Rand Paul mandatory vaccines
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"I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security," Sen. Rand Paul said during the Senate health committee hearing, where he was the only lawmaker to raise doubts over vaccinations.
Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday railed against government-mandated vaccines, suggesting they infringe on personal rights, during a congressional hearing on immunizations' role in protecting the public from preventable diseases like the current measles outbreak sweeping parts of the country.

Paul (R-Ky.), a doctor, said he and his children are vaccinated and that he believes the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks. "But I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security," Paul said during the Senate health committee hearing, where he was the only lawmaker to raise doubts over vaccinations.

Paul, who made similar comments during his 2016 presidential bid, argued that vaccines aren't always effective - pointing to the seasonal influenza vaccines that protect only against certain strands - and said it is "wrong to say there are no risks to vaccines," drawing applause from anti-vaccination advocates attending the hearing.

Paul's comments were quickly rebuked by his Republican colleague and a fellow doctor, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who said he knew patients who needed liver transplants because they avoided vaccinations. He and other witnesses pointed out that communities become vulnerable to preventable infections when not enough people have been vaccinated, a concept known as herd immunity.


Comment: The false trope of 'herd immunity' is routinely used to shut down any discussion of vaccine safety or efficacy, despite the fact that it has been shown that the theory does NOT work for vaccines: Why herd immunity is a hoax
While there is such a thing as herd immunity among populations in which a majority has had the infectious disease and acquired a long lasting natural immunity, vaccines confer only temporary artificial immunity, and so true herd immunity is unlikely to be fully achieved, even if nearly 100 percent of the population are vaccinated.

The measles vaccine, for example, wears off after about a decade or two. Whatever temporary artificial protection is obtained from other vaccines also fades in time. If you are an adult, chances are that some of the vaccinations you received as a child are not protecting you today. What's more, between 2 and 10 percent of some vaccines result in "primary vaccine failure," meaning those who get the vaccine do not gain even temporary artificial protection after vaccination.
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What's not addressed is the fact that routine vaccinations are increasing the severity of illness that apparently cannot be contained, as outbreaks are still occurring where vaccination rates are high enough that the population should have established vaccine acquired herd immunity.

"If you're such a believer in liberty that you should not be vaccinated, there should be consequences if you infect others," Cassidy said.


Comment: Shouldn't that also apply to the vaccinated? Government research confirms measles outbreaks are transmitted by the vaccinated


Lawmakers spent most of the hearing discussing how to educate the public about vaccines and combat misinformation spread online by anti-vaccine advocates. The World Health Organization recently named vaccine skepticism a top global health threat, and some states are pushing to strengthen their vaccine laws amid the measles outbreak.

Washington state's Health Secretary John Wiesman suggested lawmakers invest resources in a new national leadership campaign to counter anti-vaccine messages similar to anti-tobacco efforts.

One witness, Ethan Lindenberger, a high school student from Ohio, discussed how he got vaccinated against his mother's wishes and said she had been misled about vaccines online.

So far, there have been 201 confirmed cases of measles in 11 states this year, according to the CDC.