The Obama administration may be considering forced vaccination of children and adults in response to the possibility of a swine flu epidemic this fall.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been preparing public school superintendents for the possibility that their schools will be used by the government as inoculation centers for a nationwide swine flu vaccination program, which may include mandatory vaccination of public school students who are already required to receive several other government mandated vaccinations.
While there is a genuine threat of a swine flu pandemic, it does not justify the level of fear mongering being engaged in by the Obama Administration at a time which makes it look very much as if they are using this issue to advance their health care agenda. Although numbers like 90,000 deaths and 1.2 million hospitalizations from the CDC seem frightening, they fall within the parameters for the effects of the yearly outbreaks of other kinds of flu.
There is no legitimate reason for any program of forced mass vaccination, especially directed at school children and using state mandated public education requirements as a threat to force parents to comply. Mandatory vaccination programs are a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy and personal security. It is especially important that the rights of children and the rights of their parents to make decisions about their welfare be protected.
Here in Texas we saw an attempt at forced vaccination when Governor Rick Perry tried to mandate that all teenage girls be given the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine at a cost of over $400 per vaccination to the taxpayers. Outrage over the huge tax cost of the program was exceeded only by anger over having this vaccine forced on teenagers. Protests were so effective that the program was ultimately killed.
Now we need to do the same, in this case, on a nationwide basis.
The issue of vaccination – in fact, the entire healthcare debate – comes down to one very simple question: Who should make the healthcare decisions for you and your family? Should it be you or should it be legislators or commissions of nameless and faceless government bureaucrats like those created by proposed healthcare legislation?
This issue is so important and so personal that giving up control to government is terrifying. As a result, we are seeing massive, nationwide grassroots protests against government-run healthcare because whatever the faults of the current system, people want to keep control and make their own health care decisions.
Vaccines are one of the great advancements of modern medicine and for the most part they are safe as well as important for protecting children and adults from real health threats. Nonetheless, it is still morally wrong for government to force any kind of choice like this on citizens against their will. Government should protect freedom of choice, not take it away.
The Republican Liberty Caucus is working to oppose both so-called healthcare reform and mandated vaccination programs. Citizens have the right to make their own health care decisions, including opting out of current school vaccination requirements and not being forced to comply with any future government inoculation program.
Citizens should be trusted to make responsible decisions about the health of their family members and the safety of the community. The role of the government should be to protect citizens and their rights, not to make medical decisions for them without their consent.
So I ask again, who do you want making your health care decisions?