Tetanus vaccination in Kenya

There are credible claims that the vaccine used in Kenya for a WHO/UNICEF tetanus campaign contains a substance that causes infertility and miscarriages. The Kenyan government says the vaccine is safe and approved by the WHO and UNICEF. The Catholic Bishops of Kenya, not a bunch of fringe anti-vaccination wackos, say they had samples tested that confirm the presence of the infertility-causing hormone.

In kindergarten all of us were hustled onto school buses to go get the oral polio vaccine. I get a flu shot every year. The last two years I even got the new quadrivalent vaccine. Public health is one area where government has important work to do, and I always thought serious doctors and nurses were doing it. Lately it seems decisions are driven more by politics and ideology than science. My confidence in US and global health experts is deeply impaired.

The thing to do now is to make public all the data and documents. Let the bishops release their lab reports, let the government release theirs, and do everything with complete transparency. But instead the government will deny, deny, deny. The papers will ignore it or repeat the government’s and WHO’s assurances without doing any investigative reporting. If the bishops release their lab reports they’ll be ignored or impugned, or contradictory reports will be produced. Transparency is the next-to-last thing there will be, just before public accountability. And as a result more people will avoid vaccinations.

UPDATE 14 November 2014: Does the Kenyan UNICEF Tetanus Vaccine contain HCG and make women infertile? “this seems likely to be a misunderstanding centered on false positive lab results…”

UPDATE 15 November 2014: Fresh medical tests set to clear up controversy on tetanus vaccine: “Yesterday, the Parliamentary Committee on Health ruled that a joint team of experts from the Ministry of Health, Catholic Church and other stakeholders would conduct a fresh round of independent medical tests to end the controversy on the safety of the vaccines.”

Underestimating the gravity

The CDC says

“We believe Ebola can remain in semen for up to 3 months. Important for men to use condoms during this period.” — CDC on Twitter

Really, that’s your conclusion, that it’s important to use a condom? Call me crazy, but if there’s a chance a man is carrying Ebola three months after recovery, he should abstain from sex for three months instead of relying on a condom. Because see, we’re not talking about mono here. If something goes wrong, he could infect and kill his partner and everyone he knows.

Free shots

Caution: this makes no sense

Why contraceptives? Why not require Walmart, Costco, and, what the heck, Home Depot, to provide a free flu shot not only for employees, but for anyone who wants one? In fact, why not make every hardware store provide free vaccines for everyone – regular childhood shots, tetanus boosters, shingles, the whole lot.

This part makes some sense

In fact, when people cross our border illegally, the first thing the border patrol should do – whether they afterwards send them back to Guatemala or send them on to Toronto (why not?) – the first thing the border patrol should do is shoot them full of vaccines.

UPDATE 11 July 2014: Charles Pergiel has related thoughts on the Supreme Court and mass media.

We want to be sedated

People – travelers, sick people, voters – want this. Just to be knocked out for an hour or a week until it’s over. Big Pharma could do it if they wanted to. In fact, they probably did do it back in the fifties, but realizing it would put them out of business when it went off patent they covered it all up. And what happened to the researchers who made the discovery? Hint: they were not really harmed.

He’s heard our cry

Now if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance until after the next election.*

They say this ad is aimed at young people. The idea is that emphasizing the free contraceptives will make them associate sex with Obamacare. Some fraction of the youth demographic probably already associates Obamacare with sex, recalling the lying bastard who took advantage and then didn’t get her the job at the ad agency like he promised (and who has since turned out to be kind of a creepy stalker.) But leaving that aside, the ad may include a subtle message for older people too: Obamacare will stop these idiots from reproducing.

*This is, of course, not strictly true, but cannot be said to be a lie because conservatives are mean old men.

If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.

  • Nobody is being denied coverage.
  • President Obama never said that.
  • It wasn’t a lie.
  • All politicians lie.
  • Everyone knew at the time it was a lie, so it doesn’t count.
  • The American people aren’t able to understand the nuanced complexity of healthcare.
  • He told you that for your own good.
  • It’s not a lie, because it would have been true if the facts were different.*
  • Bush lied!
  • Shut up, you racist!

Really, in 2013 it’s comforting that this is an issue. It means a politically significant number of people still know lying is wrong. The Democrats who must run for office in the next election realize it’s politically necessary to placate these naive dopes, or at least distract them.

Fewer hours because of Obamacare

The real news is that NBC News is reporting this. There are so many people whose hours have been cut because of Obamacare that NBC can’t ignore or deny it and keep any credibility. (Although at this point, they haven’t much credibility to lose.) Anyway, here’s the headline, seen at the Instapundit:

Businesses claim Obamacare has forced them to cut employee hours

“Employers around the country, from fast-food franchises to colleges, have told NBC News that they will be cutting workers’ hours below 30 a week because they can’t afford to offer the health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.” — linked above

The administration says it’s just anecdotal evidence, but there are a lot of anecdotes.

“St Petersburg [College]’s president, Dr. Bill Law, said providing health care for the 250 adjunct professors would cost more than $777,000 dollars a year. ‘The cost associated with making a part-timer benefits-eligible really is not available to us as a public college,’ said Law.

“‘I don’t think anyone [passed the law] so they could make our life worse,’ said Law. ‘They did it because people need access to health care.’

“Part-time math professor Tracey Sullivan said she will lose half her income because of the cuts.

“‘I never thought it would impact me directly,’ said Sullivan. ‘I was stunned when I got the email…I love teaching at St. Pete College but that is a significant cut.'” — linked above

Even the unions, reliable Democratic voters and fund-raisers (and hey United Mine Workers! How’s that working out?), say members are getting their hours cut below the 30-hour threshold for benefits, and that it’s a bad thing. Guess what the union recommends? Lower the threshold to 20 hours per week!

Honestly, I think that was the plan – not in a detailed conspiratorial sense, but in that people knew things like this would happen and that Obamacare would never work, but they were okay with that. For them, Obamacare is creative destruction – just a step on the way to a US Health Service. So the union guy is broadly correct. The threshold will get lowered; not to 20 hours a week, but to zero.