Think Vaccine Deniers Pose a Public Health Risk? What About Antibiotics?

The use, overuse, and abuse of antibiotics potentially poses a greater public health risk than the declining implementation of vaccines:

Antibiotics misuse can be costly and deadly. Last year, the CDC reported 23,000 annual deaths and 2 million sicknesses stemming from improper antibiotic use. After bacteria builds up a resistance to prescribed antibiotics, health care workers have to use expensive alternative medication. Additional tests, prolonged treatments and hospitalization, and lost income can also cause health care costs to spiral out of control.

Americans have also been exposed to high levels of antibiotics by way of the produce they consume. Food manufacturers use more than 30 million pounds of antibiotics annually to induce livestock growth and reduce the risk of infection for animals living in unsanitary conditions. The Food and Drug Administration has relied on voluntary guidelines instead of hard rules that hold manufacturers accountable. As a result, common bacteria like E.coli and salmonella have become stronger and more resistant to antibiotics currently on the market.

Compare the numbers: 23,000 annual deaths and 2 million sicknesses for the misuse of antibiotics. And what are the statistics on vaccine-preventable diseases? In 2011, there were under 35,000 total cases of vaccine-preventable diseases, and some of those were for people who had an ineffective vaccine. According to the CDC, death totals are not available for 2011, but the last available year (2007) had a total of 784 deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases. And 719 of those were from Hepatitis B.

So the abuse of antibiotics poses a public health risk that is nearly thirty times more deadly than vaccine-preventable diseases. And this is not comparing apples to oranges. Herd immunity is one of the major reasons vaccine proponents want legislation to force everyone to get vaccines. They argue that your choice to not vaccinate doesn’t just affect you. It affects other people. But the misuse of antibiotics is similar. Misusing antibiotics creates stronger strains of bacteria, which can more easily kill people, especially people with suppressed immune systems (the same people herd immunity is meant to protect).

So, in the grand scheme, all the people who are currently on the vaccine bandwagon need to get on the anti-antibiotics bandwagon immediately. It’s actually a much more important public health issue.

But it’s not likely they will. Why? Because this isn’t about public health. It never has been. It’s about money. It is ultimately in the best interest of drug manufacturers to keep pumping antibiotics into everything and everyone. It’s also in their best interest to sell as many vaccines as possible. So it’s likely not much will change, unfortunately. The sheeple will keep eating their antibiotics. And they will keep getting their vaccines. And the only people who will be much better off work for Big Pharma.

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