We need an Ebola vaccine! We need an Ebola cure! Shoot the people coming in from Africa because they might have Ebola! Solve the problem by just ignoring the real cases in Africa and hope they die before they hop on a plane and come here.
Meanwhile, a real live airborne virus has raised its ugly head, years after it was declared gone -- measles. And in an outrageous set of ironies, the self-inflicted wounds originated with The Magic Kingdom and fueled by the anti-vaccination crowd.
The hallmarks of a good vaccine are "safe and effective". The MMR vaccine has certainly proved to be effective, eliminating measles as a problem. The safety part was tainted not by real safety issues, but a groundless and now discredited report.
But the anti-science mood in parts of this country means that millions of parents can ride their fears and perpetuate a junk report, over anything real scientists and real data can show.
Yes, there are some people who cannot be given the MMR vaccine -- they need herd protection, being surrounded by people who should shield them. This is defeated when you take science in your own hands.
And also in the news, the first childhood flu fatality in Michigan. Here's where the vaccine business runs into some shoal water -- the flu shots we got in the fall seem to have missed the mark. The vaccine usually uses two strains from the last flu season, plus the best guess. Alas, between the time the vaccine was locked down and actual flu cases, the one strain -- H1N3? -- mutated. So the flu vaccine is only 15% effective, rather than 30%+.
But we're more interested in crying about Ebola. And, alas, the failure of the vaccine this year will encourage any antivaxxers who might have wavered in the face of the measles outbreak.
When I was little I had both measles and German measles. The latter came on a bright and sunny winter day, we stopped at the drugstore in the little town I grew up in after church, and I was complaining about how bright it was. Somehow I ended up with a new pair of sunglasses, and my mother got suspicious because after we left the store I seemed quiet and happy and no longer complaining. At home I had a fever of 102°F or 103°F.
I also got chicken pox. I got my shots. I have a little funny scar on my arm from the smallpox vaccination. I've had colds and flu, but no flu since we started getting flu shots twenty years ago.
You don't want to screw around with some of this shit.
Go look up the number of deaths from the great flu pandemic on the heels of WW I. Which killed millions.
Americans are REALLY unlikely to get Ebola. The flu? Measles? They've hit Michigan. They're real. The flu is unavoidable as you can only make a best guess for the next year. I'll be curious to see if a midyear vaccine -- I'd take it. And the measles outbreak, totally manmade.
But you better believe that that there Obama feller is bringing in Ebola to kill Americans.
Everything, but science.
Posted on Dreamwidth Crossposted on LiveJournal