Despite the continuous storm of ignorant criticisms, the vaccination principle does work. I got cholera when I went to Sri Lanka to help after the 2006 Indian Ocean tsunami. Protection only lasts 6 months but I wish I had taken a shot before I went (remember the heavy arm from that?) Pasadena was in uproar when I got back and went to hospital; they hadn’t seen a case in nearly a hundred years!
Smallpox is virtually wiped from the Earth. That’s due to vaccination, not better hygiene and better nutrition, as is conveniently claimed. There is no better hygiene or nutrition in Somalia!
Polio is 99% down from when I was a kid. Ignorant critics of vaccination (and they are usually ignorant and not medically trained) need to wise up to the stupid “anti-vaccination” attitude. It’s only the same as the homeopathic principle: a small dose of something bad can prepare the body, so it’s rapidly on the case when a real encounter comes along.
Of course some vaccines don’t work and some are toxic, due the chemical crap they put into them. But that’s a far cry from saying vaccines are bad and no-one should ever get a shot against anything. And does not justify forced vaccination in any civilized country.
Like I said, polio is all but wiped out. When I was a kid several fellows at my school had been paralyzed and were struggling around with calipers on their ankles. You just don’t see that any more. However, there is a catch to this story…
Remember me saying, over and over, “Nature will find a way”? I usually cite the movie Jurassic Park: the way the dinosaurs struggled free of the limitation of lysine deficiency, which was supposed to stop them multiplying naturally. Resistant bacteria is just another example of how life adapts.
Now this same ingenuity is rearing its head with the polio vaccine. After sixty years of successful worldwide vaccination for polio, there is almost none left “in the wild”. Now the strain we encounter is the milder “vaccination version” and it is present in a small percentage of carriers. There is also a slight risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP). Consequently, the use of routine oral (live) vaccination for polio is not now practiced. An inactivate form is used instead. As a result, we are harboring a population of kids who may be susceptible to the living virus and it could start causing polio once again.
It’s a real concern and is complicated by the fact that there are three strains of polio virus, 1, 2 and 3. Most of the “take” with the vaccine is the type 2 but, unfortunately, this is the one likely to start causing disease again. To counter this, the head of polio eradication as the WHO is asking for approval to vaccinate with only 1 and 3. This will stop pouring type 2 into the environment.
But it will mean we are vulnerable to a resurgence of type 2, if that should happen.
It just goes to show, we can NEVER relax our guard. Nature is much cleverer than us!