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Buddhism and vaccinations

So, today I learned that my workplace is going to make it a requirment that all employees receive the flu vaccine. I have not taken this vaccination in many years for numerous reasons, however I am wondering what the Buddhist stance is on vaccines. Has anybody refused a vaccine based on Buddhist principles? I fear this may be my only way out of it. :(

Comments

  • PrairieGhostPrairieGhost Veteran
    edited October 2012
    No, vaccinations are fine in all traditions.

    Sorry, jennynicole.

    Why is your workplace forcing you to have medical treatment against your will? What country do you live in?
  • karastikarasti 38/female/Tibetan Minnesota Veteran
    you could just tell them you are allergic to eggs?
    There isn't much at all I have seen or read about Buddhism and refusing medical treatments and vaccines. The few questions I have asked on it were mostly met with a "use medicine wisely and as needed." In my state to get a vaccine refusal on the grounds of religious reasons, you have to provide some sort of proof (such as a signed statement from a religious teacher) but that is mostly in regards to children and attending public school.

    However, you could try to get around it philosophically (and somewhat religiously) by stating you are buddhist and vegan and thus you will not take the vaccine because of your beliefs. Flu vaccine is made using egg and they are tested on animals. So you might be able to get around it that way.
    Vastmind
  • I_AM_THATI_AM_THAT Veteran
    edited October 2012
    Not sure this is a buddhist issue... I do feel it's a personal issue. I for one will not put the flu vaccine into my system. There is no proof that this vaccine even works or even if it will be effective for this years strain of the flu bug. Diet, rest, and exercise is a better choice for me. Oh, and always wash your hands!
  • Thanks everyone. I am working on vegetarianism and might play that angle. The vaccine has made me very ill in the past (not typical flu ill) and I am certain it will again. Sadly, I have no documentation of this and I doubt my word will do. I cry at the thought of putting something like this into my body. I am healthy. I eat well, am working on giving up meat, and I worship my body for the temple it is.

    To answer @PrarieGhost this is happening in the USA. Most healthcare organizations now have the right to mandate vaccines and fire those who don't comply. Its sad, I know.
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited October 2012
    I am nearly positive it is illegal [edit: sadly, it's not] to make an influenza vaccination a requirement for keeping ones job - are you in the United States? The modern flu vaccine generally isn't made from eggs - it's via cell line technology. But that means that other humans'/animals' DNA is being injected into your body, so I believe the vegan stance would still suffice.
  • SileSile Veteran
    Ugh - I guess I'm wrong. Here's the salient bit:

    "Is It Legal, Though?

    As a general rule, most employers may institute a mandatory vaccine policy, and fire workers for not complying. That's because most employment is at will. That means most employees can be fired for any reason at any time.

    There are some exceptions, though. And they may come into play when it comes to mandatory vaccine policies:

    If you have an employment contract with your employer, your employer may be barred from forcing you take a vaccine.

    A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between an employer and a union may protect some employees. For example, the nurses and hospital staff in Washington and Nevada cases were union members. They claimed requiring them to wear a mask if they're excused from taking the vaccine was a change in the terms and conditions of their employment. Under the CBA, the employers can't make the rule without the approval of the union and its members.

    Anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), may make it illegal. For example, if an employee's religious beliefs and practices prevent her from taking vaccines and other medications, she typically can't be forced to take it and can't be fired for refusing.
    Most employers take less drastic steps in combating these seasonal viruses. For example, easing attendance policies, increasing "sick time," encouraging ill workers to stay home, and allowing ill workers to work from home while sick are many ways employers can cut down on spreading sickness instead of forcing vaccinations.

    It's Serious: Know What to Do, and Your Rights
    It's recommended you wash your hands; keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth; and get the vaccine when it's available. Cleaning, personal hygiene, and using masks and gloves help avoid getting sick without vaccination risks.

    If you choose not to take the vaccine, understand if and when your employer may force you to take it anyway. If you have any questions about your employer's policy, ask your human resources department about it. If you still have questions, contact an attorney immediately."
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited October 2012

    Thanks everyone. I am working on vegetarianism and might play that angle. The vaccine has made me very ill in the past (not typical flu ill) and I am certain it will again. Sadly, I have no documentation of this and I doubt my word will do. I cry at the thought of putting something like this into my body. I am healthy. I eat well, am working on giving up meat, and I worship my body for the temple it is.

    To answer @PrarieGhost this is happening in the USA. Most healthcare organizations now have the right to mandate vaccines and fire those who don't comply. Its sad, I know.

    Sorry for all the posts - I wonder if you can speak to your doctor - tell him/her that you have had bad reactions to this shot in the past, and see if he/she will write you out something equivalent to a "pass?" This could be a lot less contentious than going the legal route.

    Also, request the warning documentation ahead of time for the specific shot you will be given - there are allergies, exceptions, drug-interactions and so forth listed in the massive amount of fine print; you may be able to find something that applies to you.

    Check this out - as of 2011, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons opposes the concept of mandatory flu shots even for health officials:

    December 18, 2011

    In a letter to Colorado public health officials, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) opposes a rule requiring workers in health care facilities to have an annual influenza vaccination or lose their jobs. Workers who had a rare religious or medical exemption would be required to wear a mask in patient care areas from November through March.

    The religious exemption is too narrowly drawn, AAPS writes, and should be a philosophical exemption, as accepted in many states, to “to avoid inquisitions into matters of faith.” The mask requirement “seems to be nothing more than a punitive retaliation against those who decline the vaccine” and should be dropped, the AAPS letter states, as both immunized and nonimmunized individuals can transmit influenza or other illnesses.

    http://www.infowars.com/physicians-oppose-mandatory-flu-vaccine-for-health-workers/


  • jennynicole:
    To answer @PrarieGhost this is happening in the USA. Most healthcare organizations now have the right to mandate vaccines and fire those who don't comply. Its sad, I know.

    image
  • Whether or not it's sad, is questionable.

    If you work in a school where there are a thousand kids, you try to control the spread of diseases.
  • SileSile Veteran

    So, today I learned that my workplace is going to make it a requirment that all employees receive the flu vaccine. I have not taken this vaccination in many years for numerous reasons, however I am wondering what the Buddhist stance is on vaccines. Has anybody refused a vaccine based on Buddhist principles? I fear this may be my only way out of it. :(

    I think just about anything anyone would need to know about vaccine rights (at least in the States) is here or linked to here:

    http://www.vaccinerights.com
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited October 2012

    So, today I learned that my workplace is going to make it a requirment that all employees receive the flu vaccine. I have not taken this vaccination in many years for numerous reasons, however I am wondering what the Buddhist stance is on vaccines. Has anybody refused a vaccine based on Buddhist principles? I fear this may be my only way out of it. :(

    I think it is important to realise that Buddhism per se does not have a fixed view of most social issues. It is not Roman Catholicism.
    It particularly does not have a view of modern medical practices. Who would decide such a view ?

    Personally I am going to toddle off for my flu jab soon. But that is a personal decision.
    I wont be bothering Mr Gautama with it.

  • karastikarasti 38/female/Tibetan Minnesota Veteran
    I struggle with the whole vaccine issue, @vinlyn, in regards to what you said about school. It's tough when a personal decision can affect the lives of others to the point of serious illness or death. Right now, my son's 5th grade class (and he has 35 kids in his entire grade) whopping cough is going around. Now, my son has been vaccinated, but the problem seems to be that the vaccine doesn't last as long as they thought and all the kids are right at the end of the length of the vaccine, he's scheduled to get his booster in 10 months. Because he is 10 years old and otherwise healthy, even if he gets it most likely he will be fine. The kicker is that our 4 year old son is diabetic, and anything less serious for healthy kids, is much more serious for him. I would never ask the entire school to get vaccinated to protect my son from ever getting the flu, or chicken pox or whatever, but as his mom sometimes it's tempting, lol, mostly because of his young age. Vaccines don't exist only to protect the one person from getting ill but to help prevent the spread of various diseases to people who are vulnerable and can die (like babies who are not fully vaccinated yet and are at the highest risk for various diseases). The flu shot, however, I don't find vital and I don't think it makes a big enough difference. It's a crap shoot, and for the associated risks, I don't think it's worth it for a lot of people, especially if it makes you ill. My children get it, and so do we, in an attempt to protect our younger one, and because the oldest is asthmatic as am I, and my husband works in a large office conducive to spreading germs. But it is a personal choice for us, and I don't think even if every person in our town got vaccinated, it would do a whole lot to protect our son from getting it, since the flu shot doesn't work quite the same as typical vaccines in that there are so many strains of it.
  • ourselfourself some guy The Hammer, Ontario Veteran
    The risks of not getting the vaccine outweigh the risks of getting it.

    I have to as well because I'm in school as a PSW and will be working with the elderly and the very young. Whether or not the virus will affect you is irrelevant because you can be a carrier and give it to those that it can kill.
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited October 2012
    The reality is that medical professionals disagree on this point. Some physicians actually refuse to administer the shot--this is documented. I'm not saying "Don't get it," but rather don't get it before educating yourself thoroughly on the issue. It will take some time to read through, but it's worth it.

    One thing to consider: the physicians and nurses refusing the flu shot and/or refusing to administer it do not take this stance on many of the other shots they take/administer. It's not an issue of these professionals being anti-vaccine, but in almost all cases, specifically anti-H1N1 vaccine.
  • @Sile thanks so much for all of the info. I am glad to know there are those who get wher I am coming from. I am not against all vaccines necessarily, just this one due to the info I've read on it. I have even been told by nurses that they wouldn't get one so that scares me. I will carefully read over everything I can on it before the Nov 1st deadline and make my decision from there I guess. You've been a great help!
    @karasti I will be the first to say that I would never want your child or anyone else to get sick because of me. I recognize the communicability of this virus and take every infection control precaution I can including hand washing/antibacterial gel, gloves and mask, whatever it takes. Best of health to you and your family!
    @citta This is definitely a personal decision and I completely respect your stance on it. Buddhism is very open and that is one of the great things about it as a philosophy. Peace to you and yours.
  • ourselfourself some guy The Hammer, Ontario Veteran
    From my textbook, Mosby's Canadian textbook for the Support Worker;

    In 2000, the number of measles cases in Ireland increased from 148 to over 1200 in just one year because vaccination had been reduced to 76% and several children died as a result.

    In 1999, there was a large outbreak of rubella (German measles) in Nebraska. All 83 adults who were affected had not been vaccinated. Most of them came from countries where the rubella vaccine is not routinely administered.

    After a routine vaccination program was cancelled in Russia, there were 5000 deaths in 1994 from diphtheria. In previous years, Russia, like Canada, had only a few cases each year and no deaths.

    What would make this H1N1 vaccine so different?

    Personally I would need to know the objections before I risk being a carrier and infecting the elderly or the young.
  • PrairieGhost:
    Why is your workplace forcing you to have medical treatment against your will? What country do you live in?
    They shouldn't force anyone. Flu shots are not 100% effective—in fact, they are only 59% effective. With odds like that, why bother with a flu shot? Looking at the data one could extrapolate that unhealthy people have a higher risk of getting influenza with our without a flu shot.

    Source: http://goo.gl/nmRux
  • The mortality rate of Christian Science groups is pretty interesting. Their communities experience a much higher number of deaths from preventable disease, and they get outbreaks of things like measles, which, in this day and age is ridiculous to me.

    Vaccination is awesome, I don't personally understand why people are against it. (I get the Christian Science view theoretically, but I don't think it's right.)
    Citta
  • ourselfourself some guy The Hammer, Ontario Veteran
    For many (and I was one) anything the government is giving for free must be bad.

    I have changed my perspective since I've been paying better attention.
  • karastikarasti 38/female/Tibetan Minnesota Veteran
    For us, even a 59% effectiveness is better than nothing, especially if it can help mean that even if our son gets sick, he may be sick for less time. Because his immune system isn't as strong as normal people's, he stays sick much longer than a normal person, too, and often gets more severely sick. If there is even a chance that the flu shot can help keep our son out of the hospital and from getting seriously ill, it is worth it. If we did not have a diabetic child, we would not get the flu vaccine. We live a health lifestyle, have healthy diets and have strong immune systems. I haven't been sick enough to have a fever in more than 7 years. My oldest (asthmatic) son had H1N1 in 2009 as did my husband, that was the last time they were sick. It was miserable, but no complications and just a lot of rest and good food.

    However when our little one gets sick and runs even a low fever, his blood sugar skyrockets to the point that we have to double his insulin just to keep him under 300mg/dl (normal is around 70-130). It also means testing his blood sugar every 2-3 hours and checking his ketones, which requires him to wake up at night and pee on a stick. If his ketones stay high, he goes to the children's hospital 2 hours from here to avoid a life threatening emergency. We do everything we can to avoid him getting sick, so that's why we get the shot, whether the effectiveness is 59% or whatever.

    @jennynicole I know you wouldn't, thank you :) I really think if more people just followed basic "i'm sick" sanitary processes, things would be much better. What stinks is SO many employers really throw a fit about employees missing work. When I worked in retail, if we missed more than 2 days, we had to bring a doctors note. Well our insurance sucked so paying $100 to see the doctor just to get a note wasn't easy for someone making $7 an hour. Try working in a toy store in December and calling in sick. Your boss will show up at your door and drag you to work, lol. Even though they get the logic that coming to work only means you can't work well and will spread it to others, they'd rather have a half-dead sick body in the store than no one.
  • vinlyn said:

    Whether or not it's sad, is questionable.

    If you work in a school where there are a thousand kids, you try to control the spread of diseases.

    Aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, animal pus.

    That is really going to be of benefit!
  • karastikarasti 38/female/Tibetan Minnesota Veteran
    If you eat dairy, drink milk, or eat fish, you get all those things anyhow.
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited October 2012
    ourself said:

    What would make this H1N1 vaccine so different?

    That is, exactly, the question.

    The health professionals I've seen answering that question often cite one or both of these: the H1N1 vaccine's ineffectiveness, and the way in which this vaccine was developed.

    The national union of nurses in France cited as part of their rejection that the vaccine was developed “rapidly in a weak regulatory framework with the undeniable presence of adjuvants.”

    Aside from adjuvants (extra ingredients) and each's individual safety issues, vaccines are now developed using animal, human, and human fetal cell lines. Viruses and cancers present in the cell lines have the potential to affect the person receiving the vaccination:

    "Many cell lines used for vaccine production have a potentially strong tumorigenic character. Some of those routinely used need to be checked at different passage numbers for this characteristic." (Zhang Li, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, 2004, as cited by the US National Institutes of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15473315)

    I was somewhat chilled a couple years ago to discover that there is an entire industry for "cleaning the vaccine supply downstream."

    http://www.bioreliance.com/oncogenicityandtumorigenicity.aspx

    The nonchalant way in which these "cleaning" companies promote their services would be hilarious if the subject weren't so awful.

    There's an entire lingo that has developed around this subject--I started a spreadsheet some time ago translating some terms into Humanese. I'll post it here if anyone's interested--if nothing else, using these terms, you can skip past all the shallow-ish news articles and get to the studies and industry documents which speak Vaccinese.

    Hopefully there's nothing rude in my list - some of it is notes to myself ;) I think it's fairly G-rated, though. It's a rough draft - if anyone has comments, I'd be glad to incorporate them (and grateful).

    It's also not known just exactly how strands of DNA from the animal and human cell lines affect the vaccine recipient--a mammoth topic in its own right.

    Finally, there is the additional question of the flu virus itself--how deadly it is or isn't:

    "We have had a mild flu - and a false pandemic...It's just a normal kind of flu. It does not cause a tenth of deaths caused by the classic seasonal flu." ~Wolfang Wordag, Chairman, Health Committee, Council of Europe.

    Really was trying to keep this short, but alas. That's just what I've learned; would be very interested to hear from anyone else interested in this grim but fascinating topic.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    I had to take a drug test when I worked in the USA a few years ago.

    Democracy?????? Hmmmmmmm........
  • karastikarasti 38/female/Tibetan Minnesota Veteran
    It's fairly common for employers to ask for a drug test, actually, and a number of states are trying to make it so anyone applying for welfare programs has to take a drug test, too. I should say certain political parties in a number of states.
  • karasti said:

    It's fairly common for employers to ask for a drug test, actually, and a number of states are trying to make it so anyone applying for welfare programs has to take a drug test, too. I should say certain political parties in a number of states.

    It's a great idea! I wish they would implement it over here.
  • karastikarasti 38/female/Tibetan Minnesota Veteran
    It seems like a logical idea, but there are enough problems with it that I don't think I'd vote for it if I had the chance. Most of that reason being that they want to try to cut down on welfare abuse, but it's not as common as the media would have you believe and it only seeks to possibly hurt the children. Most people only get welfare if they have kids (the exceptions are pretty few) and if a parent is denied food stamps and rent assistance because they smoke a little week, I think that is wrong, even if I understand the logic of "well if you can afford weed you can afford groceries." I'd rather the kids get to eat.

    Plus the fact it singles out welfare recipients are more likely to use drugs than the rest of the population, which isn't true. If we are going to drug test welfare recipients then we should be drug testing members of congress, people who pay no taxes and still get refunds, people who get student federal loans and grants. Basically anyone who benefits from tax dollars (pretty much every person in the country) should be tested if that's the case. You can't just single out a group of people because they are receiving assistance, IMO, when everyone else is using, and in many cases taking far more advantage of tax dollars than welfare recipients. Look at college kids! What do you think they all do when they get their huge student loan overage checks? They party, that's what. They buy beer and liquor by the CAR load on student loan issuance day. There's a good use of educational tax dollars there.

    Lastly the cost. In a country that has a $16 trillion deficit the republicans (who advocate for smaller government, less government involvement and control..not more of it) want to pay for drug tests for millions of people? 45 million people in the US alone are on food stamps right now. That doesn't include those on medicaid, cash assistance or anything else.

    Crap, sorry to hijack the thread, I was thinking I was somewhere else, lol.

    RebeccaSSile
  • RebeccaSRebeccaS Veteran
    edited October 2012
    @Karasti those are all excellent points. I still agree with the drug testing, but you definitely gave me something to think about.
  • The Flu vaccine beging 59% or 60% effective means that Flu vaccine stops influenza in only 1.5 out of 100 adults who get the shots.

    Here is how to get the 59%/60%:
    First, you take the 2.73% in the control group who got the flu, and you divide that into the 1.18% in the treatment group who got the flu. This gives you 0.43.

    You can then say that 0.43 is "43% of 2.73," and claim that the vaccine therefore results in a "57% decrease" in influenza infections. This then becomes a "57% effectiveness rate" claim.

    The overall "60% effectiveness" being claimed from this study comes from adding additional data about vaccine efficacy for children, which returned higher numbers than adults (see below). There were other problems with the data for children, however, including one study that showed an increase in influenza rates in the second year after the flu shot.

    So when the media (or your doctor, or pharmacist, or CDC official) says these vaccines are "60% effective," what they really mean is that you would have to inject 100 adults to avoid the flu in just 1.5 of them.

    Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/033998_influenza_vaccines_effectiveness.html




    Sile
  • In Truth Jennycole , it is your Body and NO ONE has the right or authority to force you to have any Vaccinations, Inoculations, pills, or potions put into your body if you DON'T want it.
    A lot of employers, even in the UK are now jumping on this Bandbaggon under the guise that "they want the best for the workforce" but really they mean is we hope it will Alleviate any profit loss due to ill health, what they should realise, is that they are employing Sentient living Beings, and NOT Automatons born to this earth for the benefit of their Greed and lust for profit,
    Im sorry if i come across as a bit abrupt on this, but this kind of thing makes me a bit annoyed, when peoples rights are being trampled on in the name of Coin
  • As far as I know, this is not a Buddhist issue. In 12 years of regular teachings from ordained Buddhist monks and nuns, I have never heard any prohibition against vaccines.

    Don't have the vaccination if you don't want one .. but don't use Buddhism as your reason. That would be dishonest.
    vinlyn
  • So, today I learned that my workplace is going to make it a requirment that all employees receive the flu vaccine. I have not taken this vaccination in many years for numerous reasons, however I am wondering what the Buddhist stance is on vaccines. Has anybody refused a vaccine based on Buddhist principles? I fear this may be my only way out of it. :(

    If you're in the US it is not legal for anyone to force you to take a vaccine. Flu vaccines are a great idea for most people, but an employer cannot force you to do it any more than they can force you to be sterilized...
  • @Songhill - don't believe everything you read online. The thing you posted is 100% hogwash. Check out the CDC web site for actual scientific factual information.
    vinlynRebeccaS
  • I often think getting background information here is a good place to start. This time I think it's not.

    First, if you do a Google search you will finding a lot of conflicting information.

    Second, I think this is probably very much a state by state situation.

    Believe whoever and whatever you wish, but I don't see any conclusive information out there.
  • edited October 2012
    Mountains:

    The Lancet is not hogwash. Wikipedia:
    The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is one of the world's best known, oldest, and most respected general medical journals. The Lancet was founded in 1823 by Thomas Wakley, an English surgeon who named it after the surgical instrument called a lancet, as well as after the term "lancet arch", a window with a sharp pointed arch, to indicate the "light of wisdom" or "to let in light". It publishes original research articles, review articles ("seminars" and "reviews"), editorials, book reviews, correspondence, as well as news features and case reports. The Lancet has been owned by Elsevier since 1991. As of 1995, the editor-in-chief is Richard Horton. The journal has editorial offices in London, New York, and Beijing.
  • Just back from having my flu jab.
    Some anecdotal but accurate facts.
    My wife runs our local NHS Hospital.
    Two winters ago there was an out break of swine flu in the UK.
    The death toll reached the hundreds nationally...what was unusual about this was the age group..flu kills the old. But most of these people were young.
    There was a particular prevalence of severe illness among pregnant women.
    Almost all those who died were not vaccinated.
    Among my wife's staff a dozen or so ended up occupying beds in their own hospital with complications arising from flu.
    The take up that year of vaccinations among the nursing staff was low.
    The staff on the ITU were devastated when a young woman died of flu..she was 22 years old and 4 months pregnant. She had not been vaccinated.
    Last winter there was an uptake of 94% of nurses asking for the vaccination.
    Almost no time was lost among the staff due to seasonal flu.

    Fact...not memes. Not politics. Not pet theories. Facts.

    vinlynRebeccaSMaryAnne
  • SileSile Veteran
    The problem, @Citta, is that we have conflicting facts.

    The thing that stands out to me is that some medical professionals have spoken out strongly against this vaccine. This is not just a meme or hype; this is unusual. That alone should inspire a different response on the consumer end (i.e. more fact-seeking as opposed to just lining up for the jab).
  • I will continue to encourage those in my circle to queue up for the jab, just as I have done. The head epidemiologist for the area was coming out of staff health having just had his shot as I was going in. Remember under the British NHS System there is NO financial gain to be had from promoting vaccination. It is free at the point of delivery.
    In fact there is a financial disincentive for an NHS trust to offer it to their staff...which is outweighed by fewer days of sick leave each winter.
    After examining the evidence I formed the view that the benefits far outweigh any risk.
    I will continue to advise my family, including my precious grandchildren, to get the vaccination.
    I would not do that if I thought that there was any real risk .

    But each to their own.
    The main point I wanted to make is to point out that there is no " Buddhist " position on the matter.
  • Sile said:

    The problem, @Citta, is that we have conflicting facts.

    The thing that stands out to me is that some medical professionals have spoken out strongly against this vaccine. This is not just a meme or hype; this is unusual. That alone should inspire a different response on the consumer end (i.e. more fact-seeking as opposed to just lining up for the jab).

    But again, doesn't this get back to a need for laymen to rely on the greater body of scientific/medical recommendations? After all, there are scientists who have spoken out strongly against global warming and/or the human effect on it. But it seems to me that most of us here believe that global warming is happening. There will always be outliers.

    What it comes down to, to me, is the number of deaths and serious reactions to flu shots -versus- the number of deaths and serious reactions due to the flu. And, historically I see an awfully lot of deadly flu epidemics. I say that even after being a close relative to someone who had a bad reaction to the swine flu vaccine many years ago.

    Just for the record, with some exceptions, I don't feel people should be forced to have flu shots.

  • I am not a layman. I am an MD. I have given my considered advice.
    I can only speak for the UK but here no one is forced to have flu jabs.
    The difference in take up I mentioned at my wifes hospital was due not to coercion but to the shock wave that ran through the staff at seeing their own colleagues in Intensive Care as a result of a " minor " flu bug........
  • @Citta, I wasn't referring to you as a layman. It was a general response about laymen.
  • karastikarasti 38/female/Tibetan Minnesota Veteran
    I think it is like any other health issue. You do what you can with the information, and hopefully you have a good doctor you trust and you follow their advice for your particular family and situation. Our doctor recommends us all to get the shot because of our son, so we do. Both the pediatrician and the endocrinologist, who is one of the highest rated in the midwest. So we listen to them, but we also do not do it blindly and we do do research. All the research I can find indicates diabetics are at higher risk for getting the flu, getting severely ill from the flu, getting hospitalized from the flu, and dying from complications from the flu.

    I do understand why average healthy citizens opt not to get it, and those who have specific health concerns with getting it (allergies, past reactions, etc). But I do think that people need to think farther than themselves when making such decisions.

    There are always risks in anything you choose to put into your body, whether it's a vaccine, a medication, or food and beverages. It's up to each person to weigh the risks versus the benefits. People who refuse vaccines, then turn around and eat food known to increase the risks of all sorts of cancers and other problems. They sit in their chairs saying how bad vaccines are while they puff away on cigarettes (my grandmother does this, and she has gone through life at periods vaccines didn't exist for things like polio). To each their own. But remember when you weigh the likelihood of problems with yourself, that you aren't the only person affected by your decision.

    And I assure you, a lot of things are legal for employers to do. If you are not listed in a protected class in your state law, and you are in an at-will state without a union, you can, and will, be fired for not complying. People still get fired for being gay. They get fired for wearing the wrong clothes to work. They get fired for saying the wrong things.
    MaryAnne
  • So, today I learned that my workplace is going to make it a requirment that all employees receive the flu vaccine. I have not taken this vaccination in many years for numerous reasons, however I am wondering

    what the Buddhist stance is on vaccines. Has anybody refused a vaccine based on Buddhist principles? I fear this may be my only way out of it. :(

    This the OP. The actual issue at hand is a matter of individual choice based on informed opinion.
    What set slight alarm bells ringing for me...and this is not a criticism of the poster...is the idea that there could be a single " Buddhist stance " on the issue.
    There is no Buddhist Pope, no committee that issues decrees on such matters.
    We are to quote Sartre. " condemned to be free ".


  • SileSile Veteran
    I think it's possible the Buddhist position just hasn't been explored much; many people haven't been exposed to information on the various ways in which vaccines are produced. I think the use of animal cells and certainly human fetal cells would probably inspire a Buddhist perspective, depending on how those cells were acquired.

    I don't mean that all Buddhists would find the use of these cells a problem, but I do think some would. The Catholic church struggles with this particular issue.

  • Very good points, Karasti.

    I worry about my 78 year old neighbor who is pre-diabetic and prone to lung problems (including pneumonia), and she never gets a flu shot.

    You also make a very good observation about those who lead a generally unhealthy lifestyle, but then go off about a flu shot. My father was like that -- heavy smoker and heavy drinker for much of his life, but as I recall was anti-flu shot.

    And, you're also correct about what employers can and can't do...and I will add that in about half the state (the "right to work" states), an employer can make a case against workers far more easily than most people realize. I was in Virginia when principal, and I think I could have made a case for firing half of my teachers (and we actually had a very good staff) by over-observing and over-documenting...and I can think of at least one school where for a 1-2 year period that may have been done. Unfortunately, where there's a will, there's often a way, as the old saying goes.
  • Sile said:

    I think it's possible the Buddhist position just hasn't been explored much; many people haven't been exposed to information on the various ways in which vaccines are produced. I think the use of animal cells and

    certainly human fetal cells would probably inspire a Buddhist perspective, depending on how those cells were acquired.

    I don't mean that all Buddhists would find the use of these cells a problem, but I do think some would. The Catholic church struggles with this particular issue.

    So supposing that people were exposed to such information...there would still be no "
    Buddhist stance"..there would still just be people making up their own minds.
    Who would enforce such a stance ?
    " Buddhism " is a social construct....not to be confused with Dharma.
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited October 2012
    No need to enforce any stance - just saying it's probably inaccurate that there's no Buddhist/dharmic discussion or perspective possible on vaccination, given the production method.

    To be honest, there's probably a Buddhist/dharmic perspective possible on just about anything in life. But the concept of using other beings' cells is something I'd expect to find discussed in Buddhist circles, just as it is in Catholic circles.

    If it hasn't been discussed much yet, I'm just theorizing that it may be due to lack of general awareness as to how vaccines are produced, rather than because there is no dharmic perspective on cell use.



  • Its actually quite simple. Individuals can reach a conclusion about whether they do or do not want vaccination. They can find ample data about the issues involved including the use of animals in the production of vaccines.
    There is no need to make a religion out of Dharma complete with its own dogma.
    We are all capable of weighing the facts and reaching a decision without recourse to groupthink.
    vinlyn
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited October 2012
    Absolutely agree - it is a personal decision. I think we could safely say, however, that many people are not aware of the use of animal and human cells in vaccine production; I certainly wasn't before 2009.

    I'm not at all for groupthink, but in order to have any "think" at all, we have to know at least basic facts about the products we use.

    To be honest, I see a great deal of groupthink encouraged in favor of H1N1 vaccination. There's even a "pledge" program at flu.gov where one pledges to get the vaccine and then "get four more people" to vaccinate or something to that effect. Or at least there was last year; not sure about this year.

    Edit: CDC, not flu.gov. Here it is. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/pledge/

    Nowhere does it encourage the pledger to check and see whether the people they're bringing in, for example, are in a category of people who shouldn't receive this shot. Ostensibly this will be caught by the Walgreen's nurse, but shouldn't it at least be mentioned, or asterisked?

    A very interesting and fairly brief post-game on the World Health Organization and H1N1 - not a vaccine-bashing article at all but rather some observations on where WHO stands in the public eye, post-H1N1:

    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/1344/is_the_world_health_organization_its_own_pandemic_
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