Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Vaccines and the Moral Dilemma

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a moral dilemma for many.

A New Vaccine for Shingles

In October of this year, Children of God for Life announced that the long-awaited, morally produced shingles vaccine has received FDA approval for licensing in the US. Shingrix, made by Glaxo SmithKline pharmaceutical company, is produced using a yeast cell line. Previously, people had only one option for vaccination against shingles: Merck's Zostavax which uses aborted fetal cells.

"Until now, people wanting to have protection from shingles have had to either use Merck's aborted fetal version or abstain entirely," stated Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director at Children of God for Life.  "We are absolutely thrilled that GSK has finally given the US a moral option!"

Shingrix has also received FDA recommendation as the product of choice and is also recently approved for use in Canada. Clinical trials have proven Shingrix to be a superior product to Zostavax, making it a generally more attractive vaccination choice for the prevention of shingles. 
Shingrix is 97.2% effective in people over 50 years old and maintained 90% efficacy in those 70 years old and above. After four years, those vaccinated still maintained with 95% immunity, compared with Merck's Zostavax, which is only 38% effective in people over 70 and maintained only 40% duration of immunity after four years.

To Vaccinate Or Not to Vaccinate? The Dilemma for People of Faith

In a recent case that highlighted the difficulties of vaccination for people of faith, a young mom landed in jail for refusing to vaccinate her 9-year-old son with a vaccine produced from the cells of an aborted fetus. She and her husband were not in agreement in the decision, and after initially agreeing to a court order to have the child vaccinated, she couldn't go through with it. A judge ordered her to serve seven days in jail, and she served her time, effectively creating a criminal class of parents whose conscience is violated by the use of aborted babies to create products for human consumption.

Today all common childhood immunizations are created using aborted fetal cells. Parents wanting to get their child immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, chickenpox, and Hepatitis A are faced with the choice of either using a version that is repugnant to their moral convictions, finding an ethical version for those that have one, or take the risk of leaving their child unprotected. 

All fifty states in the U.S. now require at least some vaccinations for school entry, and updated vaccinations or proof of acquired antibodies to disease are required for healthcare workers across the country.

It is hoped that the success of the new shingles vaccine will encourage the development of other new, morally acceptable alternatives to current vaccines. Since Zostavax is a weakened version of its chickenpox vaccine, it is hoped that Glaxo Smith-Kline will produce a new version of the chickenpox vaccine using a weakened version of its shingles vaccine.

Perhaps soon people like the mom from Michigan will no longer have to choose between violating her conscience or putting her child at risk and breaking the law to properly care for those they love.

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