Posts Tagged ‘Vaccination’

Why is vaccination a political issue?

March 8, 2022

Hat tip to kottke.org.

A long time ago I tried to convince an old friend that nuclear power was safe.  This was long before the Chernobyl and Fukushima controversies.  His answer was that all the people who advocated for nuclear power were the same as people who advocated for U.S. intervention in Vietnam, and that was all he needed to know.

That’s not a terrible way to make up your mind about things.  You can’t research everything, especially if you have a job, family responsibilities and other things you’re concerned with.  So you decide who you trust and follow them.

I personally don’t trust Antony Fauci and his ever-changing advice.  I always waited before getting vaccinated to see the effects on the first wave of people to get vaccinated.  But I think the.facts show that getting vaccinated will drastically reduce the odds of dying or winding up in an intensive care unit as a result of the coronavirus.

Vaccination doesn’t offer perfect protection.  Some vaccinated people die of the virus.  Vaccinated people are infectious.  Vaccinated people can suffer long-term organ damage from the virus—the “long Covid.”  But. the results show that I’m better off being vaccinated than not being vaccinated.

Vaccination isn’t enough.  I still wear a mask when I’m indoors among strangers or a large group; I don’t care if some elected official says masks aren’t needed.  Improved ventilation helps.  We need research on an actual cure rather than just protection against the symptoms of the disease.

Donald Trump advocates vaccination, and his administration’s Warp Speed crash research program is responsible for the vaccines that we have.  But his scoffing at the seriousness of the disease contributed to opposition to vaccination.

But Democrats’ attacks on the unvaccinated don’t help.  If you tell me I’m ignorant, anti-science and to blame for whatever happens to me, I am not going to listen to you.

If you are a vaccine skeptic yourself, I urge you to talk to your physician, if you have one.  Share your doubts with someone who has the expert knowledge to respond to you.  You may have a good personal reason for not being vaccinated.

But maybe you don’t have a personal physician, or you can’t afford to pay for a visit to the doctor.  In that case, I don’t know what to tell you.   We have a rotten medical care system in the USA, no doubt about it.

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Covid vaccinations keep people alive

November 24, 2021

Vaccination for COVID-19 won’t necessarily prevent you from catching the virus.  It won’t necessarily stop you from infecting other people.  It won’t even guarantee you won’t be harmed by the virus.

And of course there are good reasons to be suspicious of the big drug companies

But the facts show that, unless you’re a special case, vaccinations will definitely reduce the odds of you dying from the disease.

LINKS

How do death rates from COVID-19 differ between people who are vaccinated and those who are not? by Eduard Mattieu and Max Roser for Our World in Data.  This is the most complete survey I could find, but I was unable to extract charts from their web site.  Below are some of the charts I did find.

Covid death rates in U.S. counties with high and low vaccination rates

As Covid Cases Rise All Over U.S., Lower Vaccination Rates Point to Worse Outcomes by Lauren Leatherby for the New York Times.

Covid vaccination and death rates in Europe in one devastating chart by Ryan Heath on Twitter.  This decodes the abbreviations for countries.

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A vaccination-only anti-virus strategy

July 22, 2021

It seems as if the Biden administration intends to rely on vaccines alone to fight the COVID-19 virus.

The official advice is that once you get vaccinated, it’s safe to do anything you want, including spending time unmasked in poorly-ventilated indoor spaces.

That’s wrong.  Even if you’re vaccinated, you can be infected and you can infect others.  Masking, ventilation and other safety measures are still needed.

It’s true that availability of vaccines has dramatically reduced the death rate from COVID.  The chart above, showing waves of COVID infection before and after vaccines were available, indicates this.

Vaccination, however, does not confer 100 percent immunity.  The vaccines stimulate the immune system, so that, if you are infected, you are unlikely to experience symptoms of the disease and even less likely to be hospitalized. 

But they often fail to kill the virus.  You can be vaccinated and symptom-free and still be a spreader of the disease.

I’m in favor of vaccination. I got two shots of the Moderna vaccine as soon as I could, one in March and one in April.  I don’t take that as guaranteeing perfect safety.

It’s going to be a while before I eat a restaurant  meal indoors or watch a movie in a theater.  I may never take an airplane trip again.  I intend to wear a mask any time I am indoors with people I don’t know.

That’s not because I like masks.  I get short of breath when I wear one for a long time.  Everybody looks like they’re either terrorists, robbers or assisting in surgery.  But I can put up with this minor annoyance in order to reduce my own risk and the risk I create for others.

I understand that not everybody is willing to live as I do, or in a position to do so.  I am 84 years old, retired, unmarried, an introvert and a recluse. 

I don’t have to venture out into the world to earn my daily bread, and my temperament makes it easier for me than for most people to do without hugs and kisses.

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Vaccination and the pro-life philosophy

February 27, 2015

VaxExemptionsThe basic argument of the anti-abortion movement is that the right to life is more important than the right to choose.

I agree with that argument.  My freedom of choice ends where the threat to your life begins.

My disagreement with the anti-abortion movement is over when human life begins.  I agree with the older Christian philosophy which Dante expressed in the Divine Comedy, that conception creates a vegetable soul, capable of growth, which develops into an animal soul, capable of movement, and only later becomes a human soul, capable of understanding.

Be that as it may, it seems to me that anyone committed to the right to life philosophy would deny that there is a right of parents to withhold vaccination or life-saving medical treatment from children.

The right of the child to live is more important than the right of the parent to choose.  And in this case, there is no question as to what constitutes a human life.

The case for vaccination (if one is needed)

January 2, 2015

vaccinationVaccine Infographic via Mike the Mad Biologist.

The passing scene: Links & comment 8/13/13

August 13, 2013

Saudi prince defects: ‘Brutality, oppression, fear of Arab revolts’ by RT News.  Hat tip to O.

Saudi Prince Khaled bin Farhan al-Saud, who has fled his country and family for Germany, said in an interview with RT Arabic that Saudi Arabia is seething with discontent against an increasingly repressive government, which outlaws political parties and recently sentenced one blogger to 600 lashes and seven years in prison.  He said dissenters gone from asking for freedom of speech and representation in government to advocating regime change.

Baltimore researchers turn some carnivorous fish into vegetarians by Darryl Fears in the Washington Post.  Hat tip to Jack Clontz.

University of Maryland researchers have devised a new fish food, consisting of plant-based protein, fatty acids and an amino acid-like substance found in energy drinks, which they can feed to factory farm fish as a substitute for meal made from fish lower on the food chain.   This may help slow overfishing and lessen contamination from mercury and PCBs.  Even so farm fish still would be more exposed to disease and parasites than caught fish.

New Water Offers an Ocean of Hope on Paris Tech Review.

Fresh water is vital to life and it is being consumed at a faster rate.   According to this article, progress in distillation and reverse osmosis technology offers hope of cheaper desalinization of sea water, and also of recovery of brine used in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.  The United States is a leader in this technology, along with Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Last Person to Get Smallpox Dedicated His Life to Ending Polio by Michaeleen Doucleff of National Public Radio.

Ali Maow Maalin, a Somali hospital cook, was the last person in the world known to have had smallpox.  He regretted that he had refused to be vaccinated because he feared it would hurt, and so he spent the last 10 years as a volunteer polio vaccinator in dangerous areas of Somalia.  Sadly he died recently—of exposure to malaria.

Why did Japan surrender? by Gareth Cook of the Boston Globe

Historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of the University of California at Santa Barbara argues that the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not compel Japan to surrender.  The Japanese would have fought on, he said, except for the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, which ended their hope that the Soviets would broker a peace allowing them to hold onto territory and preserve the imperial system.

Welcome to Russia, Mr. Snowden by Irina Galushka of RT television.  Hat tip to O.

A Russian journalist sketched life in Moscow.  She advised Snowden to read Ilf and Petrov’s comic novels, The Twelve Chairs and The Golden Calf, rather than Dostoyevsky, to avoid traffic jams by riding the Moscow Metro and to get used to everybody having an opinion about everything he does.  And “I’d like to warn you about our summer: We don’t have one.”