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neutrality, Switzerland


Posted on 2013.11.26 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114

Until 1955, polio was considered the most frightening public health problem of the post-war United States. Annual epidemics were increasingly devastating. The 1952 epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, with most of its victims being children. According to a 2009 PBS documentary, "Apart from the atomic bomb, America's greatest fear was polio." As a result, scientists were in a frantic race to find a way to prevent or cure the disease. U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt was the world's most recognized victim of the disease and founded the organization, the March of Dimes Foundation, that would fund the development of a vaccine.

I have read many vaccine debate articles on the specifics of how otherwise intelligent people remain rooted in ignorant hysteria (those high-brow articles are usually tempered by other articles explaining just how stupid most people really are in their inability to employ logic over emotion in decision-making) and I am not going to argue with them. Their arguments run the entire spectrum of logical fallacies and they are so hell-bent in being right, they will spite their nose to save face. In Game Theory that's understood to be a loss. You lose, you lose. You win? You lose. Outstanding.

I would like to say however, I've Got Whooping Cough. Thanks a Lot, Jenny McCarthy was brilliantly written. Just the right amount of incredulity. Better still, perhaps, the 1000+ comment "debate" which unfolded over about a 12-hour period. We, as a species, believe a lot of complete nonsense. Probably because its easier than comprehending science, or challenging our flawless worldview. Learning stuff is hard; believing something dumb is easy. The comments alone are a fascinating sampling of knowledge being power. Or, like whatever the exact opposite of that would be.


michelle1963 at 2013-11-28 14:59 (UTC) (Link)
That photo tells the story of the true horror that was polio. People my mom's age - she is 68 - are old enough to remember the fear of polio (and other vaccine-preventable diseases), but for subsequent generations who have never seen it, it is all just academic.

The anti-vaccine crowd are under the mistaken idea that when they choose not to vaccinate, their decision affects only their own family. They are wrong. What about infants too young to be vaccinated? These newborns are protected from these illnesses when everyone around them is vaccinated and unable to pass the disease to this most vulnerable group. Infants are the most likely to die when exposed.

So if anyone wants to do the hard work of educating themselves about the facts of the vaccine debate, I recommend this very thorough PBS documentary, the Vaccine Wars: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/vaccines/
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