Editorial, Opinion

EDIT: Medical conspiracies

According to a recent study by the University of Chicago, nearly half of Americans mistrust standard medical advice and mainstream pharmaceuticals. And, well, given that pharmaceutical companies are run like a business, why wouldn’t they be?

According to the study, 37 percent of respondents believe the Food and Drug Administration suppresses natural cures for cancer and other diseases due to pressure from pharmaceutical companies. Twenty percent of those surveyed said they feel physicians and government “still want to vaccinate children even though they know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders.”

In a country where most advertisements are for medicines that will alleviate your headache, but may cause severe depression, hallucinations, uncontrollable muscle movements, nausea, heart burn and you know, death, it makes sense why many Americans are skeptical of mainstream medicine.

However, this is not to say such medicines and vaccinations should be completely ignored. No pharmaceutical company would intentionally work to create a medicine that would harm the patient — at least, we hope they wouldn’t.

Maybe there isn’t a need to inundate our bodies with vaccinations for archaic diseases and relatively less severe illnesses such as chicken pox and the flu, but there is a justifiable reason to require vaccinations for diseases such as mumps and measles.

Although they sound outdated, mumps and measles have a knack for making random comebacks. Just this month, several patients were quarantined in New York City after a rare outbreak of measles spread to 20 people. Also this month, the California Department of Public health announced it had received reports of 32 measles cases so far in 2014.

According to the study, many are skeptical of these vaccinations because of medical conspiracy theories that say they lead to disabilities such as dyslexia and autism. But in a Sunday New York Times op-ed piece, Kristen Feemster, pediatric infectious diseases physician, said vaccine exemptions should be eliminated altogether in the interest in protecting those around us.

And, when it comes to diseases as severe as measles and mumps, Feemster is right. Although some claim such vaccinations go against their philosophical and religious beliefs, there comes a point where individual interests need to be subverted for the general welfare of the public.

Unlike the hypochondriacs who believe talking on cell phones and standing next to a microwave will cause cancer, believing that certain vaccinations have serious drawbacks is at least somewhat justifiable. But, at the same time, the drawbacks would reap from not enough people being vaccinated outweigh any personal beliefs against them.


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