Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apparently, I'm an *sshole

Speaking of H1N1 vaccinations, here's an editorial from today's Ottawa Citizen:
With a second wave of H1N1 flu on the doorstep, Canadian public health officials face a serious stumbling block in their battle to contain the coming pandemic: the anti-vaccine movement.

People who refuse to be vaccinated -- because they have misguided medical fears or because they're making a quasi-political statement against the scientific "establishment" -- could derail progress aimed at reducing the effects of this disease, the result being that a lot of people could get seriously ill and die.
 This editorial is quite a piece of work.  Apparently, we're either misguided or we care more about political statements than we do our health if we're a little worried about the shady process that has quickly brought this vaccine (whichever version and dosage they wind up using) to market.  I guess such judgementalism even applies when it is doctors expressing concern.

This editorial is a stunning bit of disorganized rhetoric.  They acknowledge that there are reasonable concerns, but then go on to dismiss them out of hand.  They conflate anyone with any skepticism with people who were duped by a bogus study about autism, then gloss over the concerns of a Guillaume-Barre outbreak in the 1970s.

And let's not forget, this is the newspaper that scrubbed from an article any concerns about the vaccine.  Far from assuaging concerns of this vaccine, The Citizen has continued to show that supporters of vaccination are unwilling to actually address the concerns about this particular vaccine.

With each breatheless story of the anti-science, anti-reason, anti-vaccinationists (as if that's a word), I become more and more entrenched in my skepticism.  If advocates of this vaccine would actually address the reasonable concerns that some of us have, I'd be much more open to getting it.

As it stands, editorials like this do a disservice to the public.  It's quite likely that this vaccine could save many lives, but this take-it-because-we-say-so attitude will not save anyone.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, "misguided medical fears or because they're making a quasi-political statement against the scientific 'establishment'": the same argument used against the home- and free-birthing movements. It always seems to boil down to a real abhorrence of personal autonomy and truly INFORMED choice. Bad, bad, bad stuff here.