Just another step in the wrong direction this week. Officials in Belgium report that two sets of parents were given prison sentences for not having their children vaccinated against polio–a mandated inoculation in this western European nation. I believe it’s only a matter of time before we see the same punishments meted out in the good ol’ US of A.

According to a recent report, the parents were given five month jail sentences and fined $8,000 each couple for violating a mandatory Belgian law that requires all its citizens to vaccinate their children against polio. Wow! That’s serious. Apparently in Belgium, you’d better do what Big Brother says…or else. And you thought I was just being alarmist in my previous post.

As it stands, some governments feel that it’s a serious public health issue to reject any required vaccination. What’s next? Jail terms for cancer patients who reject chemo? The guillotine for families that pull the plug on a brain-dead loved one. Do we really need government to tell us what to do with our own bodies?

What makes this especially scary is that we still don’t know the full implications of many drugs (can you say Vioxx or Thalidomide, anyone), let alone every vaccine. Take for instance the Centers of Disease Control’s (CDC) latest retraction of its preference for American children to get the quad-combined mumps, measles, rubella (German measles), and varicella (chicken pox*) vaccine after it has learned of an increased risk of seizure in children getting the shot. Oops–we didn’t figure on that one. Let’s release the irresponsible parents we’ve jailed. Just a matter of time, people, I’m tellin’ ya.

But it won’t happen if concerned parents and citizens stay informed (like you guys who read this blog every week!). Keep your eyes and ears open, and demand our right to do with our bodies what we will. Like I always say, there will be plenty of people who opt for the vaccine. Great! They should have it if they want it–that’s the advantage of having modern medicine. But to force it upon people who aren’t sure is a crime against our liberties. Stay tuned–it ain’t over yet.

*Writer’s note: Who the hell hasn’t had the chicken pox? Probably every adult in this country has caught it, and we’re still kickin’ it healthy and strong. Sometimes modern public health policy baffles me.

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