Monday 18 March 2019


We all make stupid decisions during our lives but I never ceased to believe that millions of people in this world are REALLY stupid. As an example, consider the stupid people who believe that anti-vaccines will harm them and their children.

When I was a small child in the 1930s, like millions of other small children around the world who just like me, we were given a vaccine to fight smallpox. Hence, that disease has been permanently eradicated. If our parents were too stupid to recognize how important it was to be given that anti-vaccine, millions of us would have died horribly and in all likelihood, you may not have been born since your parents would probably have died from smallpox also.  We should be grateful to our parents for their decisions to have us vaccinated against smallpox.

There is no doubt in my mind that most people realize that being vaccinated means putting a disease into our body as a result of the vaccination.  They also know that the reason for this is that our immune system will recognize the disease and as such, it will be prepared to fight the disease if it shows up in our body again.

Here is a good example of this kind of reaction. During World War Two, the German army planted English speaking German soldiers dressed as American Soldiers to bring havoc to the Americans in the battlefield. When one of them was caught removing a direction sign to confuse the American soldiers, the Americas realized that they were being infiltrated by German agents. The American GIs  got wise to the scheme and would ask a suspected agent questions about baseball heros or about recent popular songs the American GIs new about or heard. When the German agents didn’t know those answers, they were discovered to be German agents and not American GIs.  All the agents were found and executed as spies. Subsequently, the German higharchy stopped sending any more German agents dressed in American uniforms into the battlefield. Think of the questions given to the German agents as a vaccine. It resulted in eradicating the sending of German agents wearing American Uniforms into the battle zone permanently.

Health and medical scholars have described vaccination as one of the top ten achievements of public health in the 20th century. Yet, opposition to vaccination has existed as long as vaccination itself The pre-vaccination practice of variolation (The procedure was most commonly carried out by inserting/rubbing powdered smallpox scabs or fluid from pustules into superficial scratches made in the skin of the person who is being immunized) which came under criticism as well.  Incidentally, back in the 1930s that is how we were immunized against smallpox.  That method of immunations was gradually phased out.

Critics of vaccination have taken a variety of positions, including opposition to the smallpox vaccine in England and the United States in the mid to late 1800s, and the resulting anti-vaccination leagues; as well as more recent vaccination controversies such as those surrounding the safety and efficacy of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) (measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, and the use of a mercury-containing preservative called thimerosal (vaccine preservative) which was eventually phased out.

Widespread smallpox vaccination began in the early 1800s, following Edward Jenner’s cowpox experiments, in which he showed that he could protect a child from smallpox if he infected him or her with lymph from a cowpox blister. Jenner’s ideas were novel for his time, however, and they were met with immediate public criticism. The rationale for this criticism varied, and included sanitary, religious, scientific, and political objections

For some parents, the smallpox vaccination itself induced fear and protest. It included scoring the flesh on a child’s arm, and inserting lymph from the blister of a person who had been vaccinated about a week earlier. Some objectors, including the local clergy who believed that the vaccine was “unchristian” because it came from an animal. That suggestion is as stupid as saying that people shouldn’t eat meat because it comes from an animal.  Well stupid religious twits often make inane statements.  For other anti-vaccinators, their discontent with the smallpox vaccine reflected their general distrust in medicine and in Jenner’s ideas about disease spread. Suspicious of the vaccine’s efficacy, some skeptics alleged that smallpox resulted from decaying matter in the atmosphere.  Lastly, many people objected to vaccination because they believed it violated their personal liberty, a tension that worsened as the government developed mandatory vaccine policies .

I remember seeing small placards nailed to the front doors of homes in the 1940s. The writing on the placards stated that there was someone in the house who had an infectious disease.    

Typhoid Mary was a woman who was suffering from typhoid in New York City. Strangely, she never died from it. She kept working in  the kitchens as a cook of different cafes so the people eating in those cafes would catch her typhoid and die. She was eventually incarcerated and remained incarcerated until her death years later.     

Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease.  it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations  is improved.

Despite the above statement, the anti-vaccination movement has  made the list of the World Health Organization's top threats to global health in 2019. The organization said some people's reluctance or refusal to vaccinate threatens to reverse progress made against a host of preventable diseases still in existence.  

The anti-vaccination movement made the list of the World Health Organization's top threats to global health in 2019. The organization said some people's reluctance or refusal to vaccinate threatens to reverse progress made against a host of preventable diseases.

In the United States alone, approximately 100,000 young children have not been vaccinated against any of the 14 potentially serious diseases for which vaccines are recommended, according to a report released last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most American children are routinely vaccinated, the number who have received no vaccines by the age of 2 is slowly creeping up. .

WHO also warns of the dangers of influenza  that is a century after the 1918 flu pandemic that killed millions of people around the globe. "The world will face another influenza pandemic but the only thing we don't know is when it will hit and how severe it will be.  The WHO report he report states that the authors of that report stress the importance of getting a flu shot each year for the best protection against the virus. My wife and I always get our flu shot every year. We get common colds once in a while but never the flu.

The effects of what WHO called "vaccine hesitancy" are already significant. For example, cases of measles have surged 30 percent worldwide in recent years, despite an effective vaccine that can prevent it. WHO noted that some countries that were close to eliminating the disease have now seen a resurgence of that disease.

Measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus. Measles can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine. Also called rubeola, measles can be serious and even fatal for small children. While death rates have been falling worldwide as more children receive the measles vaccine, the disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year, most of the victims under the age of five.

Signs and symptoms of measles typically include:
·        Fever
·        Dry cough
·        Runny nose
·        Sore throat
·        Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
·        Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek — also called Koplik's spots
·        A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another and are painful.

The infection occurs in sequential stages over a period of two to three weeks.        

·        Infection and incubation. For the first 10 to 14 days after you're infected, the measles virus incubates. You have no signs or symptoms of measles during this time.
·        Nonspecific signs and symptoms. Measles typically begins with a mild to moderate fever, often accompanied by a persistent cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis) and sore throat. This relatively mild illness may last two or three days.
·        Acute illness and rash. The rash consists of small red spots, some of which are slightly raised. Spots and bumps in tight clusters give the skin a splotchy red appearance. The face breaks out first.
Over the next few days, the rash spreads down the arms and trunk, then over the thighs, lower legs and feet. At the same time, the fever rises sharply, often as high as 104 to 105.8 F (40 to 41 C). The measles rash gradually recedes, fading first from the face and last from the thighs and feet.
·        Communicable period. A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days.
Any parent that refuses to have his or her child vaccinated to protect that child from an attack of the Measles virus, should have that child removed from the custody of the parents.

That may seem mean but is it meaner that permitting their child to suffer from measles and even die from that disease? I think not. 

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