caviarmpits replied to your post: Score one point for public health.

I’m honestly really into homeopathy and natural medicine and grow my own medicinal herbs BUT safe sex is extremely important to me, as is not getting cervical cancer.

Personally, I don’t consider homeopathy valid, because diluting something to the point that it’s no longer detectably present is not a way to produce medicine in my book.  However, I do think that some herbal supplements and various forms of natural medicine (chiropractor and acupuncture for instance) can be very helpful.  I have a lot of back problems and massage does a lot more for them than pain killers or muscle relaxants.  And acupuncture has been shown to be much more effective for relief of sinus pain and congestion than any form of surgery—there are lots of studies on it.

But that’s the thing: I support evidence-based medicine, whatever the medicine might be.  I want to see studies that show a particular effect—positive or negative; there are definitely lots of common Western medical interventions that I think are unnecessary or harmful, like induction of pregnant people or the over-prescription of antibiotics.  There are some things where evidence is hard to come by—herbal medicines can’t be patented, so without a cash incentive, few studies are conducted.  In that situation, “it worked for me/my friend/my mom” is often a reasonable basis by which to try a particular remedy.

Anti-vaccination panic, however, is almost entirely based on a single, fraudulent study and the culture that grew up around it.  All the reputable research on the subject, of which there is a great deal, shows that vaccination is much safer than the alternative.

And as I posted yesterday, when people eschew vaccination, they aren’t putting just themselves, or even primarily themselves, at risk.  They’re putting EVERYONE ELSE at risk, by providing another disease vector.  The refusal to vaccinate has almost certainly led to the deaths of people who DID vaccinate, because their immunity wore off or they weren’t yet fully immune, as infants can’t be to whooping cough until 18 months.  Refusal to vaccinate against HPV puts all of a person’s sexual partners at risk, but probably not for death, at least.

Deciding not to vaccinate against any one particular thing is also a very different matter from saying that you don’t think vaccination is ever a good idea.  Saying that you “don’t trust vaccination” just says to me that you would like some polio now.  Nobody would have this attitude if they weren’t already benefiting from herd immunity.