No, Vaccines Should Never Be Mandatory

A healthcare professional injects a patient with a flu vaccine during a Community influenza vaccination event held by Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct. 20. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each year, said Lt. Cmdr. Bryan Alvarez, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune’s director of Public Health.

As a libertarian, I often find it amusing when other fellow libertarians reveal their inconsistencies. For instance, many libertarians think that everyone has the right to do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t interfere with the same right of others… except when it comes to vaccines.

Vaccination should be mandatory, they claim, because unvaccinated people harm everyone else.

This raises the question, “if vaccines worked, then why should vaccinated people be worried about unvaccinated people getting them sick”? Besides that head-scratcher, a case could be made that people who pass on communicable diseases should be charged with a crime, but not being vaccinated does not equate to being sick much less passing a disease on to someone.

As I explain in the below excerpt from Paleo Family, vaccines in general are a great medical achievement but there are risks to all of them and while there may be a benefit to society, mandating their consumption for certain government services makes for a shoddy medical and economic system:

Vaccination is an astonishing medical achievement, but granted its stunning success in the battle against communicable disease, the treatment is not risk free.

This is the most common misconception of vaccines and it is perpetuated by many officials in the industry who have either invented a vaccine such as Dr. Paul Offit (rotavirus vaccine) and Dr. Stanley Plotkin (rubella vaccine) or those who stand to profit from them.

They claim that the general population needs to trust the experts in the medical profession and that there are no significant adverse side effects from vaccines.

As Offit says, “Of course it’s reasonable the parents would argue that vaccines be held to the absolute highest standard of safety. These vaccines should cause virtually no severe side effects, and that’s really pretty much true. It’s extremely rare that they would cause any problem.”

But is it true?

With the first vaccine for smallpox, many people who received it became ill and 2- to 3-percent died.

The modern smallpox vaccine comes with its risks as well. Besides the typical fever, shivering, swollen lymph nodes, chest pains, hallucinations, skin rash and lesions, vomiting, and diarrhea, it has also been known to cause encephalitis, encephalomyelitis, encephalopathy, blindness, and, yes, death.

The smallpox vaccine hasn’t been recommended since eradication but if every adult in the US received the shot, we could expect upwards of 500 people to die from it the first year.

Of course, if there was an outbreak of the actual disease of smallpox, we’d be lucky to limit mortality to 500 persons. Smallpox is a very dangerous disease and if there was ever an outbreak, the risks would certainly be warranted.

But there are risks for all vaccines, even for vaccines that protect against relatively harmless diseases.

For most healthy children, chickenpox is a benign condition that lasts for about a week.

Although not common, high risk populations are more likely to experience complications from the varicella virus; such as, skin infections, encephalitis, and pneumonia. However, the vaccine that is being promoted to prevent chickenpox can also cause pneumonia, encephalitis, meningitis, or hepatitis in healthy children.

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has been known to cause encephalitis, febrile seizures, and short-term joint pain.

Several vaccines including MMR, chickenpox, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, human papillomavirus (HPV), and tetanus-containing vaccines have been linked to anaphylaxis (severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction).

The flu vaccine is a known cause of Guillain-Barré Syndrome and it has also been shown that the HPV vaccine has led to death.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out billions of dollars to injured victims and their families for Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Transverse Myelitis, Neuropathy, Brachial Neuritis, Bell’s Palsy, Neuromyelitis Optica, Optic Neuritis, Vision Loss, Parsonage Turner Syndrome, Encephalitis, Acute Hemorrhagic Leukoencephalomyelitis, and many more conditions caused by vaccines.

Vaccine Adjuvants (Aluminum)

Apart from the side effects listed on the safety inserts of each vaccine and those that warranted payouts by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, there is mounting evidence that some portion of the population may be susceptible to toxicity from vaccine adjuvants or preservatives such as aluminum.

Aluminum is used in several vaccines to increase the effectiveness and in some cases it is an essential ingredient that actually causes the immune response. Without it, the vaccine would not “work” as intended.

But as of the time of this writing, there have been no known studies to demonstrate the maximum level of aluminum safely injected through vaccines.

There was a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at aluminum in intravenous feeding solutions for premature babies.

That study found that 5 micrograms of aluminum per 5 kilograms of body weight per day was safe but much more of the metal led to neurological damage.

There have not been any studies done on IV feeding solutions or vaccines for healthy babies but the FDA did set a limit on injectables at 25 micrograms.

Despite this, the CDC vaccine schedule includes a shot of hepatitis B vaccine for babies in their first 24 hours.

There are two options for pediatric hepatitis B vaccine and both include 250 micrograms of aluminum—10 times the FDA limit for injectables. This is repeated a month later, and when the infant returns for her 2-month checkup, she could possibly be injected with an astounding 1,225 micrograms of aluminum, which is repeated for the 4- and 6-month shots.

A study published in 2008 from SUNY-Stony Brook compared children who received the triple Hepatitis B vaccine series to those who had not.

The results were published in Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry and were quite alarming: children who had received the full, recommended Hepatitis B vaccine series were nine times more likely to need special education than children who did not receive a single dose of the vaccine. Furthermore, the same researchers found that premature boys who received the hepatitis B vaccine had a threefold increase in autism diagnoses.

Again, (just to reiterate the point) there have been no documented scientific studies demonstrating the safety of the levels of aluminum found in vaccines, yet drug manufacturers and physicians plow through with more vaccines including the adjuvant. Why? How could safety regulators be so seemingly ambivalent toward an ingredient in vaccines when there is good evidence that high amounts can be dangerous to humans?

Medical authorities and government bureaucrats wouldn’t let this happen in any other medical product, much less any other industry. Why are vaccines different?

Well, as anyone familiar with the industry will know, vaccines have become a sort of third rail of American medical science.

It has been established by the authorities that vaccines are necessary to the safety of society and must be protected as a class of pharmaceutical.

FDA Screening

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, passed by Congress in 1986 and signed into law by President Reagan, protects vaccine manufacturers from any liability for damage by their product.

As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in perhaps his worst decision, the law leaves, “judgments about vaccine design to the FDA and the National Vaccine Program rather than juries.”

A Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established and since that time, according to the government’s most recent report of the program, approximately 3.5 BILLION dollars have been paid out to vaccine injured persons, or their families in the case of death.

But if that system of manufacturer impunity doesn’t work with any other medical product, why should it work with a drug category that is injected in our most vulnerable citizens?

A brief overview of FDA-approved prescription drug history shows that we can’t trust the FDA to catch all harmful drugs.

Accutane was a popular anti-acne drug on the market for 27 years until the mounting legal fees were too much. The manufacturer Hoffman-La Roche defended over 7,000 lawsuits and paid out over $9 million for causing birth defects, premature birth, and miscarriages in pregnant women and inflammatory bowel disease and suicidal tendencies in others.

The FDA approved Bayer’s Baycol to reduce cholesterol, which was on the market for three years before being recalled for causing 52 deaths.

Darvon and Darvocet were on the market for 55 years relieving pain when it was recalled for causing toxicity to the heart and over 2,100 deaths.

Vioxx, Quaalude, Cylert, Lotrenox, and dozens of other slightly-Star Trek-sounding drugs were approved by the FDA for varying lengths of time only to be recalled because they were too dangerous.

It’s clear that the FDA’s screening process isn’t 100 percent effective and bad drugs get through. They’re only taken off the market after major litigation efforts from injured parties.
But that’s not going to happen with vaccines due to the special legal status vaccine manufacturers enjoy.

Instead, they will remain on the market, potentially causing harm to children, and the US government will foot the bill for damages through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which is funded through a tax placed on the vaccine manufacturers for each distributed dose.

CDC recommended vaccines are then made compulsory for all children and paid for by federal programs.

Anyone familiar with basic economics will spot the problem in which a party can enjoy all the financial benefits of mandated products with very little risk.

Market forces which usually would oblige a drug company to develop safer drugs no longer apply to vaccine manufacturers. That’s a great bargain for the pharmaceutical companies, but it is quite unfortunate for those of us on the other side.

This unique legal structure for vaccine manufacturers has created a suspect medical structure with two dangerous precedents:

  1. Vaccines are not tested against inert placebo. Typically, drugs are tested against a completely inert substance in controlled studies (such as sugar pills or saline injections). For all other drugs, the FDA requires long-term, multi-year, double blind safety studies that compare the rate of adverse reactions of those who received the drug against those who received true inert placebo.
    That is the gold standard for evaluating the safety of pharmaceuticals, but is considered unethical in the case of childhood vaccines. Instead, new vaccines are tested only against other vaccines and/or shots of adjuvants. This assumes that other vaccines and the adjuvants are perfectly safe to begin with.
    For a vaccine to be considered safe, it needs only to be less harmful than other vaccines. The assumption of the safety of vaccine components is not intellectually or scientifically honest.
    Furthermore, the follow-up during vaccine trials to assess potential adverse reactions is not sufficiently long; vaccine drug trials follow babies for sometimes just days and then determine whether or not the vaccine could have had an adverse reaction, not taking into account potentially long-term effects such as developmental delays.
  1. Vaccine responses are not monitored for potentially serious outcomes. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is available for when a vaccine is suspected for an adverse outcome, but this is voluntary.
    On more than one occasion the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has published its concern for better research into vaccine safety and adverse events based on VAERS.
    In its report, the IOM found some causal relationships between vaccines and poor health outcomes, including death.
    In another report, the IOM also voiced concerns for combining vaccines; saying that there exists, “little information pertaining to the risk of serious adverse events following administration of multiple vaccines simultaneously.” This is critical because the majority of childhood vaccines are now given in combination.

There is no other field of medicine that continues under these conditions. No one would allow it. And as a result of this dangerous medical double standard, the CDC vaccine schedule has ballooned in size.

Vaccine Dosage and Effect

Since 1986 when the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed, the number of required childhood vaccines has increased significantly.

In 1983, the CDC had 23 doses of vaccines on their schedule to be administered in 11 shots. Only one of these—DPT—contained aluminum.

By 1994, there were 33 doses on the schedule administered in 18 shots, including the Hep B vaccine given at birth with its 250 micrograms of aluminum given three times.

Fast forward to 2017; when the CDC recommended 69 doses in 16 shots before the age of 18, 50 of those doses before the age of six.

Some of the newest vaccines have questionable merit at best.

Chickenpox, for example, is typically a relatively harmless disease. Not to belittle the virus, it was responsible for anywhere from 40 to 140 deaths out of the millions of children infected per year. Mainly, it was an annoyance—having to stay out of school for a week or two. But people were not terrified of getting chickenpox.

In fact, when hearing of friends’ kids who had the disease, some would intentionally infect their kids and have a “chickenpox party” so as to get the infection out of the way.

While the varicella vaccine is not considered to be the most risky of vaccines with regard to side effects, there is another downside to vaccinating against diseases that are usually not serious for the average child.

People who get chickenpox have lifetime immunity and when they are repeatedly exposed to the disease (like a booster), they’re less likely to suffer from shingles later in life. Studies have shown that the recent shingles epidemic may be caused by widespread chickenpox vaccination, which removed the natural booster.

Furthermore, pregnant women who have had chickenpox transfer passive immunity to their neonates because the immunity is lifelong, whereas immunity from vaccines can wear off (more on this later) and provide no protection to vulnerable infants.

The HPV vaccine Gardasil is perhaps one of the most dubious of all the new vaccines. Fast-tracked by the FDA, the vaccine is designed to prevent the human papillomavirus and therefore prevent the subsequent onset of cervical cancer, which is believed to be caused by HPV.

There are over 4,000 cervical cancer deaths a year, but it’s not clear whether preventing HPV will lower that number as 90 percent of HPV cases clear up on their own within two years. And Gardasil is particularly risky when it comes to side effects, garnering tens of thousands of adverse effect reports on VAERS and over 110 deaths.

One of the doctors who helped develop the vaccine, Dr. Diane Harper, came out against it shortly after it was released to the public.

She said, “The risks of serious adverse events including death reported after Gardasil use in (the JAMA article by CDC’s Dr. Barbara Slade) were 3.4/100,000 doses distributed. That rate of serious adverse events [is] on par with the death rate of cervical cancer. Gardasil has been associated with at least as many serious adverse events as there are deaths from cervical cancer developing each year.”

What’s more troubling is that Gardasil may actually increase the risk of cancer in some women.

According to an FDA report, obtained by the Freedom of Information Act, girls who have already been exposed to HPV (girls who were seropositive) saw an increased risk of developing precancerous lesions by 44.6 percent after receiving the vaccine.

The report states, “It appeared that subjects in this subgroup of study 013 who received Gardasil™ might have had enhanced risk factors for development of [cancer] or worse compared to placebo recipients.”

This is the exact opposite effect that vaccines are designed to produce, yet policymakers are still adamant that all girls and now boys receive the vaccine.

The use of aluminum adjuvants may make the HPV vaccine particularly dangerous as well.

One study found HPV L1 gene fragments in the blood and spleen of a girl who died unexpectedly after receiving three quadrivalent HPV vaccine shots.
The thought is that while aluminum may make Gardasil more effective in preventing HPV, it may also make it more difficult for the body to expel. During drug testing for Gardasil, only aluminum containing placebos were used, not saline.

All of this is by no means conclusive, but with suspect efficacy in the first place it should at least make one question the rationale of mandating the vaccine for teenagers.


Given what we know about immunogenic response to vaccines, and that some children may be more vulnerable to vaccine injury, is a one-size-fits-all approach prudent?

Many reputable medical establishments think not.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have made some sensible recommendations based on the literature:

  • Abandon a one-size- (and dose-) fits-all vaccine approach for all vaccines and all persons.
  • Predict the likelihood of a significant adverse event to a vaccine.
  • Decide the number of doses likely to be needed to induce a sufficient response to a vaccine.
  • Design and develop new vaccines and studies to prove their efficacy and safety in such a way as to begin to use them in an individualized manner.
  • Identify approaches to vaccination for individuals and groups (based on age, gender, race, other) based on genetic predilections to vaccine response and reactivity.

Naturally, we want to protect our children. What each Paleo Family should decide is what risks they are willing to take in order to keep their children as natural and healthy as possible while still protecting them from nature’s ugly side.

It can safely be said that the original vaccine that ended up helping to eradicate smallpox from the face of the earth was a miracle and a crowning achievement of medical science. But it’s also clear that miracles do not scale.

Smallpox was a scourge on humanity. Chickenpox is a nuisance. The smallpox vaccine saved lives; we don’t even know if some of the modern vaccines like HPV vaccine do what they are supposed to do.

As with any medication or pharmaceutical, there are health risks that come with the benefits of vaccines. It is irresponsible to suggest that all people should get all such pharmaceuticals and it is illegitimate use of governmental authority to require it in order to receive benefits or other privileges.

We have the right to accept or reject all medical treatment. It is up to us to make sure our representatives understand that.

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JSB Morse is a husband, father, author, entrepreneur, and philosopher. He has recently written "Paleo Family" with his wife and previously written the political thriller "Gods of Ruin" and the spiritual fiction "Now and at the Hour of Our Death". He is editor of "The Libertarian Catholic" and can be found at