Something I hear occasionally when talking about vaccines is that they are not required as we have drugs to deal with sickness. It’s true we have developed everything from cold and flu meds to antibiotics and chemotherapy but vaccines are still, in my opinion, the greatest advancement in public health after improved sanitation. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Vaccination
I’ve been on a conference, so I haven’t had time to write a new article this week. Instead, you get sloppy seconds this week. This article was previously published in On Dit (2006) as my first public article. Still carries on the series though. Oh, and happy birthday, Disease of the Week!
Smallpox is a now-eradicated disease that is caused by the variola virus. There are two main types of small pox: variola major, the typical case of smallpox that killed up to 30% of those infected with it; and variola minor, which was a less deadly, but rarer form, leading to deaths in around 1% of those infected. Two extremely rare forms also existed: haemorrhagic and flat smallpox, both of which are basically death sentences. Variola major is the primary focus of my story today.
Waaaaaay back in the first post of my sub series on vaccines I said I would cover vaccine styles, how they work (and Pt. 2) and why we can’t rely on therapeutics alone. I promise I’ll get to the last one at some point but after a couple of weeks writing about vaccines something occurred to me that I hadn’t really thought about before, what is actually in a vaccine? Continue reading
Australia seems to have pulled its finger out in a big way and contributed $60 million ($58 million US) to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation! Thus doubles Australia’s previous commitment and puts us up amongst the highest level contributors worldwide.
The pledge comes as Alliance members meet in New York to discuss the GAVI Alliance’s funding plans regarding its 2010-2015 programs. During that time GAVI hope to vaccinate 240 million children and in the process prevent 4.2 million deaths, primarily in the developing world.
The Australian pledge tops up the previous pledge agreement to help the GAVI Alliance reach its funding goal of $6.5 billion. At this stage the fundrasing effort leaves GAVI $4.3 billion short but more pledges are expected to come in over the next few years.
GAVI’s aims of childhood vaccination are targeted at the worlds 2 largest killers of children under 5 years of age; pneumonia and diarrhoea which together account for nearly 40% of all deaths in children under 5.
For more info check out the GAVI Alliance website here.
This week a site called History of Vaccines came online. It’s been set up by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and it’s a pretty useful (and accurate) site aimed at both high school students, parents, and teachers. It explains concepts like herd immunity in a good simplified way. We’re so impressed, we’ve put it on our blog roll. Check it out.
In my last post I spoke about how vaccines work from the point of view of the person receiving the jab or pill. In that case we were talking about immunological memory but vaccines also work in another very important way from the point of view of the community and it is referred to as ‘herd immunity’. Continue reading