Opinion: Please — look at the science with vaccines | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Please — look at the science with vaccines

Steven G. Chilinski, MD
Special to the Bonanza

I would like to comment on the opinion article by editor Kevin MacMillan last week entitled “We shouldn’t limit the ability to choose.”

I generally agree with his line of reasoning that if another person’s choices don’t affect you, they should be entitled to choose as they see fit in their own lives.

But what if a person makes a choice that could affect you or your loved ones directly in a negative way? Such is the case with choosing not to vaccinate.

If parents elect not to vaccinate their children they are not only putting their own children at risk but if their children become infected they now serve as a reservoir of infection and can pass the infection onto others who for medical reasons cannot get vaccinated or cannot form an appropriate immune response to a vaccination.

So these parents are not only putting their own children at risk, but very selfishly, they are putting the most vulnerable in our society (cancer chemotherapy patients, patients with immune deficits, patients with vaccine allergies, etc. ) at risk.

Further, these same parents are depending on the rest of us to get vaccinated to form a strong enough herd immunity so their own children don’t get ill.

There is already a precedent in society to develop laws and regulations to prevent one person’s poor choice from affecting other people adversely — for example, DUI laws.

While a person can drink alcohol, society mandates that if they are intoxicated they must not be in a position (eg, driving or boating) where they may harm others.

Another example is smoking. While it is every person’s right to smoke, it is not every person’s right to harm others with secondhand smoke.

How do we ensure that infected unvaccinated citizens (sadly, usually children) won’t harm others? A quarantine law, although it sounds draconian, could be considered, but the infected person would have likely passed the infection to others by the time he/she is quarantined.

So it’s not a realistic approach. Now let’s consider vaccinations. There is not a single credible study showing that vaccinations lead to autism. It is a myth, based on an anecdotal book of opinions that a TV star wrote, and based on a discredited Lancet study that had to be retracted that used falsified information, after which the author was reprimanded.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, the WHO, and the IOM all agree that there is no relationship between vaccines and autism. Who would you rather believe, the world’s leading scientists or the opinions of a TV star?

Conversely, as a public health measure, vaccinations work. They work so well that we haven’t seen many of the scourges of the 20th century like smallpox, polio, and measles(the latter until recently).

Please take time to look at the science behind vaccinations. I had my son vaccinated. Please get your loved ones vaccinated as well.

Steven G. Chilinski, MD, is an Incline Village resident.