Trevor Gunn: vaccination – the facts
Hello, good evening and welcome to the second of my alternative view 3 blog posts. The subject of this post? Trevor Gunn and his talk on vaccination: the facts…
From what I can discern from google Trevor Gunn is a homeopath who questions the germ theory of disease. One who questions the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. The following is from here and describes a talk that seems similar to that which Mr Gunn will be giving.
“Far more significant than an imperfect drug, severe side-effects or ineffective intervention, is the impact of a conventional medical approach to illness on our perception of what we are capable of as human beings. By investigating not only which ideas and approaches have dominated modern health care, but also why, we shall be investigating the psychological, philosophical and commercial pressures that have helped to shape modern medicine and continue to shape us as human beings.”
Reading between the lines this seems to be standard anti-vax nonsense, indeed this seems backed up by Mr Gunns correspondence with the WHO. In which he questions whether the symptoms of measles are “wholly negative to the individual” and then goes on at length to describe the immuno-response to measles at great length. It seems almost churlish, almost but not quite because essentially what Gunn is advocating is the “measles isn’t harmful” canard, to point out that yes, while the bodies natural immuno-reponse to an infection or microbe isn’t wholly negative it’s often preferable not to have to rely on the bodies immuno-response in the first place. Particularly if you are an immuno-compromised individual that contracts measles or one of the 197,000 people who yearly die from the disease.
Its’ not too suprising to see that Gunns lectures tend towards this direction as a stock anti-vax response is “So what? Who says the measles are so bad?” (That could essentially read iInsert disease here).
Well, doctors, that’s who. As ABC News reports, the anti-vax movement isn’t just leaving an isolated number of unvaccinated children vulnerable—it’s putting entire regions in danger:
“When more than 10 percent of a community opts out of vaccinations, it leaves the entire community at risk because germs have a greater chance of causing an epidemic,” said Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician who represents the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The issue at hand is “herd immunity,” which works as a buffer: If enough people in a community are vaccinated, they protect those with weaker immune systems, or those whose vaccinations didn’t take, from catching the disease. The CDC estimates that some diseases, like mumps, can’t generally take hold in a population where as few as 75 percent of the people are vaccinated. But other, more virulent diseases, such as measles or the increasingly common whooping cough, need collective immunity of up to 94 percent to avoid infection.
So, in essence: Sure, your unvaccinated kid may live through the measles, or the mumps (though, as one doctor noted, cases in Canada have led to hospitalizations, deafness, meningitis, and sterility). But he’s also putting the other kids at risk.
The anti-vax movement is one that seems well suited to a series of talks about “New World Orders” and the like as mass vaccination campaigns (for the benefits of herd immunity) can be spun as attempts by “big government” to control the proles. However the rhetoric never really transcends this rather basic premise and never truly explains how vaccinations are supposed to aid the “New World Order” other then paranoid ramblings about “population control” or the sublime and ridiculous notion that somehow vaccinations serve as a means of mind control.
Another idea is that vaccines are purely a means of increasing the profits of big pharma. They are described as “monetary windfalls” for pharmaceutical companies however a report in the April 29th, 2009 issue of the National Center for Policy Analysis noted that “of the 12 pediatric vaccines recommended for all children, there have been severe shortages of more than half,” a situation the author of the report links to low profit margins for most vaccinations. The report goes on to note that most vaccinations are manufactured by only a handful of makers such as Merck because the profit margins are so low.
Vaccines account for less then 2% of overall pharma revenues so they are hardly the “cash cows” the anti-vax lobby portrays them as.