All Arms on Deck

On The Pump Handle, Anthony Robbins discusses his tenure at NIOSH, the World Health Organization’s drive to vaccinate people around the world, and the fallout of the CIA’s decision to use a vaccination program as a subterfuge for spying operations in Pakistan.  Robbins writes, “WHO had hoped to complete global polio elimination by 2005, but local armed conflicts and rejection by religious fundamentalists slowed polio campaigns in Nigeria and in Pakistan.”  Now, the CIA’s actions have likely exacerbated distrust of vaccines, which festers abroad as well as at home.  Robbins writes that no vaccine is fully effective, but herd immunity can protect weak responders.  Yet when some people refuse vaccines, herd immunity starts to fall apart.  Robbins concludes, “This is why vaccination is a community decision based on weighing costs and benefits, not an individual decision.”  Meanwhile, Orac deconstructs the fall and rise of pertussis infections in America.


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