Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Please keep your babies safe - with vaccines

Below is an excerpt from the heroic Sandy Szwarc (I can even spell her surname without looking it up now!). I second every word of her appeal. It is so tragic that people have been misled by attention-seeking scaremongers into abandoning the greatest ally for good health that we have

For those of us healthcare professionals who were practicing as recently as the 1970s and early 1980s, the latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) went right through our hearts. The CDC just reported that a 7-month old infant died, and another four became seriously ill from Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) last year in Minnesota (which tracks illnesses more closely than many states).

The baby had not received any of his Hib immunizations, nor had two of the other children. The remaining two had only received two of their primary Hib series and none had had their 1-year booster shot. The CDC report, which was published in the January 23 issue of MMMR-Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also found that fewer than half of the 7-month olds (46.5%) in the state had received their Hib series, a significant drop. That means we could be losing the herd immunity protection - that comes when high numbers are immunized to help protect others whose immune systems make them more vulnerable to getting sick, even when vaccinated, or protect babies too young to have yet received the full immunization series. And, in fact, one of the afflicted children was especially defenseless: a 3-year old who had an immunodeficiency.

With considerable relief, we thought Hib had been pretty much eradicated here, thanks to the Hib vaccine that became available in 1987, and most children were routinely getting the vaccine by the early 1990s. Before then, about one in every 200 babies and children under age five came down with invasive Hib infections and it seemed like we cared for a child terribly sick with meningitis or pneumonia nearly every week.

By around 1994, Hib had become so rare - the CDC has found fewer than ten Hib-related deaths a year since then - that we didn't have to worry about it much anymore. Neither did parents. And that's a very good thing because, as Dr. Lance Chilton, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico and co-chair of the Clinical Prevention Initiative Immunization group, explained, back in the 70s, about one in every 20 of those sick children died, and one in five was left with severe disability. We don't want to go back to those days.

Today, most younger doctors and nurses have never even seen a case of Hib and few parents have watched babies get sick or die from Hib. So, Hib might not seem a big deal. We can only hope that we can reach young parents and help them understand why it is a big deal and why it is important to get their babies vaccinated

It might have been tempting to disregard these cases in Minnesota as possibly as statistical fluke - except for another troubling finding in the CDC report. The children who hadn't been vaccinated weren't because of a vaccine shortage, but because the parents or guardians had refused to have their children vaccinated.....


European Fascism snaps into action again

I personally loathe smoking but I am also aware that the harm done by "secondhand" smoking is a myth. Like "obesity", it is just another example of medicalizing a social problem. The EU is doing its best to prevent the myth being punctured

The 1st international conference against prohibition which was scheduled for the 27/28th January in the EU parliament, Brussels, was blocked on the 15th January following a letter to the EU president from the anti smoking organisation, The Smokefree Partnership.

The conference had gathered a great deal of interest and support due to the fact that eminent scientists from around the world, including some from within tobacco control, were attending to give speeches regarding the passive smoke fraud.

Fortunately the organisers of the event, TICAP, anticipated underhand tactics by the anti smoking industry to prevent the conference from happening, and a contingency within a separate venue right opposite the EU parliament has now been put into place. All scientists and other participants along with live satellite links for those unable to attend in person are available in the alternate building.

In the letter that resulted in the EU venue being withdrawn Florence Berteletti Kemp, Director of the Smoke Free Partnership, falsely claims a commercial interest for financial sponsors of the conference offering no factual evidence to back up her allegation. She also states that - the event goes "against all of Parliament's adopted reports and the European Community's legislation and commitments on this topic", and that "it violates the spirit of the International Framework Convention on Tobacco Control."

This is clearly a demand to prevent the freedom of speech of some of the most highly recognised scientists in the field; a demand that was upheld by the EU Bureau and hidden from the parliamentary sponsor of the conference, Godfrey Bloom MEP.

Kemp also stated that - "The TICAP conference purports to develop methods and strategies to end "the use of pseudo-science" in relation to tobacco control, in contrast the WHO FCTC recognizes "that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke cause death, disease and disability".

In other words, no debate will be allowed, no scientist will be allowed a platform to disagree, only those who do agree with the policies have the right to freedom of speech on this subject in the EU building.

In an unprecedented move, the EU Bureau cancelled the conference with no record on their meeting agenda and without communication or right of reply to the sponsoring MEP, who was left to discover the truth by rumours almost a week later. These astonishingly undemocratic revelations were based upon unsubstantiated false claims and a demand that no debate should be allowed, and were submitted by an anti smoking group opposed to the content of the event.

For decades the anti smoking industry has grossly perverted science for their own ideology; it comes as no surprise to us whatsoever that they are now perverting democracy and freedom in the very heart of the EU.


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