the medical establishment, and the for-profit companies that manufacture these highly lucrative products (and must legally maximize shareholder value rather than our health) would like us to think that vaccines are unquestionably safe, the science is not that solid and it is constantly evolving. At any rate, one of the problems with exposures to drugs, food additives, and environmental pollutants is that they are studied in isolation from everything else we humans are ingesting.
Take, for instance, the stance of Israeli physician Yehuda Shoenfeld, who has spent more than three decades studying the immune system. He has written numerous medical text books on the subject and has been called the “Godfather of Autoimmunology” – the study of the immune system turned on itself in a wide array of diseases from type 1 diabetes to ulcerative colitis, lupus (about which I have personal knowledge, unfortunately), and MS. Shoenfeld is pointing to vaccines as a significant contributor to the growing global epidemic of autoimmune diseases, likely due to the adjuvants they contain. We published an article twenty years ago in Natural Life Magazine by a naturopath who suggested that childhood vaccines may be leading to a general trend of deteriorating health and increased autoimmune diseases.
Further complicating things are the corporate whistleblowers, the doctors charged with fraud, allegations of data manipulation and suppression of research papers…. Can you begin to see the web woven of money that entangles the truth, as I’ve described many times in the past in Natural Life Magazine? All of this makes it hard to know what the facts really are, although it certainly should lead one to be suspicious.
The vaccination kerfuffle is just a current example of corporate influence on our health – an influence by so-called Big Pharma that makes it very difficult to make decisions. For instance, millions of people take the cholesterol lowering statins and blood pressure drugs that research increasingly indicates may do nothing to reduce mortality but can harm our health in many other ways. In fact, in a situation eerily similar to the manufactured confusion and apparent statistical deception regarding vaccine safety, a new study has suggested there has been a cover-up of over three hundred adverse health effects of statins documented in the biomedical literature.
Then there is the breathless promotion of wearable technology devices – from wristwatches to technology-embedded clothing. The financial opportunity appears enormous – a tenfold market increase to fifty billion dollars in three to five years, by some projections. But aside from the usefulness or stylishness (or lack thereof) of this stuff, is it safe? That’s not to mention the increasing but oft-denied evidence of serious health effects of ubiquitous wi-fi, especially for children. And then there’s the fragrance industry, processed food, GMOs, etc., etc…all things we’re told won’t harm us and may even make our lives better…if we buy them.
Please approach those things, and other issues like vaccination, with an open mind, knowing that we do not necessarily have all the information we need to make good decisions, and in many cases neither do our physicians. For instance, most so-called “anti-vaxxers” are not anti-science; they just want to know exactly what the science says, not what industry wants it to say – before they provide their consent. In the previously mentioned article about vaccinations in Natural Life Magazine, the author wrote, “Informed consent means the parent/guardian is given time to read, understand, and research the information about the risks and dangers of immunizations” – and to weigh that against the benefits. That is true of any sort of medical intervention that is being suggested.
So do your research as best you can, and make your own decisions about what you buy and eat, and what medical procedures you subject yourself and your family to. We need to think hard and long before we accept what corporations and even governments say about the safety of products and procedures out there in the marketplace – in spite of attempts to influence our decisions, even shame us for them, use fear to manipulate us, or legislate our compliance. Keep in mind that we do have choices.