I think that the way forward on this is for the pharm industry as well as mainstream society to acknowledge that rare, but potentially severe reactions can occur. People do die from vaccination, as well as other unpleasant side effects like neurological disorders like Guillain-Barre. It doesn’t happen often, but if it happened to someone you love or someone you know, living in a society that poo-poos that as an acceptable risk creates two armed camps.

Rather than doubling down on the complete safety and efficacy of vaccines, the public health angle ought to be in better understanding and dealing with the factors that might lead to complications. Some years the flu vaccine is only about 12% effective but because it has to be created quickly year to year, is improperly studied for safety. It truly is rolling the dice. Some sort of better testing also needs to be figured out, because when “definitive” studies come out meant to silence nay-sayers and they are really just compilations of administrative data taken from health insurance data bases, totally tainted by Healthy User Bias, we aren’t getting a true look at the actual picture.

Vaccines are an important part of public health — except for the people for whom they are disastrous. That needs to be accounted for and until it is, the anti movement will continue.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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