From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. (2222)”
“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of creation. (2205) . . . The family is a privileged community called to achieve a “sharing of thought and common deliberation by the spouses as well as their eager cooperation as parents in the children’s upbringing.(2206)”
“The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially: . . . .the freedom to establish a family, have children, and bring them up in keeping with the family’s own moral and religious convictions; . . . . the protection of security and health, especially with respect to dangers like drugs, pornography, alcoholism, etc.; the freedom to form associations with other families and so to have representation before civil authority. (2211)”
There is an extensive and voluminous body of work on the Church’s position on vaccines, which says that the decision to vaccinate a child, in most cases, can be a moral decision. This means that there are some cases in which it is not moral to vaccinate a child. This article does not address these issues.
Gambling can be moral or immoral:
“Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. (Catechism, 2413).”
This article attempts to show that the child-vaccination decision is based on some very real probabilities, and not on absolute certainties and undeniable facts.
This title of this article alone has alerted Pro- and Anti- vaccine folks everywhere, so get ready for the usual onslaught of comments below from both camps. Still, please keep in mind, this article does not seek to say vaccines are safe or vaccines are not safe, although it does make the point that it is untrue to say that all vaccines are always safe in all circumstances for all people, and all children. It is also untrue to say that vaccines are always unsafe.
An effort is made here to present some truths about vaccines – that those on both sides of the debate will not question – and to inform parents who are considering having their children vaccinated.
However, the attempt to do something that “both sides of the debate will not question” will not prevent those on both sides from pointing out, in one way or another, “you got it wrong, “ or “but you failed to present the big picture, the whole story, ALL the truths!” For all that and more, do these internet searches: a. “vaccines and safety;” b. “Big Vaxx;” c. “anti-vax” or “anti-vaxx;” d. vaccines and catholic teaching; e. Big Pharma Vaxx”; and f. “vaccines and autism.”
The word ‘gambling” in the title will no doubt, also be disputed vehemently. It is the correct word. That is, it is and will be correct until the questions about vaccines are answered one way or the other with absolute certainty. It is noted that there is ongoing research on the safety, or not, of the use of vaccines.
Despite what is going to ensue in the comments below, note well: no one will say “vaccines are 100% certain to be safe, always, for everyone.” Nor will this be heard: “vaccines will always cause harm or death.” Put another way, even if the odds are 1 in a million, you are still betting, and you are not betting on a sure thing. If it is said that such proof is “not scientifically possible,” this is simply another way of saying that the word “gambling” is correct in the context of parents making a decision whether or not to vaccinate a child. Those who may say the odds of harm or death caused by child vaccination are so infinitesimal that it is not gambling are implicitly saying it is gambling.
What are called the “truths” below can be parsed, conditioned, limited, explained, enlarged, pooh-poohed, dismissed, and flat out denied. Note well all efforts at such, and who makes the effort. An attempt has been made to glean these truths from various sources and to present them here with their clear implications. Any truth or implication stated below that is shown, without doubt, to be false will be deleted. Still, a sufficient number of them will remain to buttress the title above and the asking of the question at the end of this discussion.
Truths About Vaccines
Vaccines are usually safe. Put another way, in unusual cases vaccines are not safe.
Most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. Put another way, some vaccine adverse events are not minor and temporary.
More serious adverse events occur rarely (e.g. 1 per 1000 or 1 per 1,000,000,000 of doses), and some are so rare that risk cannot be accurately assessed. Put another way, some serious vaccine adverse events do occur, and the odds are 1 in a 1000 or 1 in 1,000,000,000. For some vaccine adverse events risk level cannot be established.
Regarding vaccines causing death, so few deaths can realistically be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically. When, after careful investigation, an event is felt to be a genuine vaccine-related event, it is most frequently found to be a programmatic error, not related to vaccine manufacture. Put another way, sometimes a genuine vaccine-related event is not found to be such an error or a mistake in manufacture.
U.S. government agencies work to make vaccines safe. In the rare event that a child is injured by a vaccine, he or she may be compensated through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Put another way, there are these “rare events.”
Vaccines are not completely risk-free. The overwhelming evidence is that vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating. Put another way, there is some evidence that not vaccinating is safer than vaccinating.
Nearly 90 percent of vaccine side effects are not serious. Put another way, about 10 percent of such side effects are serious.
The MMR vaccine can cause fevers, and some children who develop a fever can have a seizure; these are called fever-triggered seizures. However, studies show there is one case of fever-triggered seizure for every 3,000 to 4,000 children who receive this vaccine. And these seizures almost never cause harm over the long term. Put another way, there are fever-triggered seizures related to the MMR vaccine; and sometimes these seizures have caused harm over the long term.
Two doses of the measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective at preventing measles. Put another way, about 3 percent of the time this vaccine is not effective.
In rare cases, the rotavirus vaccine, is linked to the development of a serious intestinal disorder called intussusception. For every 65,000 children who received this vaccine, there was one case of intussusception. Put another way, there are children who did get this serious intestinal disorder.
Some babies and children, after receiving vaccines, a few days later or weeks later, have become autistic or have died. There is no scientific proof that is absolutely certain that the vaccines or materials or substances in them caused the autism or caused the deaths. There is no scientific proof that is absolutely certain that the vaccines or materials or substances in them did not cause the autism or did not cause the deaths.
The rate of autism has more than doubled since 2001, now affecting one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls. A recent analysis found that changing diagnostic and reporting criteria account for 60 percent of the increase in autism rates. Put another way, even changing diagnostic and reporting criteria, 40 percent of the increase in autism rates is not accounted for.
Some researchers opine that, although the outward signs of autism show up in toddlers just as they are getting a major course of vaccines, the condition is most likely set by the time a child is born. Put another way, there is a chance, based on what these researchers say, that there is the unlikely possibility that the condition is not set by the time a child is born.
Most medical doctors have their own children vaccinated. Some licensed and lawfully-practicing medical doctors with small children have not had their own children vaccinated, and they continue to not have them vaccinated.
The World Health Organization has said:
“The fact is that a child is far more likely to be seriously injured by one of these diseases than by any vaccine. While any serious injury or death caused by vaccines is too many, it is also clear that the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the slight risk, and that many, many more injuries and deaths would occur without vaccinations.”
There is a risk, even if it is called ‘slight risk,’ of harm, injury, and possibly death associated with vaccinating children.
WHO goes on to definitively and uncategorically state that it would be immoral for a parent not to vaccinate a child: “In fact, to have a medical intervention as effective as vaccination in preventing disease and not use it would be unconscionable.”
Mommy and Daddy, will you gamble with your children’s health and life? Do you feel lucky?