I ate my wafer...


So, I have a bunch of half-finished ideas floating around, and I've decided to dump them out incomplete over the next couple of days, rather than let them exist in the non-ending limbo of my "Bookmarks" folder.


So, I ran into this nifty comic book about the history of polio the other day, and since then, I've been debating a post about vaccination in general. Earlier this summer, I read the Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. article purporting to link autism and mercury preservatives in vaccination, and did a bit of research on the topic, finding a number of good critical sources on the mercury issue. At the time, I was disappointed with Salon/Rolling Stone, and amused to see Slate spank Kennedy's butt, but thought little more about it. I've always been rather pro-vaccination (despite a wildly irrational personal dislike of needles), and found most anti-vaccination arguments to boil down into a selfish dependence on freeloading on herd immunity combined with scientifically weak supposition.

So, anyway,the other day, when considering the merits of the chicken pox vaccine for myself, I was exposed to yet another round of silliness about vaccinations, namely that the use of mercury preservatives in vaccinations intended for export amounts to a medical ethics problem on the scale of Tuskegee or Mengele. This is, well, silly. Vaccinations intended for the 3th world are very likely to be shipped in multidose bulk containers, and used in less than ideally sterile environments. After the 1928 Bunaberg staph disaster, it has been a serious public health issue to provide anti-microbial preservatives in multidose vaccination vials. Thimerosol happens to one of the safer, cheaper options, not some wild conspiracy to screw over the poor.


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