pre class discussion thoughts about Salmon '99

I enjoyed this article tremendously, it brought up some great ethical issues (and since I have taken philosophy of science and enjoyed it sooooo much this was right up my alley of interesting reading!) there are a few places that I had to stop reading and write down some initial thoughts. I would like to share my thoughts with you prior to class because I will probably bring up my thoughts in class for group discussion, and it would be nice if you had already thought about them. So…
On p. 47 under the results section it says, "an increase or decrease in the number of exemptors would affect the incidence of measles in nonexempt populations. If the number of exemptors doubled, the incidence of measles infection in nonexempt individuals would increase by 5.5%, 18.6%, and 30.8%, respectively, for intergroup mixing ratios of 20%, 40%, and 60%" I don't know why, but immediately I thought of problems of smoking. For the longest time in was legal for people to smoke in public places, but when research began to show the affects of second hand smoke laws started popping up everywhere limiting the places in which tobacco users could smoke. To me this case seems very similar. When the choices you make start affecting others around you certain ethical issues need to be considered. In the case of smoking the rights of nonsmokers outweighed the rights of smokers. Could the same reasoning be applied to vaccinations? I would think so.
On p. 48 first column it says, "The current success of immunization programs in achieving record high levels of coverage and record low levels of VPDs results in many parents being unfamiliar with VPDs. As a result, the desire of some parents to claim exemptions for their children may increase when vaccine coverage is high." Today in microbiology when me and jackie were walking into class we were talking about the weather and how the weather channel was wrong because it said that it was going to rain all day. I don't remember who it was but someone said that the weather channel is always wrong. Mrs. Robson heard this and proceeded to share with us why that is a false statement and why we (as humans) remember wrong or negative concepts and tend to forget correct or positive concepts and blah blah blah…you really had to have been there (it is late I may have gotten what she said wrong, so if you are reading this Mrs. Robson you are welcome to jump in and fix it or elaborate…. :) so I guess this idea is really for those who heard the previous conversation) When I read this sentence I again had an epiphany and remembered our conversation from earlier. I would assume that when exemptors hear that vaccines pose a risk of backfiring from VPD coverage they decide that it is better not to get the vaccine. Therefore less people get vaccinated, when VPD coverage is high, increasing the chances of acquiring a VPD. Mrs. Robson you should really help me on this one I doubt that I am thinking or explaining my thinking correctly. :S
Also, I had a few questions about some of the things I read. Again on p. 48 under "Mathematical Model" the last sentence of the first paragraph where they say, "it is assumed that youth within a given group mix randomly, but exemptors are more likely to be in contact wit other exempotors, and non exemptors are more likely to be in contact with nonexemptors." Why would they assume this? In big communities (and sometimes in small) there are a wide variety of students with a variety of religious and philosophical upbringings, because of that I don't see how they justify there reasoning for this assumption. I know they go on to explain it in the next paragraph, but in all honesty I still didn't understand.
Finally, and yes there is an end to my questions and thoughts, on p. 49 under "Results" the last two sentences of the first paragraph it says, "cases among the vaccinated youth were more frequent in the older age categories. Cases among exemptors have a more uniform distribution across age categories." Why do you think that is? I have no idea!
~Brittany Frisch~

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