Too Few Vaccinations?

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Too
few children get vaccinated.

It’s
hard to believe, but a “panel of experts” says so, and they recommend
the obvious: another federal program to force insurance companies
to cover them, and more federal money to ensure universal vaccination.

So
here’s another reason for the State to “intervene” in the medical
business. Just one problem: Intervention is a bad idea, and everyone
does not agree that all or any vaccines are necessary.

The
Plan

The
proposal comes from the Institute for Medicine.

We
wanted “assure there was no one in this country who lacked the means
to pay for vaccinations,” one panel member told the Associated Press,
while another said we need “a system where access and availability
isn’t something that occurs only if you’re lucky.”

Typical
eggheads. They never shrink from telling everyone what they need
and why they need it. And people with the financial resources to
buy medical care aren’t smart and don’t work hard, they are “lucky.”

Anyhow,
the plan suggests that government order all health insurance programs
to cover vaccines, envisions government subsidies for the coverage
and vouchers for inoculations.

Why?
The government spends $1 billion annually on vaccines, AP reports,
but that isn’t enough. “Too few” children get shots, which is curious
given that a child needs vaccines to attend compulsory government
schools.

Anyhow,
the panel also worries that too few companies produce vaccines,
which has created shortages. Thus, the news agency reports, government
must “provide a stable market” and “encourage manufacturers.”

Well,
yeah, it will encourage manufacturers. Free money does that.

Are
Vaccines Necessary?

Free
money, meaning government subsidies and mandates, is the first obvious
problem with the proposal.

Illegitimate
government subsidies will increase, we are told, but somehow, more
spending will end the government’s role as the largest buyer of
vaccines. This seems impossible, and probably is, but the important
point is we don’t need more federal intervention in medicine. Medical
care is screwed up enough, along with being too expensive, thanks
to government intervention.

More
importantly, it’s no forgone conclusion that everyone or even anyone
needs the traditional childhood vaccines, such as diphtheria, pertussis
(whooping cough) and tetanus.

Thanks
to modern medicine, such diseases rarely kill, vaccines regardless.
Ever hear of anyone dying of diphtheria lately? How about the mumps?
It ain’t 1915 anymore.

The
authorities recently ordered up chicken pox vaccinations. It was
a dubious medical advance, given that chicken pox is a benign childhood
disease that keeps a child home from a school for a few days and
confers lifetime immunity. Then again, a key reason for the mandate
was not to prevent chicken pox, but to prevent mothers who work
outside the home from missing time at the office.

Doctors
are not of one mind on vaccines. Some believe the risk of vaccines,
such as autoimmune diseases, crippling reactions and perhaps even
autism, are greater than the risks of the diseases.

Yet
the “experts” conclude we need more vaccines and that taxpayers
must foot the bill.

Not
To Worry

This
report is freighted with two assumptions, one of which is flat wrong,
the other, dubious.

We
don’t need more government intervention in medical care, and if
anyone stopped poking needles long enough to ask some questions,
we might learn it’s best to dispense with vaccinations, not increase
them.

Not
to worry, though. The experts and the government will keep inoculating
with abandon. And taxpayers will help them.

August
6, 2003

Syndicated
columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send
him mail
] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record
in Harrisonburg, Va.

R.
Cort Kirkwood Archives


        
        

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