Wanted: Leadership

In the wake of Chris Christie and Rand Paul pandering to the anti-vaccine crowd using bankrupt personal liberty rhetoric (coherent libertarian ideology requires one to admit that externalities* exist), Sarah Despres, former Congressional staffer, connects Congress’ abdication of leadership on the vital health initiative of vaccinations for political expediency to the current revival of measles as something parents have to fear:

Few legislators were prepared to stand up for science…As for the others, the antivaccine evidence presented might have been shaky, but the science is complicated. And most members of Congress — on the committee and off — did not feel comfortable opposing the advocates and parents armed with heartbreaking stories of children whose autism seemed to come on just after they received their routine immunizations.
Sarah Despres in Politico Magazine

*The economic version of the basic concept parents not named Ron Paul teach their children that their actions affect other people and that you are responsible for the effects of those actions.

Polio in Pakistan – Collateral Damage of the War on Terror

Thanks to the CIA using fake vaccination programs (something they claimed to have stopped doing earlier this year) in the terrifying “War on Terror” the Taliban banned polio immunizations since 2012. It should come as no surprise that the Taliban is perfectly happy to violently enforce this ban. Not only are polio cases increasing in Pakistan, but more 60 healthcare workers have been killed trying to administer life saving polio inoculations.

They are among the more than 60 polio workers who have been killedsince the Pakistani Taliban banned polio immunization in 2012…The edict by the Islamic militants to ban immunization was in response to the CIA’s setting up a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign in Pakistan. The covert operation was part of an attempt by the U.S. spy agency to verify whether Osama bin Laden was holed up in the city of Abbottabad. – Jason Beaubien, NPR

*Hat tip to Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing.

Buffy the Pertussis Slayer

Sarah Michelle Gellar (aka, Buffy the Vampire Slayer1) is the celebrity ambassador for the Sounds of Pertussis vaccination campaign from the March of Dimes and Sanofi Pasteur. She recently published an editorial at CNN encouraging adults to get their pertussis vaccination in order to protect infants from this potentially fatal disease (aka, whooping cough).

Although we typically associate celebrity medical endorsements with disproven woonackery or dangerous foolishness, that is a bit unfair. We’ve always been able to recruit celebrity spokespeople for important public advocacy campaigns. In 20122, Amanda Peet made a splash for her advocacy in favor of vaccinations as a counter to Jenny McCarthy.

The Sounds of Pertussis campaign has clearly been learning from the successes (vaccination rates are down, infectious disease outbreaks are up) of the enemies of sound medical science, good public health, and social ethics. Continue reading “Buffy the Pertussis Slayer”