Tag: vaccination

COVID: 100% Vaccination Is NOT the Goal

 

Or at least shouldn’t be.

Reducing the spread and/or seriousness of the disease is the goal. Vaccines appear to be a tool that helps toward that goal. Yet the rhetoric about Covid vaccine mandates now treats vaccination itself as the goal. So confusing the goal and a tool intended to help achieve that goal keeps people and organizations from seeing other tools that might be useful to achieve the real goal, and causes people and organizations to pursue the tool regardless of whether it continues to contribute toward the goal.

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with author, surgeon, and public health expert Dr. Marty Makary about the COVID-19 Delta Variant, the durability of natural and vaccinated immunity, the benefits of booster shots, and the health risks for children as we move into the fall.

Guest:

Member Post

 

Initial statement of my relevant biases: I instinctively react negatively when authorities tell me what to do. I find masks extremely uncomfortable and highly disruptive to my ability to communicate with other people. I believe widespread use of masks and other physical barriers between people and mandatory physical distancing between people have caused enormous damage […]

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I Vaccinate My Kids and I Swear I’m Not Selling Anything. Can We Be Friends?

 

I’m starting this one off with a “Birdbox” reference, because that sure is still relevant! Everyone on the planet watched it at precisely the same time on December 21, 2018, so I’m not worried about spoiling anything for the good people of Ricochet.

Just in case you happened to be wrapping Christmas presents or watching Fox News instead of checking out the new Sandra Bullock movie on Netflix, if you’ve seen M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening” or John Krasinski’s “The Quiet Place,” you’ve basically seen “Birdbox.” On the surface, it’s a post-apocalyptic horror movie about a woman who is blindly searching for a safe haven in a world where most of humanity has been compelled to commit mass suicide by a “creature” that’s a death sentence to lay eyes on. But Sandra Bullock has spoken about what the film means to her in interviews, explaining that it’s very much about parenthood. The themes are solid enough; the furious and swift rapids she frantically navigates, the shreds of safety and reliable rules she grasps at, the moments where blind faith is the only terrifying option and she is forced to trust an indifferent force of nature to deliver her family. Almost everything in “Birdbox” can be blatantly or metaphorically guided back to the central theme of parenthood.

Nearing a Sunset on Monsters

 

shutterstock_200494427Some months back, I wrote about how the Guinea worm — a vile and disgusting parasite that used to infect millions in Sub-Saharan Africa — is now on the brink of extinction. There is more good news on the war against two similar parasites. First, and amazingly when you consider just how recently we were powerless against it, polio appears to also be on the verge of eradication. Second, and though we’ve a very long way to go yet, we’re making significant headway against malaria. It’s entirely possible that both of these scourges could follow smallpox into the history books within our lifetimes; with polio, perhaps within the next decade or so.

It’s difficult to overstate how significant the progress has been, especially in Africa, or how heavy the human cost these diseases have wrought. As recently as the year 2000, malaria killed about 850,000 annually; it’s about half that number now. Polio infected about 350,000 in 1988; it was down to a few hundred cases earlier this decade and it’s in the low dozens now, restricted to three countries (Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan). When you consider the human costs endured by so many people for so long, it’s little wonder why some places have struggled to develop.

Getting over the finish lines with these diseases will be an extraordinarily difficult, expensive, and unspectacular affair. For polio — for which the vectors are relatively easy to control — this likely means keeping up what we’ve been doing, albeit under awful circumstances with regard to Pakistan and Afghanistan (bear in mind that polio vaccination programs there were, quite literally, subject to a CIA-sponsored conspiracy). For malaria, it’ll take an ever-changing combination of strategies, including vaccination (a weak one has already been approved and stronger ones appear to be in the pipeline), new products, better deployment of existing ones, mucking around with mosquito genomes, and lots of monitoring. So, so much monitoring.

Attention, Science! Fans: People are Complicated

 

Over the past few election cycles, it’s become standard practice to ask the Republican candidates whether or not they “believe” in evolution, and to use their answers as a test to determine the candidates’ piety, critical thinking skills, and cultural values. I find the evidence for common descent and change over time to be incredibly compelling, so I think the question is useful, but its heuristic value as a shorthand for whether one “accepts science” is wildly overrated. People are complicated, and it’s generally foolhardy to evaluate someone’s thinking on a single metric.

As a case in point, consider the exchange last night over vaccines. Over the last decade — and again in the debate — Trump has repeatedly claimed that vaccines are the source of the “autism epidemic.” This is demonstrably false. The rise in autism diagnoses is overwhelmingly the result of broadening its definition and greater public concern and awareness. Moreover, the study that initially started the scare has been retracted by its publisher, and the ingredient (thimerosal) most commonly alleged to be the culprit hasn’t been in the standard childhood vaccination schedule* since around 2002. Diagnoses have continued to rise, regardless.

Member Post

 

I second Mustangman’s recommendation: “I am pro-vaccine and you should be as well. Vaccines save lives and they prevent suffering. They prevent your child from suffering, they prevent your family from suffering, and they prevent you from suffering.” I get my shots, and you should, too, barring a few, rare contraindications. But, “I’m fine with […]

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Member Post

 

The headline in The Wall Street Journal this morning read, “Ebola Vaccine Push Ramps Up”. My initial surge of relief and optimism made me wonder whether news of vaccines for smallpox, measles, polio, etc. gave people a similar feeling. It also made me hope for the day when the disease has been so tamed that […]

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