Suing Anti-Vaxxers

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Alissa_Sal's picture
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Suing Anti-Vaxxers

Anti-vaxxers: Why parents who don’t vaccinate their kids should be sued or criminally charged. - Slate Magazine

What if a mother decided not to vaccinate her daughter for measles, based on rumors that the vaccine causes autism, and her daughter gets the disease at the age of 4 and passes it to a 1-year-old, who is too young for the vaccine, at her day care center. And what if that baby dies?

That?s the sad scenario, more or less, of a Season 10 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. And it?s the hypothetical case study in a provocative paper in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics that explores whether there?s a case for holding people legally accountable for the damage they cause by not vaccinating their children. ?One can make a legitimate, state-sanctioned choice not to vaccinate,? the bioethicist Arthur L. Caplan and his co-authors write, ?but that does not protect the person making that choice against the consequences of that choice for others.? Since epidemiologists today can reliably determine the source of a viral infection, the authors argue, a parent who decides not to vaccinate his kid and thus endangers another child is clearly at fault and could be charged with criminally negligent homicide or sued for damages.

As you?d expect, the growing anti-vaccination movement responded in fury. After Caplan wrote a related post for the Harvard Law Blog, angry comments poured in. ?This article is industry propaganda at its worst,? one commenter declared. Another wrote: ?Caplan would have familiar company in fascist Germany.? The blog eventually shut down the comments for violations of the site?s policies against ?abusive and defamatory language? and the sharing of personal information.

Here?s why the anti-vaxxers are wrong and Caplan and his co-authors are right to raise the idea of suing or criminally charging them: Parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids for reasons of personal belief pose a serious danger to the public.

Measles vaccines are about 95 percent effective when given to children. That leaves a 5 percent chance that kids who are vaccinated will contract measles. This means that no matter what, the disease still poses a public health risk, but we rely on others to get vaccinated to hugely reduce the likelihood of outbreaks. That?s the process known as herd immunity.

Unvaccinated children threaten the herd. Take the San Diego measles outbreak of 2008. After unknowingly contracting the disease on a trip to Switzerland, an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy infected 11 other unvaccinated kids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of the cases occurred in kids whose parents had requested personal belief exemptions (or PBEs) through the state of California, one of 17 states to allow them. But three of the infected were either too young or medically unable to be vaccinated. And overall, 48 children too young to be vaccinated were quarantined, at an average cost to the family of $775 per child. The CDC noted that all 11 cases were ?linked epidemiologically? to the 7-year-old boy and that the outbreak response cost the public sector $10,376 per case.

Today, several states blame a rise in preventable diseases on the declining child vaccination rates. In Michigan, less than 72 percent of children have received their state-mandated measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines. In New York, as Caplan noted in his blog post, pockets of Brooklyn?s Hasidic Jewish community are experiencing a mini measles epidemic. Thirty cases have been confirmed so far. According to Dr. Yu Shia Lin of Maimonides Medical Center, some members of the community avoid the measles vaccine because they think it causes autism. The most visible proponent of this idea, former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy, will receive a giant new platform for her viewpoints when she joins the daytime gossipfest The View on Sept. 9.

The belief that the MMR vaccine causes autism goes back to a 1998 study published in the Lancet by a British gastroenterologist named Andrew Wakefield. In 2010, after years of criticism, the journal finally retracted Wakefield?s study, announcing that it was ?utterly clear, without any ambiguity at all, that the statements in the paper were utterly false.? Britain?s General Medical Council later revoked Wakefield?s medical license, noting that he?d failed to disclose his role as a paid consultant to lawyers representing parents who thought vaccines had harmed their kids. The CDC makes clear there is no connection between vaccines and autism.

Yet this dangerous idea persists. Often, it persists among people who are simply doing what they think is best for their kids. Which is why it?s necessary to take extra measures to ensure nonvaccinators understand the risk they pose to other people?s children.

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a professor of law at UC Hastings College of the Law and author of the blog Before Vaccines, argues in support of Caplan and his co-authors that if you fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent your child from transmitting a deadly virus to another child, you should bear the cost of that risk. If the government doesn?t impose liability, it is giving anti-vaxxer parents a free pass for posing a danger.

There should be exceptions, of course. A child may be too young to receive a vaccine or may be undergoing a medical treatment like chemotherapy that prevents vaccines from working. A vaccine shortage or lack of access to a medical facility would legally excuse a parent for not vaccinating.

There are legal obstacles to penalizing parents who don?t vaccinate their kids. Courts are generally less likely to impose liability on someone who fails to act than they are on someone who acts recklessly. Also, proving cause and effect will sometimes be difficult. Then again, to win damages, a plaintiff would only have to prove that it?s ?more likely than not? that a nonvaccinated child infected another person.

Parents who don?t vaccinate their kids may have the most heartfelt reason in the world: fear for their own children?s safety. But the basis for that fear is simply unfounded, and their decisions are putting other kids directly at risk. The bottom line is that the government?s interest in protecting children from getting the measles should trump parents? interest in making medical decisions for their kids. The creators of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit seem to agree. The name of the episode in which a little girl dies as a result of a mother?s refusal to immunize her son? ?Selfish.?

Do you agree that parents of unvaccinated children should be held responsible if it can be shown to be more likely than not that their child got another child sick?

Joined: 05/31/06
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While I think that it will ultimately prove all but impossible to actually litigate, yes, I am all for it. The article states the obvious exceptions (kids going through chemo, shortage of vax, kids with proven reasons to NOT be vax'd etc) but yes. The people in my newsfeed who I ultimately had to defriend always posting one or another CRAZY conspiracy theory (Vax caused AIDS! Vax Causes AUTISM NEW PROOF etc etc etc) are nothing more than an uneducated and selfish liabilities riding the herd immunity coattails of the rest of us ~ and weakening it in their misguided and selfish desire to protect their special snowflake over the well being of society.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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My children are all up to date on all of their vaccines and I intend for them to stay that way. That however, was my choice. It is no one else's business to force me to vaccinate my child. I would be very angry if this became the norm.

ClairesMommy's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

My children are all up to date on all of their vaccines and I intend for them to stay that way. That however, was my choice. It is no one else's business to force me to vaccinate my child. I would be very angry if this became the norm.

Yeah, and so many people who feel the way you do and who don't vaccinate their kids just ride the herd immunity provided by those who do vax and then say "Well, my kid's never gotten the measles so why should I vax?" or whatever.

Why would you be 'angry' about it, Bonita? You followed carseat laws, didn't you? Why is legislating their use okay with you but not vaccinations? Are you angry that all the other parents out there are also 'forced' to use carseats to protect their children?

Sorry, but I don't understand the logic.

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When you mainstream your children into public school they will have to provide their vaccination records or they will NOT be going. Does that make you angry? It makes me happy, happy to know my kids are protected in their school.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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A variety of controversial topics.

"ClairesMommy" wrote:

Yeah, and so many people who feel the way you do and who don't vaccinate their kids just ride the herd immunity provided by those who do vax and then say "Well, my kid's never gotten the measles so why should I vax?" or whatever.

Why would you be 'angry' about it, Bonita? You followed carseat laws, didn't you? Why is legislating their use okay with you but not vaccinations? Are you angry that all the other parents out there are also 'forced' to use carseats to protect their children?

Sorry, but I don't understand the logic.

The use of car seats is not controversial. It is controversial to put chemicals into your body. Yes, I do vaccinate because I choose to, but I do not think that should be a forced decision any more that I think circumcision, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, putting your baby to sleep on her tummy, or any other parenting choice.

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"Potter75" wrote:

When you mainstream your children into public school they will have to provide their vaccination records or they will NOT be going. Does that make you angry? It makes me happy, happy to know my kids are protected in their school.

This is not true in NY or TN (I personally know people in both places that do not vaccinate and have children in school). Different States have different rules, but in most places you can sign a waver and get an exemption.

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Its not a parenting choice, its a social issue and a huge global health issue. It'd be like you being against the FDA requiring cleanliness at meat packing plants or making restaurant workers wash their hands. Don't see you protesting your right to consume e coli burgers for fun.....this is the same thing.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

This is not true in NY or TN (I personally know people in both places that do not vaccinate and have children in school). Different States have different rules, but in most places you can sign a waver and get an exemption.

No, it is true that all states require students to be vaccinated, because it promotes safety and public health. Yes, all states allow waivers, which are wildly abused, unfortunately, by selfish parents. Yes, those people getting waivers (all states allow some form of this) and sending their children into the school system are the ones who should be sued (exceptions as noted in my OP). I want protection from them. Or they can go live on their little island of non vaxers if they please.

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"Potter75" wrote:

Its not a parenting choice, its a social issue and a huge global health issue. It'd be like you being against the FDA requiring cleanliness at meat packing plants or making restaurant workers wash their hands. Don't see you protesting your right to consume e coli burgers for fun.....this is the same thing.

If someone wants to raise their own meat and eat it under cooked that is also their business.

"Potter75" wrote:

No, it is true that all states require students to be vaccinated, because it promotes safety and public health. Yes, all states allow waivers, which are wildly abused, unfortunately, by selfish parents. Yes, those people getting waivers (all states allow some form of this) and sending their children into the school system are the ones who should be sued (exceptions as noted in my OP). I want protection from them. Or they can go live on their little island of non vaxers if they please.

You are also welcome to go live on your own little island where the Government dictates every aspect of your life.

ClairesMommy's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

The use of car seats is not controversial. It is controversial to put chemicals into your body. Yes, I do vaccinate because I choose to, but I do not think that should be a forced decision any more that I think circumcision, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, putting your baby to sleep on her tummy, or any other parenting choice.

Maybe today and maybe even not when you were a child, but trust me, car seats were not something many parents wanted for their children, at least not from the point of view of safety. If it is controversial to put chemicals into your body, then I assume you do not take medicine of any kind, or use makeup or hairspray. Hellz, better not eat any tuna. It's got more mercury than vaccines with thimerosal EVER had.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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I agree with Melissa that it would be a nightmare to actually prove, but in a perfect world, yes, I do think that we should hold parents accountable if their unvaccinated children get another child sick. If choosing not to vaccinate ONLY affected those parents children then I might feel differently about it (although I would still feel furious every time a child died of an easily preventable disease because they were not vaxxed.) But given the fact that vaccinations are not 100%, and some children cannot be vaccinated due to age or illness or other circumstances, when you choose not to vax you aren't just affecting your own children. You are potentially impacting other parents' children, parents who DON'T have a choice. Willfully weakening our herd immunity while counting on it to protect your kids is a terrible thing to do IMO. So yes, I would be quite fine with it if anti-vaxxers could be held legally liable for their selfish and reckless choices.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

If someone wants to raise their own meat and eat it under cooked that is also their business.

You are also welcome to go live on your own little island where the Government dictates every aspect of your life.

Right- because not wanting my kids to contract preventable diseases means that's what I want. Totally. What's your debate point?

AlyssaEimers's picture
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So are you also going to sue every time someone sick comes near my child. Oh, my child got strep throat last week because she was around someone else who had strep throat, so I am going to sue them? You child gets pink eye at day care, lets sue all of the other parents. Don't forget the flu and common cold.

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"ClairesMommy" wrote:

Maybe today and maybe even not when you were a child, but trust me, car seats were not something many parents wanted for their children, at least not from the point of view of safety. If it is controversial to put chemicals into your body, then I assume you do not take medicine of any kind, or use makeup or hairspray. Hellz, better not eat any tuna. It's got more mercury than vaccines with thimerosal EVER had.

Yeah- that factory meat and that non organic produce is stewing in as many "zomg chemicals" as those vaccines she shot into her kids. But god forbid someone try to MAKE her protect her kids. Then she wouldn't. Because that makes total sense.

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"Potter75" wrote:

Totally. What's your debate point?

That the Government or you or anyone else does not have the right to tell me how to raise my child. You have no say on how I raise my child and you absolutely should not be able to sue me because you do not agree with my parenting choices.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

That the Government or you or anyone else does not have the right to tell me how to raise my child. You have no say on how I raise my child and you absolutely should not be able to sue me because you do not agree with my parenting choices.

Vaccinating is a public health issue. Not a parenting issue. Again- you comply with car seat laws- do you feel so terribly put upon?

And pink eye does not kill babies. Pertussis does. Do you support babies dying when they don't have to? Are you seriously so calloused and worried about your special RIGHTS that you would compare a dead baby to a case of pink eye? Cause that's hard core calloused.

fuchsiasky's picture
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I think that vaxing for deadly illnesses should be mandatory (mumps, measles, polio, hepatitis etc). If we want to see these diseases disappear it is the only way to do so. I do not think that vaxing for mild illnesses (chicken pox, the flu) should be mandatory. Yes for a minority these illnesses can have complications, but for most people they don't.

Our school requires vaccination records. No one has questions that the chicken pox and flu aren't included. I suspect they would if measles or polio wasn't.

I am bothered though, that the adult vaccinations are not part of the vaxing scheme (at least here). There has been a huge Whooping Cough bout here and it has all been adults whose vaccines have worn off. So now there are babes in danger because their adult caregivers are no longer immune. I know many adults who haven't had a tetanus shot in more than a decade. That is deadly, but there is no push to have them done.

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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I think that vaxing for deadly illnesses should be mandatory (mumps, measles, polio, hepatitis etc). If we want to see these diseases disappear it is the only way to do so. I do not think that vaxing for mild illnesses (chicken pox, the flu) should be mandatory. Yes for a minority these illnesses can have complications, but for most people they don't.

As long as it is legal to have exceptions, then if you are legally exempt, there is no way someone should be able to sue you for it.

ClairesMommy's picture
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Would you change your mind if there was some crazy outbreak of smallpox, Bonita? It was eradicated decades ago thanks to mass vaccinations. What if bubonic plague made a comeback? You wouldn't want mandated vaccinations?

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Do they have a strep throat vaccine or a pink eye vaccine? I don't see how you can compare something that you can't really prevent and don't have a choice about (because there is no vaccine) to something that you can prevent and do have a choice about (because there is a vaccine.) Also, even if there were a pink eye vaccine, no I wouldn't sue you over it because pink eye is not typically dangerous. Pertussis on the other hand could kill either one of my kids, Reid because he is so little and T because he has asthma that is very reactive to respiratory infections. I can't fathom comparing the two.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"ClairesMommy" wrote:

Would you change your mind if there was some crazy outbreak of smallpox, Bonita? It was eradicated decades ago thanks to mass vaccinations. What if bubonic plague made a comeback? You wouldn't want mandated vaccinations?

Even if Vaccines were mandatory without exemptions, disobeying would be a legal situation. Not one parent being mad at and suing another parent. Either way, someone who is legally exempt should not be sued or charged.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I think that vaxing for deadly illnesses should be mandatory (mumps, measles, polio, hepatitis etc). If we want to see these diseases disappear it is the only way to do so. I do not think that vaxing for mild illnesses (chicken pox, the flu) should be mandatory. Yes for a minority these illnesses can have complications, but for most people they don't.

Our school requires vaccination records. No one has questions that the chicken pox and flu aren't included. I suspect they would if measles or polio wasn't.

I am bothered though, that the adult vaccinations are not part of the vaxing scheme (at least here). There has been a huge Whooping Cough bout here and it has all been adults whose vaccines have worn off. So now there are babes in danger because their adult caregivers are no longer immune. I know many adults who haven't had a tetanus shot in more than a decade. That is deadly, but there is no push to have them done.

I agree with all of this. I'm not talking about the chicken pox vax, I'm talking about the Dtap and the MMR and things like that.

I also agree that we need to do a better job of making sure that adults are up on their vaccines. I know that I didn't think about vaccines for YEARS until I had kids, because no one ever asked me about them.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

As long as it is legal to have exceptions, then if you are legally exempt, there is no way someone should be able to sue you for it.

I don't think you should be able to have a legal exemption from vaxxing for a deadly illness - with the exception of medical reasons. I don't care about your desires as a parent, religious person or hippie. All children should have their vax for things like diphtheria, tetanus, polio, MMR, pertussis. These can kill or maim a person. These are the illnesses we are working on eradicating. That won't happen if we allow for exemptions for those who want them for reasons other than health. Smallpox wouldn't have gone away with selective vaccination or waivers.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Even if Vaccines were mandatory without exemptions, disobeying would be a legal situation. Not one parent being mad at and suing another parent. Either way, someone who is legally exempt should not be sued or charged.

Then we shouldn't allow exemption for BS reasons. Obviously it is one thing if your kid CAN'T get the vaccination, as was covered in the article. I agree that in that case, no one should sue them. But just receiving exemption for your personal beliefs is such crap. Basically anyone can not vax and just claim personal beliefs. It's meaningless.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I don't think you should be able to have a legal exemption from vaxxing for a deadly illness - with the exception of medical reasons. I don't care about your desires as a parent, religious person or hippie. All children should have their vax for things like diphtheria, tetanus, polio, MMR, pertussis. These can kill or maim a person. These are the illnesses we are working on eradicating. That won't happen if we allow for exemptions for those who want them for reasons other than health. Smallpox wouldn't have gone away with selective vaccination or waivers.

Whether or not you agree, it is the way it is. Someone who is legally exempt should not be sued for not breaking any laws.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I also agree that we need to do a better job of making sure that adults are up on their vaccines. I know that I didn't think about vaccines for YEARS until I had kids, because no one ever asked me about them.

I just looked up the adult schedule and tetanus and diphtheria should be every 10 years. And all adults should have a pertussis booster. I know that the T-D is available through our public health, but not pertussis. Which says a lot given the outbreak here right now.

fuchsiasky's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Whether or not you agree, it is the way it is. Someone who is legally exempt should not be sued for not breaking any laws.

And I see no reason for a legal exemption except for the health of the child. Any thing else is BS IMO.

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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

And I see no reason for a legal exemption except for the health of the child. Any thing else is BS IMO.

But do you think someone should be able to be sued as long as there are legal exemptions? That was my understanding of the OP.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

But do you think someone should be able to be sued as long as there are legal exemptions? That was my understanding of the OP.

If it can be proved, then sure. If my child were to die from the measles and I knew that it had been passed to her by a child that was purposefully not vaxed, then yes I would sue. I don't care if they have a legal exemption unless it is medical. Otherwise I would sue for reckless endangerment or something like that. There should be a consequence to someone who chooses not to vax and from that act kills a child.

KimPossible's picture
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I agree with Melissa and Lisa and so on and so forth. While i don't think its very feasible and I think lawsuits are over utilized in the US, i can't see how it makes sense for a parent to be able to sue or receive compensation for being harmed by a vaccine...and given the privelage to not have to face that scenario, yet can get off scott free for causing the death of someone else because of their choice to not vaccinate. That just seems totally self centered and reeks of "My child is more important than your child".

About differentiating between the MMR and chicken pox. I don't know how well that really works. Some quick research says that pretty much every child used to contract Measels in the US and about 500 or so died a year. Where chicken pox, 150 or so died a year prior to the vaccine. If every child pretty much contracted it..i don't see how you can make a case for one and not the other. While it sounds like a big difference, i don't really think its that big in the giant scheme of things.

You know, i've always had anxiety about giving my kids vaccines. I don't think anyone LOVES the thought of something going potentially wrong...but you just do it...well at least I think you should.

As for school. NY most definitely has regulations about being vaccinated and only has religious exemptions and the form is very specific about this.

I'd also like to say, unfortunately that the mandate is no promise that your child will be going to school with mostly vaccinated kids. Admittedly i forgot to hand in Aodhan's records last year...while he was fully vaccinated, they never made him stay home. When the vax papers never made it to school, they contacted me once, and then when they still didn't get them, they sent me a religious/philosophical exemption form, which i never filled out, because he is fully vaccinated. I never heard anything else about it after that.

I know, very bad of me and i could have gotten the school in trouble. I'm usually good about these things. But i can't claim perfection and this was a screw up. Anyway...i suspect the way my kids school handled it is not that uncommon unfortunately.

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I don't think they know what to do with adults and that is why there is no clear schedule. I have been vaccinated for hepatitis and German Measles. I have to get titers for hepatitis for work and German Measles for each pregnancy. I always show up as having no antibodies (which is why I get the German measles vaccine after each pregnancy, that's 3 times in 4 years). The doctors can't tell me if I am immune and it is in my memory cells and not circulating or if I'm not longer able to produce antibodies. I'll do my best not to put myself in the situation where I find out!

I'm a strong believer in vaccines. Most of the people I know from my grandparents generation (or looking back further since there are several family member who do genealogy), it was not uncommon to have a child die or have a side effect that lasts a lifetime from some infectious disease. I believe most anti-vax people do not understand real risk. I also feel that there is a heard mentality with some anti-vac people and that bothers me. I've been in moms groups where there is one strong anti-vax person and a bunch who go along with that mainly because they don't want to hurt their baby by giving them shots.

I don't feel suing them is the answer. I'm not sure what to do other than more education.

KimPossible's picture
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I don't feel suing them is the answer. I'm not sure what to do other than more education.

Yeah i have to admit that I find it hard in reality to say that suing them is a good answer. For the sake of my feelings in this debate and the way people sue left and right in this country, it makes me feel like "sure, why the hell not"

But in reality...i don't think its the best solution.

I do think however, ethically speaking, they would be responsible for that child's death and would be in the wrong.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

If it can be proved, then sure. If my child were to die from the measles and I knew that it had been passed to her by a child that was purposefully not vaxed, then yes I would sue. I don't care if they have a legal exemption unless it is medical. Otherwise I would sue for reckless endangerment or something like that. There should be a consequence to someone who chooses not to vax and from that act kills a child.

I strongly disagree.

"Danifo" wrote:

I don't feel suing them is the answer. I'm not sure what to do other than more education.

See I do agree with this. I do personally believe in vaccines (although I do know many that do not). I fought tooth and nail for DH to agree to our girls being vaccinated. That said, suing people is not the way to change things. It is not up to you to sue someone who is not breaking any laws.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

But do you think someone should be able to be sued as long as there are legal exemptions? That was my understanding of the OP.

I don't think that the fact that they are legally allowed to not vax grants them immunity from the consequences of their decisions. I am legally allowed to drive a car, but if I accidentally crash my car and hurt or kill someone, I am still liable for that. Even if you are legally allowed to not vax your kids, I think that if your actions cause real harm or death to someone else, you should still have to face the consequences for that action.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I strongly disagree.
It is not up to you to sue someone who is not breaking any laws.

So if someone who was legally driving a car accidentally killed someone, you don't think their family should be allowed to sue? Legal or not, actions have consequences.

KimPossible's picture
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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I don't think that the fact that they are legally allowed to not vax grants them immunity from the consequences of their decisions. I am legally allowed to drive a car, but if I accidentally crash my car and hurt or kill someone, I am still liable for that. Even if you are legally allowed to not vax your kids, I think that if your actions cause real harm or death to someone else, you should still have to face the consequences for that action.

This is tricky though. You will only be sued (successfully) if you kill someone with your car and you are proven to be at fault, as in you made decisiosn that caused this to happen, however it is possible to drive a care safely and not cause death.

THat comparison doesn't really work with vaccinating. If you are suing someone for passing the disease on, i think thats the same as saying that choosing not to vaccinate is not safe...period, and harmful to others. That there is no 'safe way' to not vaccinate. Owning a car and driving it responsibly is not an unsafe decision. Choosing not to vaccinate, in and of itself is an unsafe decision....unless we go with the remote island idea.

I do actually see a hangup with allowing people to leaglly choose to not vaccinate but then suing them for the choice.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I don't think that the fact that they are legally allowed to not vax grants them immunity from the consequences of their decisions. I am legally allowed to drive a car, but if I accidentally crash my car and hurt or kill someone, I am still liable for that. Even if you are legally allowed to not vax your kids, I think that if your actions cause real harm or death to someone else, you should still have to face the consequences for that action.

Do you also believe that if someone has a reaction to a vaccine or a vaccine later comes out to be harmful (Yes is does and has happened) that every millions of people people that have had the vaccine should be able to sue the makers, the government, and everyone that tried to force them into taking it?

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"Danifo" wrote:

I'm a strong believer in vaccines. Most of the people I know from my grandparents generation (or looking back further since there are several family member who do genealogy), it was not uncommon to have a child die or have a side effect that lasts a lifetime from some infectious disease. I believe most anti-vax people do not understand real risk.

I think this is true. With every vax we were offered I did research on the outcomes of the diseases and none of them were ones that I was willing to risk. Permanent disability or death? No thank you. Really a quick look through google and wiki and you get many images that prove the need for these vaccines!

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Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Do you also believe that if someone has a reaction to a vaccine or a vaccine later comes out to be harmful (Yes is does and has happened) that every millions of people people that have had the vaccine should be able to sue the makers, the government, and everyone that tried to force them into taking it?

The government already compensates people proven to have had permanent adverse reactions to vaccines. You posted a debate that told a story of such compensation (although a misleading article) not that long ago.

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Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"KimPossible" wrote:

The government already compensates people proven to have had permanent adverse reactions to vaccines. You posted a debate that told a story of such compensation (although a misleading article) not that long ago.

So how can you possibly think that you should be forced to take something when it is known that there can be complications. I just do not believe people's lives should be dictated in this way.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Do you also believe that if someone has a reaction to a vaccine or a vaccine later comes out to be harmful (Yes is does and has happened) that every millions of people people that have had the vaccine should be able to sue the makers, the government, and everyone that tried to force them into taking it?

This already happens.

Kim - I would think that the fact that you can't safely not vaccinate strengthens my argument, not weakens it.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

So how can you possibly think that you should be forced to take something when it is known that there can be complications. I just do not believe people's lives should be dictated in this way.

Which is worse, the potential complication or the results of the illness? When the result of the illness (death or permanent disability) is much much worse than the potential complication than yes it should be mandated (a good example IMO is polio).

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Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

Which is worse, the potential complication or the results of the illness? When the result of the illness (death or permanent disability) is much much worse than the potential complication than yes it should be mandated (a good example IMO is polio).

While I personally think the benefits far out way the risks, I still feel that is not a choice you can make for someone else.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

This already happens.

Kim - I would think that the fact that you can't safely not vaccinate strengthens my argument, not weakens it.

Anything that we determined to be harmful all the time...i think we typically make illegal to do. Thats why i'm saying i do have a hangup on the fact that its legally a choice, but then suing someone for doing it.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

So how can you possibly think that you should be forced to take something when it is known that there can be complications. I just do not believe people's lives should be dictated in this way.

Because people should not have the right to harm others to preserve their own safety.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

While I personally think the benefits far out way the risks, I still feel that is not a choice you can make for someone else.

Um..... You did. You made that choice for your children without their consent.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I agree with the others that said I think it is okay to do this but not really feasible.

To not vax, without medical reasons, is reckless to society.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

While I personally think the benefits far out way the risks, I still feel that is not a choice you can make for someone else.

But in refusing to vax one is making that choice for someone else. The baby who could die from the illness they are exposed to from the unvaxed child. If it was just about the individual that would be one thing, but it isn't. This is a global issue.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"KimPossible" wrote:

Anything that we determined to be harmful all the time...i think we typically make illegal to do. Thats why i'm saying i do have a hangup on the fact that its legally a choice, but then suing someone for doing it.

I see that as our sort of uneasy truce between the rights of the individual and the good of the many. You have the right to make the choice....but if your choice results in harming someone else then you have to own that and be responsible for it. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't fight it if we just removed the choice and made vaccines mandated for everyone who could get them safely, but if people want to keep the choice then I think that the trade off is that they be responsible for the outcome of that choice.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I see that as our sort of uneasy truce between the rights of the individual and the good of the many. You have the right to make the choice....but if your choice results in harming someone else then you have to own that and be responsible for it. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't fight it if we just removed the choice and made vaccines mandated for everyone who could get them safely, but if people want to keep the choice then I think that the trade off is that they be responsible for the outcome of that choice.

Yeah, i understand. I think a lot of us are saying that we truly are not okay with people exercising this right because the effect it has on society. But i guess I feel like not officially/legally acknowledging that we really don't want anyone to exercise that right makes it really more difficult to say that you can truly face consequences for it.

Going unvaxed is not like driving a car...its like driving a car drunk. Driving drunk is always unsafe, whether you cause an accident or not.

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