Letter to the Editor: Vaccines

To the Editor:

It is regrettable that so much of the Question 1 vaccine discussion focused on how much of pharma’s profits are from vaccines. That was completely beside the point.

Yes, vaccines are not (yet) the largest fraction of pharma’s profits. But pharma is on record as saying vaccines are the future of the industry. Why is this, and why would anyone be concerned about it?

The vaccine discussion has so far been focused on children. But that’s not what the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the vaccine manufacturers are looking at. They are looking at adults. Maybe not the boomers, who got lifelong immunity from various diseases by catching them, but at the younger adult population, say ages 18 to 45, but particularly those born since the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Their immunity is waning, a phenomenon vaccinologists increasingly acknowledge as the primary source of disease outbreaks.

The industry demanded that law to escape the crushing weight of vaccine lawsuits they were experiencing. It turned their vaccines into a pure-profit product, free of costs. No lawsuits. A guaranteed customer base of tens of millions (thanks to mandates) so no need for advertising. No requirement for expensive lengthy safety studies (vaccines can be fast-tracked). Childhood vaccines exploded in the aftermath, with lasting natural immunity one of the casualties.

So what about us adults? HHS’s Healthy People 2020 (and 2030) envisions everyone—babies, children, adults, elderly—fully vaccinated. The WHO’s Immunisation Agenda 2030 is subtitled “A Global Strategy To Leave No One Behind,” and they mean it. Argentina took the lead in December 2018, passing legislation (with no discussion) requiring a completed national vaccine card before a person can get Argentina’s National ID, passport, or drivers license. Think about that as REAL-ID arrives here.

The (failing) herd-immunity rationale used for childhood mandates has paved the way for coming mandates for us adults.

This is what Question 1’s “Reject Big Pharma” idea really came down to for the vast majority of Mainers. Adding the last couple of percent of kids to the mandate won’t do much for Pharma’s profits. But hundreds of new vaccines for a couple of hundred million adults? Well, that’s another story.

Dick Atlee

Southwest Harbor

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