Wednesday 31 July 2013

Fools  who  believe  that  inoculations  of  children  is  bad  medicine
An inoculation is the placement of serums, vaccines and antigenic substances that will grow or reproduce, and is most commonly used in respect of the introduction of these substances into the body of a human or animal, fore the purpose to produce or boost immunity to specific diseases.
The Indian historian D.P. Agrawal suggests that the practice originated in India. The concept was attributed to the physician Dhanvantari, founder of the Vedic tradition, in about 1500 BC. The British historian Joseph Needham and the American historian Robert Temple write that the practice of inoculation for smallpox began in China during the 10th century. The practice was introduced to the west by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (May 26, 1689 – August 21, 1762). Lady Montagu's husband, Edward Wortley Montagu, served as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1716 to 1718. She witnessed firsthand the Turkish use of inoculation in Istanbul, and was greatly impressed because she previously had lost a brother to smallpox and bore facial scars from the disease herself. When a smallpox epidemic threatened England in 1721, she called on her physician to inoculate her daughter. She invited friends to see her daughter, including Sir Hans Sloane, the King's physician. Sufficient interest arose that Maitland gained permission to test inoculations at Newgate prison in exchange for their freedom on six prisoners due to be hanged, an experiment which was witnessed by a number of notable doctors.  All survived, and in 1722 the Prince of Wales’ daughters received inoculations. The practice of inoculation slowly spread amongst the royal families of Europe, usually followed by more general adoption amongst the people. The practice is documented in America as early as 1721, when Zabdiel Boylston, at the urging of Cotton Mather, successfully inoculated two slaves and his own son. Over time, billions of people around the world have been inoculated against various diseases. I didn’t have to be inoculated for tuberculosis because I had it as a small child and survived and I was later immune to it but I received all the mandatory shots for small pox, whooping cough and other diseases. As a senior, I also get my annual flu shots.
Anyone who refuses to be inoculated as a means of preventing them from getting the various diseases that are around us is a damned fool and deserves no sympathy from anyone. However, I am deeply concerned that these fools refuse to inoculate their own children.
Imagine coughing so hard and for so long that you turn blue and stop breathing. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can do that to an infant. The disease is caused by the bacterium Bordetella Pertussis and causes unstoppable, sustained, violent coughing accompanied by a whooping sound when you inhale. Pertussis can affect anyone, but it poses the most danger to infants.
pertussis vaccine became available in the 1940s, and incidence of the infection dropped from around 200,000 per year to barely over 1,000 by 1976. But today the United States is in the middle of a pertussis epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 41,000 cases of pertussis were reported in the U.S. in 2012. At least 18 people have died, mostly infants younger than three months of age who were too young to be fully vaccinated. There hasn’t been such a major outbreak since 1959. The states with the most cases per capita are Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont.
The epidemic was due in part to the reduced effectiveness and the shortened duration of immunity conferred by a relatively new vaccine. But the epidemic is also spreading because of a low vaccination rate. When vaccine rates fall below 90%, diseases spread readily enough to endanger people who can’t be vaccinated because of illness or because they are too young. In parts of Vermont, the vaccination rate was only 60%. It is one of 20 states that allow a philosophical as well as religious exemption to vaccines, and it has one of the highest philosophical exemption rates in the country.
George Till, a state House representative and a physician, tried to change the law in 2011 by proposing a bill to eliminate the philosophical exemption to vaccines. He learned that in  a local kindergarten class, 75% of students were not fully vaccinated so he researched the issue and thought it was time to get rid of the philosophical exemption in order to increase vaccination rates. Till proposed a bill in the House, and state Senator Kevin Mullin proposed an almost identical bill in the Senate. The Senate bill passed quickly, but not so in the House. The bill languished in the health-care committee. Then the Legislature was off for a week because the first Tuesday in March is reserved for town meetings in communities across the state.
By the time the Legislature reconvened in the capitol building, the anti-vaccination community had organized itself. They were in the building every day. The activists blared the discredited claims of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British physician that vaccines do more harm than good and that that vaccines cause autism. The quack was stripped of his medical license for fabricating a connection between vaccines and autism.
Till couldn’t even convince his own health-care committee in the House that Vermont’s declining vaccination rates were a public health problem. Kevin Mullin, Till’s co-sponsor of the bill, then proposed a compromise: placing a “trigger” into the vaccine bill so that if vaccination rates fell below 90% in any one school, the philosophical exemption would be eliminated for that school. But they could not get enough support for this provision, and it failed to appear in the final bill. The philosophical exemption stayed in place. When it came down to protecting newborns, the immune-suppressed, and children with special health needs, Till later said, “This caucus threw the most vulnerable under the bus.”
As it turned out,  Act 157, became law on July 1, 2012 during the time when the pertussis epidemic was already raging throughout the state The politicians turned the law into a complicated, compromised vaccine bill that preserved the existing philosophical exemption.
The most egregious act of the protesters was their exploitation of the death of seven-year-old Kaylynne Matten of Barton, Vermont. The anti-vaccine community claimed her death was due to adverse effects of the flu vaccine. However, the coroner listed the cause of death as complications from parainfluenza virus, a different category of virus from influenza.
Act 157 however did mandate that parents refusing to vaccinate their children be required to receive educational material about vaccines and also to sign an exemption form acknowledging that they understood the risks to their children and others posed by their personal decision not to vaccinate.
The Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice engaged an attorney, Mitchell Pearl, to challenge the language of the exemption form as being unconstitutional. Pearl wrote in an open letter to the deputy commissioner of health, saying that the existing form is a violation of the rights of its citizens under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. He threatened litigation if the Department of Health did not modify the exemption form’s language. The Health Department capitulated to the demands and neutralized the language of the form.
The most egregious act on the part of the protesters was their exploitation of the death of seven-year-old. In response, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) then issued a report about the safety of recommended childhood vaccines. The 14-member panel examined numerous studies, solicited feedback from many different groups, and found the current schedule of vaccines for children, which includes as many as 24 vaccines by a child’s second birthday, to be safe and effective. The IOM committee could find no evidence of major safety concerns associated with adherence to the childhood immunization schedule. The IOM acknowledged that some parents’ attitudes toward vaccines have shifted, largely driven by concerns about side effects. Its report, which was the most comprehensive examination of the immunization schedule to date, should help reassure these parents. The IOM was clear: “Vaccines are among the most effective and safe public health interventions to prevent serious disease and death.” What’s more, “delaying or declining vaccination has led to outbreaks of such vaccine-preventable diseases as measles and whooping cough that may jeopardize public health.”
George Till tried again to change the law in Vermont. He believed that the pertussis epidemic was preventable. He said, “We had the chance to be proactive, but we blew it.”
In January 2012,  he introduced new legislation in the House to eliminate in public schools both the philosophical and religious exemptions to the pertussis vaccine and to require adults who work with children to be active with their pertussis vaccination. The CDC is recommending that all adults, including pregnant women, receive a pertussis booster.

Schools and homes are where disease spreads. And in Vermont, there were pockets of unimmunized posing a threat to their communities, especially in the hot spots of anti-vaccination. One such hot spot lies outside the capital, Montpelier. Till said, “These young parents were born in the vaccine era and have not seen devastating diseases.” He also said that those parents were picking and choosing which vaccines they give to their children.  One of the vaccines those parents are most often choosing not to give their children is against polio. Their foolish beliefs are beyond understanding. The Salk vaccine protected millions upon millions of children from the ravages of polio since it was first administered many years ago.
The people opposing vaccination on 'philosophical grounds' are exercising their right to be stupid, and in acting that way, they are inflicting diseases upon their children whom they claim they love. Just as Jehovah Witness' children can, under certain circumstances, be forced to accept blood transfusions, the children of these ignoramuses should be vaccinated.
Obviously, these ignoramuses have the right to be stupid. But they have no right to use their stupidity as justification at putting at risk their children's health and possibly, their lives. It is those politicians who are still advocating exemptions that shouldn’t have been voted in office in the first place. Perhaps someday in the future when they and the parents who blessed their politician’s decisions to vote against inoculations, become seniors and are vulnerable to a deadly flu virus and are dying because they refused to get the anti-flu shots, will finally come to the realization that they really screwed up.

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