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Parents Get Prison Sentence for Failing to Vaccinate Children

Two sets of parents in Belgium have been sentenced to five months in prison and fined 4,100 euros ($8,000) for failing to have their children vaccinated against polio. If the parents meet the deadline to vaccinate, they can dodge incarceration. Because of Belgium privacy laws, the details as to why the parents refused vaccination are unknown.

Polio is the only vaccination required by law in Belgium, and France is the only other European county that also requires it. In the US, children can avoid vaccination easily for religious of philosophical reasons. In Saudi Arabia, pilgrims from countries with a polio epidemic must prove vaccination, as well as receive an extra dose from the Saudi authorities at the airport. To see if vaccination is worth it,

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While Polio has dropped 99 percent since eradication efforts began, the disease can spread rapidly, leaving all countries at risk of an outbreak. Bioethics experts classify those that refuse to be vaccinated as "free riders" who can only refuse vaccination because others have fulfilled their responsibility.

Do you think the prison-sentenced parents in Belgium have any rights in the case? Or, are they simply failing to fulfill an obligation to their children and society? Will the threat of prison convince parents that they must vaccinate their children, even if they hold a strong conviction against it?
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Ejmcmis Ejmcmis 8 years
My aunt (mom's older sister) died when she was two years old when she received the Polio vaccine (obviously I never met her). Actually, it was a pretty horrific death that my grandparents had to witness her go through it. She went blind then her body slowly deteriorated and about 3 months after receiving the vaccination, she finally found peace. Obviously this happened during the height of the polio epidemic. . But because of that when my mother was born, her parents waited until she was 4 years old to vaccinate her. . . With all that said, when I have kids, I will still vaccinate them.
Ejmcmis Ejmcmis 8 years
My aunt (mom's older sister) died when she was two years old when she received the Polio vaccine (obviously I never met her). Actually, it was a pretty horrific death that my grandparents had to witness her go through it. She went blind then her body slowly deteriorated and about 3 months after receiving the vaccination, she finally found peace. Obviously this happened during the height of the polio epidemic. .But because of that when my mother was born, her parents waited until she was 4 years old to vaccinate her. ..<b> With all that said, when I have kids, I will still vaccinate them. </b>
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
facin8me, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this =) Not everyone caught measles and mumps, and not all who caught it died either. The overall issue is, do you take the risk of possibly catching something, or being affected by the ingredients in vaccines. Some people who think vaccines can't be dangerous obviously opt for them, others like myself aren't willing to take the risk. Mandy, I really liked your comment.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
facin8me, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this =) Not everyone caught measles and mumps, and not all who caught it died either. The overall issue is, do you take the risk of possibly catching something, or being affected by the ingredients in vaccines. Some people who think vaccines can't be dangerous obviously opt for them, others like myself aren't willing to take the risk. Mandy, I really liked your comment.
phatE phatE 8 years
wackdoodle - I didn't know you worked for Merk, and if I was in your shoes I would be tired too. :)
phatE phatE 8 years
wackdoodle - I didn't know you worked for Merk, and if I was in your shoes I would be tired too. :)
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 8 years
I think the problem with vaccines is that they aren't one-size-fits-all, but that is how they are given. Autism is more rampant now than ever, and for all we know it could be a reaction to one of the ingredients in the vaccines and gluten, since a gluten-free diet helps children with Autism tremendously. Or it could be a reaction from the ingredients and hormones that are pumped into meat, or fertilizer that veggies are showered with. Or how high the blood sugar is at the time of vaccination. Who knows? The fact is that children will react to the ingredients differently, but they have no way to test the child and subsequently customize the vaccines (other than dosage) per child. That is what mothers who have children with Autism are trying to get fixed, and that is what parents need to think about before blindly subjecting their children to vaccines their doctor is paid to distribute. Currently, there is no solution. Either way, it affects your child's life. Get them vaccinated and you risk them having a reaction because they ate an apple that morning, or candy in the waiting room, or because it's 68 degrees and 10am and she's wearing red. Who knows? Don't get them vaccinated and you take the chance that someone somewhere has a disease that was all but eradicated decades ago and gives it to your child. You never know. Cat are easy! I just keep them home all the time and make sure they don't come into contact with strange animals. Unfortunately, kids aren't like cats. :)
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 8 years
I think the problem with vaccines is that they aren't one-size-fits-all, but that is how they are given. Autism is more rampant now than ever, and for all we know it could be a reaction to one of the ingredients in the vaccines and gluten, since a gluten-free diet helps children with Autism tremendously. Or it could be a reaction from the ingredients and hormones that are pumped into meat, or fertilizer that veggies are showered with. Or how high the blood sugar is at the time of vaccination. Who knows? The fact is that children will react to the ingredients differently, but they have no way to test the child and subsequently customize the vaccines (other than dosage) per child. That is what mothers who have children with Autism are trying to get fixed, and that is what parents need to think about before blindly subjecting their children to vaccines their doctor is paid to distribute. Currently, there is no solution. Either way, it affects your child's life. Get them vaccinated and you risk them having a reaction because they ate an apple that morning, or candy in the waiting room, or because it's 68 degrees and 10am and she's wearing red. Who knows? Don't get them vaccinated and you take the chance that someone somewhere has a disease that was all but eradicated decades ago and gives it to your child. You never know.Cat are easy! I just keep them home all the time and make sure they don't come into contact with strange animals. Unfortunately, kids aren't like cats. :)
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
LilRuck-This forum is by no means the place for me to discuss metabolic pathways and DNA synthesis, but I stand by my statement. Small amounts of naturally occurring formaldehyde circulates in our blood. Those small amounts are harmless.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
Lilruck, you children's immune systems would not fight off polio and mumps like they would fight off a common cold. All viruses are not created equal, and some are better at evading immune detection. Your children do not have these diseases because they have not been exposed. The reason they haven't been exposed is because very few people have these diseases nowadays due to vaccinations. I think it's great that your children eat healthy and that your try to boost their immune systems with diet and exercise. It's part of my healthy plan as well. But I do not have any illusions that these measures would somehow make me superpowered if I came into contact with a virus that has evolved to evade my immunity mechanisms.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
Lilruck, you children's immune systems would not fight off polio and mumps like they would fight off a common cold. All viruses are not created equal, and some are better at evading immune detection. Your children do not have these diseases because they have not been exposed. The reason they haven't been exposed is because very few people have these diseases nowadays due to vaccinations.I think it's great that your children eat healthy and that your try to boost their immune systems with diet and exercise. It's part of my healthy plan as well. But I do not have any illusions that these measures would somehow make me superpowered if I came into contact with a virus that has evolved to evade my immunity mechanisms.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 8 years
Well, they dont have to go if they just do it right? How bad is that?
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
Blue- my information isn't outdated. I stated that thimerosal has been taken out. Formaldehyde is in no way a natural component found in your blood! It is a known carcinogen, which actually binds to DNA and is very difficult to remove.Wack, don't attack me for being childish... when I had children I researched the HECK out of this stuff, and it literally blew my mind and went against everything I had believed in. That being said, no, I am not vaccinated against most things. I would like to know if you have any children. I ask because this really becomes different when you have to make that decision. You talked a bit about back in the 50s/60s etc and how many children actually died bc of vaccines, then made a huge blanket statement that what has happened in the past 20 years is basically people got their terms mixed up. I would love to believe that theory, it's an interesting one, but unfortunately there isn't much to back it up. Facin8me... my children don't have to worry about polio, mumps, and measles because their immune systems work properly, not because they were given vaccines. I didn't choose to not vaccinate thembecause I thought "Oh everyone else is vaccinated, why should I have to?" That would be incredibly selfish, and stupid. I really didn't mean to offend anyone, and I'm sorry if I did. My anti-vaccine stance isn't something I take lightly, I don't just skip them for my kids and continue to live life. We eat foods most people haven't even heard of. My kids shock relatives when they gulp down a plateful of disease fighting foods (usually some disgusting green or brown color). I believe that my immune system (and my husbands and kids') works well, in the way that it was created. Not only do I believe that, but I also take issue with the ingredient list in vaccines, most of which I would never put in my body or my children's.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
Blue- my information isn't outdated. I stated that thimerosal has been taken out. Formaldehyde is in no way a natural component found in your blood! It is a known carcinogen, which actually binds to DNA and is very difficult to remove. Wack, don't attack me for being childish... when I had children I researched the HECK out of this stuff, and it literally blew my mind and went against everything I had believed in. That being said, no, I am not vaccinated against most things. I would like to know if you have any children. I ask because this really becomes different when you have to make that decision. You talked a bit about back in the 50s/60s etc and how many children actually died bc of vaccines, then made a huge blanket statement that what has happened in the past 20 years is basically people got their terms mixed up. I would love to believe that theory, it's an interesting one, but unfortunately there isn't much to back it up. Facin8me... my children don't have to worry about polio, mumps, and measles because their immune systems work properly, not because they were given vaccines. I didn't choose to not vaccinate them because I thought "Oh everyone else is vaccinated, why should I have to?" That would be incredibly selfish, and stupid. I really didn't mean to offend anyone, and I'm sorry if I did. My anti-vaccine stance isn't something I take lightly, I don't just skip them for my kids and continue to live life. We eat foods most people haven't even heard of. My kids shock relatives when they gulp down a plateful of disease fighting foods (usually some disgusting green or brown color). I believe that my immune system (and my husbands and kids') works well, in the way that it was created. Not only do I believe that, but I also take issue with the ingredient list in vaccines, most of which I would never put in my body or my children's.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
"A vaccine against something like chicken pox gets in the way of the body's immune system trying to do its job." Um, acutally, no- vaccines stimulate the immune system to do its job so that when you encounter the pathogen "in the wild," your immune system knows exactly what to do to combat the infection. Vaccinations allow your body to identify "danger molecules" and develop the means to fight them quickly. "We do not suffer pandemics because of a lack of a vaccine, just as you don't suffer a headache due to a deficiency in Advil!!" Before vaccinations, we did suffer epidemics and pandemics of disease. Polio, mumps, measles...these are all things your children do not have to worry about due to vaccinations. And children who haven't been vaccinated can thank everybody else around them who have been vaccinated for protection against diseases. And let's not trivialize deadly diseases by comparing them to the common headache.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
"A vaccine against something like chicken pox gets in the way of the body's immune system trying to do its job."Um, acutally, no- vaccines stimulate the immune system to do its job so that when you encounter the pathogen "in the wild," your immune system knows exactly what to do to combat the infection. Vaccinations allow your body to identify "danger molecules" and develop the means to fight them quickly. "We do not suffer pandemics because of a lack of a vaccine, just as you don't suffer a headache due to a deficiency in Advil!!" Before vaccinations, we did suffer epidemics and pandemics of disease. Polio, mumps, measles...these are all things your children do not have to worry about due to vaccinations. And children who haven't been vaccinated can thank everybody else around them who have been vaccinated for protection against diseases. And let's not trivialize deadly diseases by comparing them to the common headache.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Wackdoodle....I swear you're the voice to my nerdy brain.Are you sure your older cat wasn't vaccinated for FIP? That vaccine has pretty much been phased out for multiple reasons, including reactions much worse than what you've listed. The FIV vaccine has only been out for maybe 5 years, so unless you're really young (and very well educated for your age I must say ;) ), I think you got those mixed up. Current AVMA guidelines suggest a "less is more" vaccination protocol for felines, because of their immune response. If your kitties could potentially become exposed through contact with other cats, or through secondary contact (as you've stated) then it's a good idea to vaccinate accordingly.LilRuck-I'm afraid some of your information is outdated. Thimerosal is pretty much phased out of all vaccines, and is not used at all in the US or UK. Formaldehyde is used in vaccines currently, at levels lower than the amount found in humans naturally. Formaldehyde is actually a necessary chemical for DNA synthesis, and is found in circulating blood. The amount of formaldehyde in a standard vaccine is about five times smaller than the amount found in the circulating blood of an infant. "The FOURTH leading cause of death in America is because of prescription drugs, look it up."Do you have a source for that statement? I can't seem to find anything supporting this. At best you're linking prescription drugs to "Poisoning and Noxious Substances", which is listed as #4 in the National Vital Statistics Report. Additionally, your lumping of every man made drug in existence does not support your argument against vaccines. These are drastically different subjects. Vaccines do not cure or treat ailments and disease, their sole purpose is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Apples and oranges.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Wackdoodle....I swear you're the voice to my nerdy brain. Are you sure your older cat wasn't vaccinated for FIP? That vaccine has pretty much been phased out for multiple reasons, including reactions much worse than what you've listed. The FIV vaccine has only been out for maybe 5 years, so unless you're really young (and very well educated for your age I must say ;) ), I think you got those mixed up. Current AVMA guidelines suggest a "less is more" vaccination protocol for felines, because of their immune response. If your kitties could potentially become exposed through contact with other cats, or through secondary contact (as you've stated) then it's a good idea to vaccinate accordingly. LilRuck-I'm afraid some of your information is outdated. Thimerosal is pretty much phased out of all vaccines, and is not used at all in the US or UK. Formaldehyde is used in vaccines currently, at levels lower than the amount found in humans naturally. Formaldehyde is actually a necessary chemical for DNA synthesis, and is found in circulating blood. The amount of formaldehyde in a standard vaccine is about five times smaller than the amount found in the circulating blood of an infant. "The FOURTH leading cause of death in America is because of prescription drugs, look it up." Do you have a source for that statement? I can't seem to find anything supporting this. At best you're linking prescription drugs to "Poisoning and Noxious Substances", which is listed as #4 in the National Vital Statistics Report. Additionally, your lumping of every man made drug in existence does not support your argument against vaccines. These are drastically different subjects. Vaccines do not cure or treat ailments and disease, their sole purpose is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Apples and oranges.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
You weren't out of line, I misunderstood to whom you were referring when you said "a hint of sarcasm". Obliviously I thought you meant I was being sarcastic, so you know I was just trying to clarify that I wasn't trying to be sarcastic or malicious. True, I didn't grasp your comment as you intended for it to be read but now I can see the way you intended for your comment to be read. ((bonks herself on the head)) Now I see. Still agree with you as far as the controversy surrounding that issue. I am freaking tired - you know working for Merck Pharma and the city of SF at the same time can be draining.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
You weren't out of line, I misunderstood to whom you were referring when you said "a hint of sarcasm". Obliviously I thought you meant I was being sarcastic, so you know I was just trying to clarify that I wasn't trying to be sarcastic or malicious. True, I didn't grasp your comment as you intended for it to be read but now I can see the way you intended for your comment to be read.((bonks herself on the head)) Now I see. Still agree with you as far as the controversy surrounding that issue.I am freaking tired - you know working for Merck Pharma and the city of SF at the same time can be draining.
phatE phatE 8 years
Oh whatever.. I was being sarcastic which you obviously aren't able to grasp. I never said you control the opinions of scientists or that you were speaking on behalf of them lol.. you said: "Additionally, my cats are not human. They cannot be compared to humans on matters of health or medical treatment as they are a different SPECIES with different biological processes." and I replied in a sarcastic manor which wasn't nice and I apologize. It wasn't meant to cause a stir.. "wackdoodle, animals are always being used for comparison.. they for sure aren't human, but you may want to catch the entire scientific community up if there is no value in that comparison." my reference to "catching the scientific community up" was not meant to be taken seriously and in no way did I say you represented them.. I basically responded to your opinion that animals cannot be compared to humans on matters of health or medical treatment because they are species with different biological processes because I found quite a bit of irony in it, considering animal testing is wide spread and used for multiple scenarios. sorry if I was out of line..
phatE phatE 8 years
Oh whatever.. I was being sarcastic which you obviously aren't able to grasp. I never said you control the opinions of scientists or that you were speaking on behalf of them lol..you said: "Additionally, my cats are not human. They cannot be compared to humans on matters of health or medical treatment as they are a different SPECIES with different biological processes."and I replied in a sarcastic manor which wasn't nice and I apologize. It wasn't meant to cause a stir.."wackdoodle, animals are always being used for comparison.. they for sure aren't human, but you may want to catch the entire scientific community up if there is no value in that comparison."my reference to "catching the scientific community up" was not meant to be taken seriously and in no way did I say you represented them.. I basically responded to your opinion that animals cannot be compared to humans on matters of health or medical treatment because they are species with different biological processes because I found quite a bit of irony in it, considering animal testing is wide spread and used for multiple scenarios. sorry if I was out of line..
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Oh, not sarcasm but an attempt to show the futility of suggesting that I can somehow control the thoughts and opinions of "scientists" or that I was somehow speaking on behalf of the scientific community. I agree with you animal testing is indeed a controversial issue. A complicated and controversial issue and I guarantee you do not want to know how I would resolve it. This isn't the appropriate place for that proposal.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Oh, not sarcasm but an attempt to show the futility of suggesting that I can somehow control the thoughts and opinions of "scientists" or that I was somehow speaking on behalf of the scientific community.I agree with you animal testing is indeed a controversial issue. A complicated and controversial issue and I guarantee you do not want to know how I would resolve it. This isn't the appropriate place for that proposal.
phatE phatE 8 years
hints of sarcasm in that.. it was just funny to me because animal testing is done so frequently for basically everything. it's actually a really controversial issue.
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