Showing posts with label vaccines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vaccines. Show all posts

Thursday, March 12, 2020

A World Without Vaccines

Okay all you anti vaxxers out there. This is what the world looks like if man had never invented vaccines. Not pretty is it? You refused to immunize your children against deadly plagues like measles and polio. You go on internet tirades and troll anybody who expresses the necessity of giving children their vaccinations. You cheer on quacks and celebrities who preach their uninformed opinions about the potential complications of vaccines.

Now the world is faced with a pandemic from the coronavirus. How many of you still think the whole vaccine business is a profit making scheme cooked up by the pharmaceutical industry with the tacit approval of a government influenced by highly paid lobbyists? If we had a Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow, would you rush to get it for yourself and your family? Or would you stand by your principles and refuse to accept it, hoping for herd immunity to keep your loved ones from getting sick?

It's tough to stand by your medical convictions when it seems the whole world around you is one step from calamitous chaos and civilization is hanging by a very fragile thread. But for you anti vaxxers out there, rebelling against the miracle of modern medicine should be par for the course, right? We'll let you stay in the back of the line when the coronavirus vaccine is invented so that you won't betray your core beliefs.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Today I'm Ashamed To Be A Republican

I normally consider myself a conservative Republican. My political sensibilities were informed during my formative years by the administration of great Californian, President Ronald Reagan. So it was with some dismay when I read about the political debate in the California Senate over a vaccine bill.

Because of the measles outbreak that occurred last winter at Disneyland, California is attempting to pass a bill that would eliminate personal and religious exemptions to children getting the MMR vaccine. The only excuse for not getting vaccinated would be if a physician states that the child is immunocompromised and can not tolerate the vaccine.

Thank goodness some sanity is returning to the vaccine debate. As you can imagine, hundreds of parents have been demonstrating in the state capitol over this proposal with their usual lame uninformed excuses of autism, personal choice, etc. So it was with sad disbelief when I saw the Republican members of the Senate side with these parents. Senate Republican leader Robert Huff says, "I don't believe the [measles] crisis we have seen rises to the level to give up the personal freedoms we enjoy in a free country." SB 277 passed through the Senate Committee by a vote of 25 to 10 with most Republicans voting no.

It saddens me as a conservative to see these Republican pander to the antivax crowd. They claim the bill will intrude on a parent's right to choose how to raise a child. Well, you know what a country where anybody can do as he pleases is called? It's called anarchy. A civilized country has to set limits on some personal freedoms in order to function. What if somebody decides they don't want to stop at a red light because it would interfere with how he wants to drive? Is it intruding on his personal driving habits even if it means a safer driving environment for everybody else on the road? Suppose I want to carry a gun on an airplane because I don't trust the government to keep me and my family safe? It's clear that if people feel they want to do something regardless of public safety in the name of personal choice, the country would quickly descend into chaos.

Besides, who do these California Republican Senators think they are trying to curry favors with? They must know that most of these anti vaccine parents are part of the limousine liberal establishment that are prevalent in LA's Westside and the San Francisco Bay area. These abortion loving, gun controlling, climate change evangelists will never side with Republican candidates no matter how many times they vote to allow parents to withhold vaccinations. If California Republican elected officials truly believe that personal choice takes precedence over the welfare of the general public, then maybe I need to renounce my GOP affiliation, as have the vast majority of the state's residents, and look elsewhere for intelligent political representation.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NIMBY And The Measles Epidemic

Huntington Beach High School in Orange County is doing the right thing. A student with measles was on the campus last week. Consequently the school has told all students who have not been given the measles vaccine to stay home until the end of the month. That is when presumably measles will present itself by then in these unprotected kids. Bravo.

Finally we are seeing some sanity in dealing with these parents who withhold essential vaccines from their children. What started out with an infected international traveler visiting Disneyland last month has now spread to four states and Mexico. This is the worst outbreak of measles in the United States since it was thought to have been eradicated in this country back in the year 2000. Most of these measles victims were not vaccinated by their selfish guardians.

Why selfish? Because not only are they irrationally paranoid about the link between vaccines and a host of other problems like mercury poisoning and autism, all of which have been debunked, they are counting on other people to vaccinate their kids so that they don't have to do the same for their own. The ugly mentality of Not In My Backyard is one of the main excuses these parents fall back on to justify their actions. You know how environmentalists love solar power and windmills to generate renewable energy until it is located near their own homes? The vaccine deniers think vaccines are great, but for other people's children. They are counting on the kindness of strangers to continue herd immunity and prevent the spread of any outbreak of communicable diseases.

Unfortunately so many parents in California, particularly in the affluent and so called educated neighborhoods, that this herd immunity has broken down. We've now seen measles and whooping cough epidemics where there should never have been one in the first place if all the children were properly immunized. Instead of pampering these parents, the state education board must enforce its own rules for childhood vaccinations. There should be no leeway with religious or personal exemptions to vaccinating school age children. If parents feel that strongly about not giving their kids the proper, and medically tested, vaccines, then they can just home school their own children. This madness has to stop before one child becomes permanently disabled, or even dies, from a totally preventable disease because of the ignorance of his parents.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Does The Flu Vaccine Work? Depends.

Public health departments have been preaching the virtues of getting the flu vaccine for years. Many workplaces, including medical offices and hospitals have been mandating that their employees receive the flu shot or risk getting terminated. This despite evidence that the vaccine's effectiveness may be little more than the flip of a coin.

Now comes another study that details how ineffective this particular year's flu vaccine really are. The Centers for Disease Control has calculated the vaccine effectiveness (VE) of the vaccine. In most years, the VE ranges from 10% to 60%. This year they have reported it is only 23%. That means that getting it will lead the receiver to have a 23% less likelihood of needing to visit a doctor for the flu compared to the unvaccinated person. Sounds pretty good, right?

But take a closer look at the numbers. The VE is highest in children ages six months to 17 years with 26%. For adults ages 18 to 49, the VE is 12%. Adults greater than 50 have VE of 14%. But here's the kicker. The VE in adults was considered to be too small to be statistically significant. In other words, the vaccine's ability to prevent a person from going to see a doctor for the flu was no greater than somebody who never got the shot.

Once again, why are we forcing medical workers to get a shot with dubious medical efficacy with loss of employment? I'm not against vaccinations for the population that has been demonstrated to be helped by it. I am on my tirade because of losing my loss of self determination. My body. My choice.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Measles Outbreak In Disneyland. Ignorance Has Consequences.

Well that didn't take long. Just the other day I wrote about how flu vaccines were being forced on everybody even though this year's batch has been found to be ineffective in greater than half the flu viruses circulating this season. Yet parents, mainly in the supposedly well educated and affluent communities, are allowed to withhold vaccinations for the usual childhood diseases like measles and whooping cough for religious or personal reasons.

Now there has been a reported mini epidemic of measles right here in our beloved Disneyland. Twelve people were found to have, or suspected of having, measles after they visited the theme park between Dec. 15th to the 20th. So far the California Department of Public Health has confirmed that six of the patients were unvaccinated, with two that were too young to get the shots. Only one person was vaccinated for measles.

Thanks to all the ignorant parents out there who refuse to vaccinate their children because of some idiotic paranoia linking vaccines to autism, more epidemics of childhood diseases are likely to occur. These people so easily forget that correlation does not imply causation. Though I don't wish anybody to get sick, I hope these fools will get first hand experience on how devastating it can be to get sick from a disease that is so easily preventable.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Flu Vaccine Hegemony

The flu vaccine industry hegemony rolls on. In New York City, preschool children are now required to receive the flu vaccine before they are allowed to attend classes. The schools can either exclude the unvaccinated kids from their premises or pay a fine of $200 to $2,000. This follows on the heels of forced vaccinations of healthcare workers like doctors and nurses. In some places, including my hospital, the staff can be fired for refusing to get a flu shot.

Ironically, this year's flu vaccine may be protecting against the wrong strain of viruses. Vaccines are formulated months in advance in anticipation of the most likely type of viruses that may affect a particular season. Therefore it is total guesswork on the part of scientists as to which strains the shots should protect against. This year's guess was particularly bad. The vaccines that are being used in the U.S. have been found to be protective against only 48% of the H3N2 virsuses that are in wide circulation. Therefore it is a coin toss as to whether the flu shot will work at all. Yet the recipient of the vaccine still has to risk all the potentially deadly complications of the injection.

While the government seems to be terrified of the flu virus, it seems to hedge when it comes to the usual vaccinations of childhood diseases like whooping cough and mumps. Though supposedly required before children can attend classes, parents can, and are, raising personal and religious exemptions to giving their kids these shots. This has caused new epidemics of whooping cough and measles to appear in California after decades of quiescence. Sadly the resistance to vaccinations is coming mainly from the rich and so called well educated sectors of society. These parents have googled flu vaccines too many times and become terrified by discredited horror stories of associations with autism, some perpetrated by physicians who should know better.

So let's get this straight. People can get kicked out of school or their jobs because they refuse to receive a vaccine that has a less than fifty percent likelihood of being effective. Yet the government is allowing parents to forgo vaccinations that have, over the last several decades, been proven to be effective and causing a resurgence in epidemics that were thought to be nearly eradicated. Who have the flu vaccine industry been in bed with to receive such priority?