Immunization Theory Needs Booster

Mike Clark mrc7 at
Thu Jan 25 06:57:39 EST 1996

In article <4e5hnb$gc at>, ELLENAUT
<mailto:ellenaut at> wrote:
> Much of the arguement about vaccines boils down to *do the benefits
> outweigh the risks*.  No one seems to deny that there are risks
> associated with vaccines, but these are said to be so small that the
> benefit outweigh this.  This is a numbers game.  At what *number*
> do the risks outweigh the benefit.  If you were told that you can 
> vaccinate your child with DPT, MMR, HIB, OPV, etc,  but
> you have a 1:1,000 chance that your child will be permanently
> handicapped would it be worth it?  What if the odds were 1:500?
> Where is the cut-off?

The trouble with the numbers game is that it has different implications
for the individual and the population. Thus if a majority of the
population are vaccinated the risk of infection may be low and for the
individual it may seem to be better not to be vaccinated to avoid the
risk of possible side effects. However this only works for a short time
until too many people avoid vaccination and the risks of infection
increase again. Thus by taking a decision about personal risk there
are consequences for the whole population which puts others at risk.

Mike Clark, mrc7 at
  o/ \\    //            ||  ,_ o   Dr. M.R. Clark, Division of Immunology
 <\__,\\  //   __o       || /  /\,  Cambridge University, Dept. Pathology
  ">    ||   _`\<,_    //  \\ \> |  Tennis Court Rd., Cambridge CB2 1QP
   `    ||  (_)/ (_)  //    \\ \_   Tel. 01223 333705  Fax. 01223 333875

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