I know I am pro-vaccine. I haven't had a neighbor die of tetanus since 1954. I haven't had a friend die of polio since 1955. I have a friend who is very much alive because she received the rabies vaccine after being bitten by an infected racoon. The things that don't have good vaccines, like malaria, affected many friends who ended up in SE Asia during the war and my niece, who traveled into the jungles of South America and contracted it there. But she didn't get many other diseases because there were vaccines to prevent them.
My friend Nancy is deaf because her mother contracted Rubella, a variety of measles, when pregnant. No vaccine existed at the time. Now it does. But how many cases of that disease do we get every year because people are frickin' afraid of side-effects? And how many additional deaf kids do we get? Not many, I hope. But that number could be virtually zero.
Recent studies show that people who get rubella have face numerous health risks later in life. The chances of contracting cataracts rises from .5% to 30%. The chance of contracting diabetes rises 20 times. These are serious numbers. How many people deciding not to get measles shots know that?
To be employed in the U.S. often means that certain things will be required, like drug tests and the like. Insisting that a health care worker get a shot seems relatively mild, in comparison. At least it isn't a violation of due process. And a health care worker who has more faith in god than in medicine isn't the sort of person I want drawing my blood or administering an IV for me, because they might just decide the heck with the medicine and depend on their god to save me.
The people who were concerned with mercury in vaccine causing autism weren't any happier once the mercury was taken out of the medicine. They also ignored the fact that if their kids went out and played in the dirt, they would get exposed to many times more mercury because it is a naturally occurring mineral that is more or less everywhere. And it isn't just the pharmaceutical companies that study this stuff. It is also the FDA, which has a reputation throughout the world of being tougher than it needs to be about most everything.
Our life expectancies aren't longer just because we all go out and buy the exercise equipment advertised on the Home Shopping Network. It is longer because we have made the world generally safer, provided more consistent food supplies, learned how to keep ourselves cleaner and, probably most importantly, because of modern medicine.
I understand the freedom argument. I understand that health care workers shouldn't be required to get shots. But I also understand that I, as a person going to the hospital to get repaired or healed, should be free to not have my health condition worsened by an ill health care worker whose transmittable disease could have been prevented.
If the KKK wants to make inoculations optional, I'm fine with that. But I, for one, would prefer to be treated competent medical professionals that understand the concept of medical risk and the consequences of infecting others. In fact I demand it. If they have no respect for the process, what respect are they going to have for me?