Children and the Flu Vaccine

Yesterday a CDC federal advisory panel voted to recommend annual flu vaccines for all children from age 6 months to 18 years. If followed, it would bring about the largest expansion of flu vaccine coverage in history, necessitating about 30 million children being vaccinated every single year.

All of this despite the fact that the flu vaccine has not been shown to be effective for all children. Up to age two it is no more effective than a placebo at preventing flu. And for older children the problems with the flu vaccine remain the same as for any other group.

The conclusions of the Chocrane Study is as follows (bolding mine):

Influenza vaccines are efficacious in children older than two years, but little evidence is available for children younger than two years. There was a marked difference between vaccine efficacy and effectiveness. That no safety comparisons could be carried out emphasizes the need for standardization of methods and presentation of vaccine safety data in future studies. It was surprising to find only one study of inactivated vaccine in children younger than two years given recent recommendations to vaccinate healthy children from six months of age in the United States and Canada. If immunization in children is to be recommended as public health policy, large-scale studies assessing important outcomes and directly comparing vaccine types are urgently required. 

Because the flu virus changes so rapidly a new vaccine is required every year, and in some years (this one, for example), is barely effective because they guessed wrong, and didn’t put the “right” strains of the flue virus in the vaccine.

In children, the flu is only rarely deadly, though it does cause school absenteeism. Support for extending flu vaccination to children was provided by a 2-year study which found a high rate of seroconversion, though there was only a small decrease in the rate of flu in the first year and no difference in the second year. In school-age children, it may help to prevent children missing school.

Despite all of this though, the CDC is now recommending that all children from 6 months to 18 years receive flu vaccines. Despite the fact that it is no more effective than a placebo up till 2 years old, and after that prevents little more than children missing school and parents missing work. But I suppose that is enough to soon make it mandatory. The mandate for the chickenpox vaccine used the same logic, and as we all now know is a scary, horrible, sometimes fatal disease.

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If you need something to read…

Subscribe to Tor! When I first subscribed to Tor’s newsletter which would supposedly give me free ebooks, I was very, very skeptical. I mean, come on, are they really going to send me good books for free? The answer, I can now assure you is yes, the really are. Or, at least, they have. I sat on the computer and read Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson in two days – 600+ pages of absolutely wonderful writing. It was fascinating, and I can’t wait to read the next book – The Well of Ascension – though its going to have to wait for a little while. I’m just not able to justify spending $28 on a book that’ll last me all of 2 or 3 days, judging from the first. So, I’m waiting till June when it comes out in paperback – $8 is justifiable!! Either that or I’ll get it from the libary.

The second book they sent was Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. I’m not quite through it yet (been busy with other stuff, and not been able to devote my entire day to reading ::sniffle::), but so far it’s very good too. I did notice that there are at least a couple more books already out in paperback in the series, so I’ll be able to get them much more quickly.

Now, the one downside to e-books that I must admit, is that it takes up your computer. I suppose if you have your own then thats no big deal, but if your sharing (like me) with other folks, it becomes slightly more of an issue. But my family has survived me hogging the computer for quite a while now, so its nothing entirely new.

Anyhow, if you’re into science fiction and/or fantasy, I definetly recommend subscribing to Tor’s newsletter, especailly if you have a hard time, like I do, deciding what to read next. So far at least, they have selected very good books. We’ll see how long it lasts!!

First Aid & the YMCA

Tonight we had our First Aid & Oxygen Adminstration classes at the YMCA. They were both pretty darn basic and simplistic, though Kevin once again struggled with the test. I don’t understand whats happend with him and tests. I know he’s always been bad about second-guessing himself, but it just seems much much worse lately. In anycase though, we both passed just fine. He actually didn’t take the oxygen class as he had to watch Andros the last hour. I’m pretty excited about taking the life guarding class starting next week. It’ll be interesting and hopefully fun, though I’m questioning whether or not I’ll be making it to Tae Kwon Do unfortuantly. I might try and go once a week still and just go from their. We shall see.

I’m rather upset with the YMCA though regarding my right to breastfeed my son. On Monday after the babysitting room closed at 8:30 I went and got him and brought him back in to the class while we rapped up CPR and took the test. While we were reviewing some information I went ahead and nursed him, and didn’t think anything of it, just like always. But, then tonight, when I went in to the babysitting room and nursed him in their the lady said “do you want a blanket” and when I said “no thank you” she tried to make me use one. So, I informed her that I am legally allowed to nurse wherever I am otherwise allowed to be, and she just dropped it…

Then, later on during a separate break the instructor and another woman confronted me about it, and tried to say that in the future I must either: leave the room and go somewhere private, or use a cover of some sort. I informed them of the law as well and they just blew me off. So I blew them off and just walked away.

From now on though, I fully intend to bring a copy of the Ohio law on the subject, and if anyone ever tries to tell me to cover their again, I will inform them of the law and that I can sue them for civil rights discrimination if they continue to press me (which I forgot about tonight somehow)… It just boggles my mind that anyone cares if I nurse my son anywhere, and that they think they have the right to tell me to cover. Mind boggling.

Vaccines in Court

The past few days have been rather exciting. There are two big stories here, neither of which has gotten much (if any) press in the US: vaccine manufacturer’s being taken to court in France over hepatitus b vaccines, and the US Department of Health & Human Services concedeing a case on a vaccine-autism link.

The first case comes to us from France, where vaccine manufacturer’s are being sued for manslaughter for failing to fully disclose side effects to hepatitis-B vaccines. Judge Marie-Odile Bertella-Geffroy has opened two separate investigations one against GlaxoSmithKline & Sanofi Pasteur and another against Sanofi Pasteur MSD a joint venture between Sanofi Aventis and Merck.

Between 1994 and 1998 about two thirds of the population (including almost all newborns during the time period) was vaccinated against hepatitis B, before the campaign was suspended because of concerns regarding side effects. Among the 30 plaintiffs are 5 families of people who died after being given the vaccine.

The second case takes place right here in the US. David Kirby in the Huffington Post reports that on November 9, 2007 US Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler quietly conceded that vaccines aggravated an existing mitochondrial disorder and thereby caused the manifestation of Autism Spectrum Disorder in one child. Mr Keisler and the other Justice Department officials were working on behalf of the Department of Health & Human Services.

This is huge because while mitochondrial disorders are extremely rare in the general population (0.2% or 1 in 10,000), they are far more common among people with ASD. An incredible 10-20% (estimated in some journal articles) of all autism cases may be linked to them, making them the most common disease associated with ASD. And in the Journal of Child Neurology Dr Zimmerman (the doctor who diagnosed the child in this case), co-authored an article which “showed that 38% of Kennedy Krieger Institute autism patients studied had one marker for impaired oxidative phosphorylation, and 47% had a second marker.”

All of this begs the question “What next?”. What will the US government do now. They have been claiming for the past several years that autism is in no way shape or form connected to vaccines or thimerosol. And yet, now they have conceded one case, which may be just the first of hundreds or thousands to come. With 4900 cases pending in vaccine court, how many can the government realistically afford to settle?

CPR

Well, today we went and got CPR for the Professional Rescuer at the YMCA. It was a good class, though not nearly as in depth as I remember the equivalent portion of Wilderness First Responder being. Of course, it only took 4 hours too, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Andros did pretty good in the daycare/baby sitting area, as far as I can tell, all things considered. He was upset a couple times when I went and checked on him, but calmed right down, and the first time was playing happily on a rocking horse type thing. Of course the lady’s kind of yelled at me when they were closing at 8:30 (half hour before CPR finished, though luckily it was basically just the test at that point), because apparently he was only supposed to be in their for 2 hours, an he’d been there for 3.5… but whatever.

My grandma slipped on some ice on Saturday night and broke her leg above the knee. She was supposed to be having surgery today at 5:00pm, but I haven’t heard anything so far as to how it went. Hopefully it went well, and she’ll get moved up to Canton here soon (happened just before they were supposed to go to California, so they were/are in Columbus…).

Obama in Akron

So, I finally got to see Barack Obama today, which was very cool. He was up in Akron at the John S Knight Center, at “5:30” with the doors “opening at 4:00”. Which makes me wonder why on earth I stood outside in the freezing cold from 4:20ish till 6:00ish!! I’m not sure what they were doing to everyone as they entered the building – patting every single person down? Strip searching them? Doing a background check? Seriously, I don’t know, but the line that stretched around the block when we got their at 4:15 barely moved for the first 1.5 hours we stood in it. And then around 6 we all just walked right in, just like I figured we would to begin with! Only, we got stuck up on a balcony with nowhere to sit… But, at least we got to see (ok, mostly hear), him, and it wasn’t freezing ass cold anymore, which was an *AWESOME* change!! Oh, and I nursed Andros twice while we were there – once standing in line (which really seemed to empress Kevin for some reason), briefly, and then again for longer once we got inside in the warmth!

His speech was basically the same one that he’s been giving (I think) for the last while, but it was very good. He talked about Clinton’s recent attacks on his health care plan, and what he said made sense. I don’t think there’s any way that a plan that mandates people buy coverage will get through the congress, not right now. But one that dramatically cuts the costs of it, and helps people to buy it? That just might make it.

In anycase, I’m glad we went, glad we got to see him, in person, finally. It was a good time, even the part where we had to stand outside in the cold.

Myers-Briggs/Jung Personality Tests

 So, I read an article about the current presidential candidate’s Myers-brigg/Jung personality types on Slate.com (http://www.slate.com/id/2184696/). It’s results make sense – Hillary is an ESTJ (Guardian/Supervisor), Obama’s an ENFP (Idealist/Champion), and McCain’s an ESTP (Promoter) (he “couldn’t bare to imagine a Huckabee administration”). Its an interesting read.

However, what I find fascinating right now, is that I am apparently an INTP the “Architect”. I say this because after taking 4 different tests they have all come back to this type. I’m fairly sure I’ve done these things before and gotten INTP then too, though its been a while now. In anycase, after reading several of the descriptions of architect’s I have to say that it does seem to fit me fairly well, though its apparently a fairly rare type to be, especially as a woman (which might be why so many see me as so wierd…). But, what I find most exciting is that in the results of the last test I took was a link to a forum for INTP’s, which looks very fun.

My results from SimilarMinds.com  are as follows:

Introverted (I) 76.92% Extroverted (E) 23.08%
Intuitive (N) 60% Sensing (S) 40%
Thinking (T) 66.67% Feeling (F) 33.33%
Perceiving (P) 65.63% Judging (J) 34.38%

“INTP – “Architect”. Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 3.3% of total population.”