Monday, September 14, 2009

Well, That Was Just a TV Show

The other day, I commented on an old Law & Order episode (from the great Chris Noth/Michael Moriarty days) and a Supreme Court case revolving around a Manitoba law that allows the govenment to force medical treatment on minors against their wishes or religious objections.  I wasn't particularly worried about the law itself (I'm pretty willing to trample the liberty of minors), but I was worried about the general trend of encroachment on liberty that it represented.

Today, we learn that Ottawa "public" schools are mulling over the idea of barring students who do not receive the H1N1 vaccine.  So, one particular level of government is thinking of essentially forcing students to receive this vaccine.  Does the vaccine work?  Doesn't matter.  Is the vaccine safe?  Doesn't matter.

This, from the story in The Ottawa Citizen, is particularly rich:
She [Gretchen Chapman, a psychology professor at Rutgers University who specializes in the study of decision-making around vaccines] talked about the need to balance altruism and selfishness, tempered by complex issues including concerns over how safe the swine flu vaccine will be and how serious any outbreak of H1N1 becomes.
How very thoughtful of Gretchen Chapman to allude to the "complex issues".  Of course, this is after she describes two factors of decision-making, altruism and selfishness.  I guess I am to take from this that those of us who are skeptical of rapidly produced vaccines for pandemics that have not yet materialized (remember SARS, Bird Flu, West Nile?) are selfish.  Well, I'll take that over the altruism of blindly subjecting my child to the chemical whims of the Leviathan.

I would like to get vaccinated.  I am quite prepared to believe that this new threat is real, unlike all the other bogeymen health officials have paraded in front of us the past few years.  I think receiving some sort of protection in the form of a vaccine would be great.

What I am skeptical about is a governmnet initiative that seems to rely a lot on "trust me, this is good for you" or "whether you trust me or not, I'm doing this to you".  There are a lot of issues that have been raised about potential H1N1 flu vaccines.  So far, I have heard nothing re-assuring from health officials or government officials.  Since when did the burden of proof fall on the individual to prevent an invasive government initiative?

Maybe some will think I am concern trolling, so let me make this clear.  At this point, I will not be getting the H1N1 vaccine.  I will not allow my daughter to be injected with it.  I find it abhorrent that certain government officials feel it is their job to force this treatment on people... and on children, especially.  If this vaccine is safe, let the scientists prove it.  Let them prove it according to established and accepted guidelines regarding clinical trials.  Until then, get your syringe away from me.

Of course, this would be less of an issue if we'd just get rid of government schools, or, at least, allow parents some more choice as to the school they send their child.  Funny how one form of government oppression might lead to another.

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