There is an irrefutable case to be made for requiring people to be vaccinated against diseases that threaten public health. Whether a democratic society would ever allow individuals to be held down against their will and have a needle stuck in them is questionable. But social and economic sanctions, like those applied in the United States could be introduced – benefits might be affected, choice of school or employment might be restricted. Society simply should not be prepared to indulge the misinformed fantasies of ignorant people.
Unfortunately, while UK and Scottish Government policies are clearly prepared to push the promotion of healthy lifestyle policies to the limit, the National Health Service – which administers many of these policies – does not always set the best example. The sight of a grossly overweight nurse fills me with disgust. However, for many overweight patients, she may serve as a comfort and a validation of their own bad diet. Workers across the health services should be required to be non-smokers and with an acceptable BMI. If necessary, legislation should be introduced to allow contracts of employment to be so written.
The long-term answer is education. But how long to educate a public eager to follow any scare story it comes across on the internet and unwilling to accept establishment advice based on good science? Fluoridation of the water supply triggered the same kind of hysterical opposition when the only effect it has – verified over decades – is to reduce caries in the mouths of the most deprived of our children.
That example should haves served as a warning that the public cannot distinguish between good science and bad research, cannot evaluate risk. They must sacrifice some of their civil rights for their own good and that of the community. They must also be protected from those companies which want to kill them for profit.
From The Scotsman.