02 Nov 2014

Ebola and Isolating Unvaccinated Children

Category: HealthAdmin @ 12:59 pm

Is Mass Inoculation as Good as We are Led to Believe?

With the current emphasis on creating a vaccine for Ebola, we can expect that one will be forthcoming eventually, whether it is 100% effective or only minimally so. We can also expect that once it is developed, school-age children will be required to get vaccinated. While I applaud efforts to protect children and the adults around them from such a horrible disease in particular, I remain skeptical about the benefit-to-risk ratios of mass inoculation in general (except for the drug makers, who cannot make a profit unless enough people buy).

Reasons include:

  • Infection rates for both smallpox and polio were falling dramatically before their respective vaccines were used on the public, confounding the statistics about these vaccines’ successes. (I will publish references when I find them again; leave a comment below or contact me if you have one handy.)
  • The CDC still cites the study by William Thompson, who later admitted to omitting significantly-statistical data about autism and vaccines, casting doubt upon the CDC’s hontesty.
  • Vaccines are developed for known strains, but the strains of the future are often different.
  • Live vaccines have the potential to transmit the disease.

Vaccine Risk and School Vaccination Requirements

In any case, when there is not a local disease outbreak, what grounds does the government have for forcing children to be vaccinated? One argument is that when the disease comes, it may be too late. However, vaccines are not without risk. Let’s take one of the more feared diseases, polio, for example:

The last cases of naturally occurring paralytic polio in the United States were in 1979, when an outbreak occurred among the Amish in several Midwestern states. From 1980 through 1999, there were 162 confirmed cases of paralytic polio cases reported. Of the 162 cases, eight cases were acquired outside the United States and imported [emphasis mine]. The last imported case caused by wild poliovirus into the United States was reported in 1993. The remaining 154 cases were vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP) caused by live oral poliovirus vaccine [emphasis mine] (OPV).

– from the CDC website

Thus, it appears that the risk of acquiring vaccine-associated paralytic polio in the US is now much higher than the risk of getting the disease. Nevertheless, a polio vaccine is still required for school-age children attending both public and private schools in my state of California.

All 50 states have child immunization requirements. (Source: CDC website.) You can look up your state’s requirements at the CDC website.

Polio is different than Ebola. Most people living in the US today were either vaccinated against polio as children or had the actual disease long ago. Therefore, most of us are not worried about a polio epidemic among unvaccinated children because even if a few children get polio, the odds of it spreading are not high. Ebola is much more dangerous, both in fatality and in epidemic potential.

Ebola Isolation vs. Isolation of Healthy School Children

This leads to an interesting question: If a person who has been exposed to Ebola but does not have symptoms is allowed to mingle in public at will, why are healthy children sometimes expelled from school because they have not been vaccinated? Some of these children may even have previously had the disease that is being targeted, and thus are not at all at risk of carrying it presently. I recommend Mike Adams’ very thoughtful article about Ebola, public safety, quarantine, vaccines and school regulations at Natural News, entitled: U.S. government: Ebola is safer than the flu; high-risk carriers free to mingle with the public.

Can we Hope to Isolate Infected Children?

I witnessed all too many children being sent to school sick at the school where I worked last year. We did not have a school nurse to send them to, and school policy for the average case of sniffles was to keep them at school unless they had a fever. After all, most parents had jobs and could not always take time off to care for sick kids. That meant that they stayed in class. As teachers, we were not medically trained, so I question whether we could be relied upon to determine a child’s health status anyway.

Furthermore, the school lost money when children did not come, unless we took extra time to make up independent study packets for them. This was enough of a time drain that we did not make up these packets unless students were gone at least two days. Thus, the school had a financial incentive not to encourage parents to keep sick children home. Furthermore, once parents had decided their children were healthy enough to spend the day at school, they did not look favorably upon having to pick up their children early if they were called in to do so very often.

I can attest that Kindergarteners do not properly attend to hand washing and other habits to restrict the spread of disease (in spite of our best efforts to teach them), and I was sneezed on more than once. It is common knowledge that most kids in class will catch most colds and flu sooner or later. The same goes for the teachers.

Pinkeye went around last year too, but as we were easily able to distinguish this from the average cold, we sent about a fifth of the class home, one at a time, and parents themselves kept other children home until all affected children were medically treated. My guess is that about a quarter of the children caught it. Thus, isolation and treatment were somewhat effective; 75% of the children avoided pinkeye.

What if teachers were relied upon to determine whether or not students had Ebola symptoms? I was a teacher, and I would not trust myself to distinguish between Ebola and flu. Even the CDC cannot do that without specialized lab tests.

If Ebola came to my town and I had school-age children, you can bet I would keep them home. Would I be among the first to have them vaccinated for Ebola? That depends…

Would I vaccinate my child for polio today? Probably not.

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