Sunday, June 16, 2013

Unavoidably Unsafe?

Whenever I hear or read this phrase it makes me cringe. Did the Supreme Court really declare something "unavoidably unsafe" and thus hold no one responsible for manufacturing this type of product? I wonder if all pregnant women and mothers with infants know, when they get a flu-shot or when the newborn baby makes his acquaintance with the real world in the form of a Hepatitis B shot, that what is happening to them is a priori "unavoidably unsafe." What a cruel phrase to use to send a baby into its first few breathing moments.

I am truly disgusted with the term "unavoidably unsafe." It means that everyone washes his hands of it. I suppose being born is unavoidably unsafe. It's unavoidably unsafe to be taken to the doctor for the very first time. What shocks me even more is the fact that mothers are not being informed of the fact that vaccines are unavoidably unsafe.

Let's examine why this phrase would be used by lawyers and judges and even Congress. No other product gets this lofty standing. A car is unsafe when it is hit by another. A gun, too, becomes unsafe when it kills someone. A jab suddenly becomes "unavoidably unsafe" when it is actively injected. I don't get it; how are the car or the gun different? They apparently are never unavoidably unsafe when something goes wrong. But a doctor sticking a child with a needle is unavoidable? If a vaccine were merely unsafe, it would be subject to liability. Yes it would be. Why not try to make all vaccines safe? That's where the difference lies. I am stumped. I just don't get it. This unavoidability makes for vaccines not ever being safe.

For some strange reason the car and the gun are products that have not reached that level of indemnity.

Should vaccines really be given that exalted status when there is plenty that can be done to make them at least safer? With the status vaccines have right now, no manufacturer has to worry about being sued. A vaccine is "unavoidably unsafe." There is just nothing that can be done nor is there anything that needs to be done to improve the product. It's the best of all worlds for the happy scientist who can just put something together that has maybe a 40% success rate of preventing some illness like the flu.

Sure the vaccine needs testing for efficacy. It needs testing for everything except for minor details: adjuvants that make it unavoidably unsafe. One of those adjuvants is Thimerosal which contains ethyl-mercury. Thimerosal is never tested. It is a grandfathered-in substance because it existed before the FDA was founded. Thimerosal is a substance Laura Helmuth, a science writer for Slate, called, and I paraphrase, the "safe kind" of mercury. That "safe" preservative used to be applied as a topical for all kinds of cuts and scrapes. It was the substance everyone had in his medicine cabinet. Until it was applied to several newborns' umbilical chords in a hospital. The babies died.

The cure-all for small booboos was called Merthiolate (small name change from Thimerosal). It is no longer on drugstore shelves. Was that substance also called "unavoidably unsafe?" No. But the news of those babies dying was not reported, at least not widely, and Merthiolate disappeared. I hate the phrase unavoidably unsafe.

No, I am not an anti-vaxxer. I just don't like the phrase.

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