12 June 2011

Vaccines & Informed Consent

I recently saw this post after The Analytical Armadillo posted it on FB.  Now, let me begin by saying that I am not anti-vaccine, but neither do I think all vaccines are necessary for everyone (ex: varicella or flu), and I have a moral objection to those vaccines that use foetal tissue.  I can also say that I've not been given the chance to truly give informed consent based just on what the Health Visitor has told me.  What I mean by that is that there was never a discussion about the risks & benefits for both sides.  I realise, of course, that the HV only has a limited amount of time and that having an in-depth conversation isn't feasible, so I am not blaming her for that.  What I wish, though, is that more discussion was available, even if it was an in-depth pamphlet on each of the jabs.

Now that the background discussion is out of the way, I'll say that I'm not pleased with the positions given in the link.  Dr Stan Block and Dr Ari Brown both talk about convincing parents through emotional means.  Dr Block says to do this through ICU photos and parental testimony (the shock factor), and Dr Brown through saying it's what the doctor did/would do for his family.  I do appreciate it if a doctor lets me know what he would do, but I also want all the facts, good and bad, so I can make an informed choice.  I'm not asking to be given information that already matches what I think, for that would not be honest of me to only look at one side.  I do understand where those doctors are coming from, with having a limited amount of time at appointments and wanting their patients to get all the vaccines, but I disagree with the tactics they suggest. Perhaps instead of the emotional appeals, we can find ways to better inform parents.  I don't know how to go about doing that, though, given the current models.

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