The power of Woo! to excite the credulous is, of course, unbounded. There is no other possible explanation for the existence of the Democratic Party after all. Everything will be better if we just take stuff from those who created it – sure, that’ll work out well. However, to be a little less cynical – do note that the correct question to ask about politics is “am I being cynical enough?” – we should examine this idea of homeoprophylaxis.…See More
That Andrew Wakefield himself is not terribly stupid is obvious. Few have the brains – or the gall – to turn some entirely dubious cod science into the opportunity to be bonking Elle McPherson. So, there is that.
However, certain of his idea are indeed terribly stupid. The specific link between vaccines and autism is simply wrong. It was worth investigating, certainly, but it turns out simply not to be true. So that’s the end of that.…See More
It’s entirely true that there are people out there who insist that vaccines are terribly dangerous and no one should have them. Or at least not my children. They’re wrong, to an extent. Vaccines are dangerous and that’s why we’ve got vaccine compensation schemes. Vaccines will indeed kill some who have them and damage more. The point being that non-vaccination will kill and damage many more.
It’s all about relative risk that is.
OK, but now we’ve those insisting that anti-vaxxers should be denied the liberty to propagate their misunderstandings.…See More
Here in the rich countries we hardly even think of polio these days. Back when oldsters like me were young it was still a memory but one kept at bay by Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. For the generation before it was a horror that swept through the population crippling, paralysing and even killing children. The memory of how awful it was has gone – although we might occasionally think of those like Julian Critchley struck down in old age by post-polio syndrome.…See More
With outbreaks of measles going on it’s worth pointing out that there is a point here. The measles vaccination is indeed dangerous. It’s just that it’s less dangerous than measles itself. And the thing is, in a population not protected by vaccines, a child really is going to get measles.
In fact, in an unprotected population and one where measles isn’t endemic it can be one of the great killers. The population of the Faroe Islands suffered several epidemics in the 1800s and as the disease ripped through a virgin population it killed substantial percentages.…See More
The idea of giving boys as well as girls the HPV vaccine is reasonable enough. It really just comes down to a cost benefit decision. How many lives would be saved by doing so against the cost of having done so? As long as the cost is under some £2 million per life saved – roughly what we think to be the statistical value of a life – then we should go ahead. If it doesn’t then we shouldn’t, instead deploying our scarce resources on saving lives in some other, cheaper, manner.…See More