Facts, not Fantasy

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vaccine Times: Flash News

Several stories from Vaccine Times.  The last one really caught my eye.  $41Million is really nothing in the scheme of international budgets.  To spend so little to prevent such suffering is almost criminal.  And the other stories also have significance.


150 sick, 4 childrend dead of whooping cough in Papua New Guinea – Four children have been killed by whooping cough so far this year in Papua New Guinea, according to Ausralia Network News.  The outbreak started in mid-March and has sickened over 150 people. Local health officials say that few children have been immunized against whooping cough in the area.

150,000 children die of vaccine-preventable diseases in Pakistan each year – The reasons why parents do not get their children vaccinated include poverty, low rates of female literacy, poor environmental hygiene and bad governance and lack of accountability in Extended Program on Immunization (EPI). To put this into perspective, Yankee Stadium holds about 50,000 people, so that’s 3 Yankee stadiums full of children dead each and every year of vaccine-preventable diseases. Yet, most anti-vaxers maintain that these vaccine-preventable diseases are mostly harmless.

FDA approves the first vaccine to prevent meningococcal disease in infants and toddlersThe FDA has approved Menactra for use in infants as young as 9 months old; it was already approved for use in people ages 2 through 55 years. The vaccine protects against 4 types of the germ that causes meningitis (A,C,Y and W-135); currently there is no vaccine that protects agains group B. Meningitis is an extremely dangerous disease: even with appropriate antibiotics and intensive care, between 10 percent and 15 percent of people who develop meningococcal disease die from the infection, while another 10 percent to 20 percent suffer complications such as brain damage or loss of limb or hearing. The safety of Menactra in children as young as 9 months was evaluated in four clinical studies in which over 3,700 participants received the vaccine. The most common adverse events reported in children who received Menactra at 9 months and 12 months of age were injection-site tenderness and irritability.

The World Bank approves additional $41M for Pakistan’s polio drive – The Board of Directors of The World Bank has recently approved $41 Million in funds to support Pakistan’s Third Partnership for Polio Eradication Project (TPPEP) which seeks to immunize 32 million children against the crippling disease with the goal of eradicating the disease from the country. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative has successfully reduced global polio cases by 99% in  a little under 20 years, however 4 countries still experience large numbers of the disease, and Pakistan is one of the 4. Here’s to hoping polio goes the way of smallpox.

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