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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    Monday, October 07, 2002

    Fresh Air on Smallpox: Terri Gross interviews Richard Preston, author of The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story, a book about smallpox and anthrax. Good interview. He mentions that in his round of interviews with experts, he found the CDC scientists the most non-chalant about smallpox, and the military doctors most anxious about its potential threat. He's also in favor of voluntary mass vaccination, and does an excellent job of explaining the short-comings of the ring vaccination theory.

    UPDATE: DB's MedRants pointed out this article from the New York Times about the American Academy of Pediatrics position on smallpox vaccine. They favor the ring vaccination technique of days of yore when immunity was high. Their reason:

    Potential side effects are too severe, and available vaccines have not been tested on children, who may be at higher risk for bad reactions, the academy said in a policy statement released Monday.

    ``We're talking about a disease that hasn't existed in the world since the 1970s and a vaccine that we know can cause death,'' said Dr. Julia McMillan, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine pediatrics professor and co-author of the policy.

    Smallpox vaccine was used in children for years. It used to be a mandatory childhood vaccine. We know perfectly well how children respond to it. Smallpox does exist in the world, that's the problem. It's sitting in labs here and in the Soviet Union, and God knows where else. (Listen to the above Fresh Air interview to hear the details on why there's a good possibility Iraq might have it.) I've discussed the AAP's position on smallpox vaccination in detail before, but the bottomline is that a lot of their own committee members were the same ones who were on the CDC's Advisory Panel on Immunization Practices, so it's no surprise that they're clinging to the discredited ring vaccination. That's a shame. They're putting the nation's children at risk. Children have no immunity, and they have higher mortality rates. I wouldn't hesitate to have my own children vaccinated if it were offered tomorrow.

    posted by Sydney on 10/07/2002 07:41:00 PM 0 comments


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