This article was co-authored with Pavla Karon.
The French government announced that it might make 11 vaccines compulsory for children, adding to the three already mandatory shots (diphtheria, tetanus, and polio). Under the new jurisdiction, parents would be forced to follow a vaccination schedule including jabs against measles, hepatitis B, meningitis C, rubella, mumps and whooping cough.
This change of heart comes after the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest administrative court, ruled in favour of parents who chose not to vaccinate their children, as the three mandatory shots were not available separately, but only in one shot combined with additional vaccines. The former Health Ministry opposed making these three vaccines available for people, which lead the court to giving the new government 6 months in order to find a solution.
Instead of working with the growing number of parents who seek alternatives to the state-prescribed vaccination schedule, the French government might take a different direction and increase the total number of compulsory vaccines.
The Ministry of Health also claims that its renewed consideration of the issue is a reaction to an outbreak of rubella in the northeast France, not mentioning that out of 61 recorded cases, 40 percent of children were vaccinated against the disease. Nevermind the fact that disease outbreaks occur even among highly vaccinated populations, that fully vaccinated individuals can contract and spread disease, and that vaccine-induced immunity isn’t permanent.
French Vaccine Skepticism
Newly appointed Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn told Le Parisien in an interview:
“Vaccines have saved millions of lives, but we have forgotten about it. We only know about the side effects, of which many haven’t been proven.”
But many French beg to differ. In the largest study on vaccine confidence to date, France was found to be the least confident in vaccine safety out of 66 countries surveyed, with 41 percent respondents disagreeing with the claim that vaccines are safe.
The skepticism isn’t limited to general population; a quarter of French practitioners aren’t confident about the risk and efficacy of vaccines, either.
Scanning vaccine package inserts shows that questioning vaccine safety isn’t only an issue for conspiracy theorists: the European Medicines Agency – a decentralised agency of the European Union, located in London, responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU established in a report that at least 1 in 10 children given the commonly used Infanrix Hexa suffer from appetite loss, restlessness, irritability and abnormal crying, fever above 100,4°F, local swelling at the injection site (≤ 50 mm), fatigue and redness.
1 in 100 children experience continuous nervousness, diarrhea, vomiting and fever rates of above 103.1°F. Other side effects include respiratory tract infections, coughing, collapse or shock-like state, diffuse swelling of the injected limb or bronchitis. It gets more insidious with the MMR vaccine (measles – mumps – rubella), for which the manufacturer lists side effects affecting nearly every system, including lymphatic, respiratory, sensory, and nervous.
Little wonder, considering one of the ingredients in vaccines is neurotoxic aluminum – a substance, incidentally, whose purpose in vaccines more than half of French practitioners don’t feel confident explaining to patients.
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a long list of people who should not be vaccinated at all, including a sinister warning “Anyone who had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of MMR or MMRV vaccine should not get another dose.” Thanks for the warning?
No Liability, No Incentives
The MMR vaccine is produced by Merck & Co., Inc, a company ridden by scandals. In 2002, the pharmaceutical company recorded $14 billion in revenue that it did not collect, leading its stock price to crash. Even more alarming are the accusations of two former Merck scientists.
In the case of United States et al v. Merck & Co Inc, the whistleblowers claim that the company consistently falsified tests of vaccine efficacy. Reuters reported in June 2015 that in an answer to attorneys’ discovery questions about the vaccine’s efficacy, “Merck has been consistently evasive, using “cut-and-paste” answers saying it cannot run a new clinical trial to determine the current efficacy, and providing only data from 50 years ago.”
In France, reparations for damages caused by non-mandatory vaccines must be reimbursed by the producing company, but the government is responsible for injuries resulting from compulsory vaccines. Specifically, the Office National d’Indemnisation des Accidents Médicaux (National Office for the Compensation of Medical Accidents) would be on the hook for damages. In short: making all 11 vaccines mandatory would strip the pharmaceutical industry of all liability.
This is already the case in the United States, based on a Supreme Court ruling from 2010. As a result, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program had to pay for damages exceeding the shocking sum of $2 billion in the last ten years alone.
Rather than following the example of the USA and its ever-expanding vaccination schedule, the French Ministry of Health should look to Sweden, Austria, or Switzerland, countries with no mandatory vaccinations and an obvious lack of population-consuming epidemics.
In free markets, companies are held responsible for their actions, through the rule of law or by consumers making different choices in the marketplace. Mandatory vaccines rule out both of these control mechanisms by making consumption compulsory, then removing any responsibility.
Mandates Violate Liberty
Most importantly, mandatory vaccines are fundamentally at odds with the concept of self-ownership. With a large part of the population asking the government to respect the idea of “my body, my choice”, forcefully injecting a substance into children that their own parents might reasonably object to is manifestly contrary to the idea of liberty.
Seeing self-declared libertarians favour mandatory vaccination is fairly peculiar. Why are those who preach skepticism towards government decisions, and the inherent danger of big corporations that lobby their way to power, suddenly assuming the best of both?
The argument about risks and efficacy is one thing (and a fundamentally valid one), but given the government’s track record of horrible decisions made in the name of public welfare, lovers of liberty should be distrustful of mandates such as this. Once we begin to compromise, we might also trade in privacy for security or free speech for more courteous discourse.
This article was first published (in an edited form) by the Foundation for Economic Education.
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