Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bingo: We Can Stop Blaming California for the Anti-Vaxxer Movement in the Nation

Big Sur: California likes to export pictures of purple sage, green trees and sparkling blue water, not diseases and dangerous anti-vaccine philosophy. (Attribution at bottom)

After a month or more of us West Coast dwellers being punched around by the media over "California's elitist anti-vaxxer movement" screwing up the nation's "herd immunity", one Twitter poster (who does a lot of this kind of stuff on important subjects) published a list of where immunity in children was the lowest, and it wasn't California.  It was the Midwest and South.

I don't know about you, but most of what I hear about the MidWest and South about California is not a worshipful pledge to do everything California style.  Mostly it sounds like barely controlled cuss word replacements.  So telling people that all those anti-vaxxers in the MidWest and South are influenced by people they consider "hippies" doesn't fly.

I failed apparently to save the graphic on that, but found some info tonight from the CDC on vaccination levels in various states instead of lumping them into regions, but California isn't even mentioned.

Again the states mentioned as low vaccination spots are not places that people sit around and wonder how most to be "Californian".  They might throw you out of the house if you implied they did.

So this doesn't lump states into the regions of the chart I failed to save, but it's enlightening.

In 2013, wide geographic variation in vaccination coverage was observed among the states (Table 3). Coverage for ≥1 MMR dose ranged from 86.0% (Colorado, Ohio, and West Virginia) to 96.3% (New Hampshire). Coverage ranged from 74.3% (Arkansas) to 93.3% (Massachusetts) for ≥4 DTaP doses, from 44.8% (Vermont) to 88.0% (Kentucky) for HepB (birth dose), from 33.6% (Wyoming) to 72.1% (Connecticut) for ≥2 HepA doses, from 56.0% (Arkansas) to 84.4% (Rhode Island) for rotavirus, and from 57.1% (Arkansas) to 82.1% (Rhode Island) for the combined vaccine series.
Unknown to me is the demographics of the mentioned state. For instance I lower the measles immunization rate in California because I was born before they were given even at the age of 7, and like most in my day gained by future immunity the "natural way" because I had no choice.  I'd have taken the shots if I could. Compared to the disease, it's a holiday.

But the state most effectively keeping children from vaccinations is Poverty:
DTaP, PCV, and Hib coverage were 8 to 12 percentage points lower for children living below the poverty level compared with children living at or above the poverty level. Parents and caregivers of children living below poverty might face additional challenges in maintaining well-child visits and thus be more likely to fall behind on booster doses. Children living below poverty also had rotavirus coverage that was 13 percentage points lower than that of children living at or above the poverty level. The first dose of rotavirus vaccine should be given before age 14 weeks and 6 days, and the final dose should be given by 8 months (3). Children living below poverty might be more likely to miss these milestones and thus not able to start or complete the series. The Vaccines for Children program likely has been successful in reducing differences in vaccination coverage between children living at or above poverty level compared with those below the poverty level for these vaccines and in removing poverty differences for vaccines such as MMR and varicella (1). To further reduce disparities, clinician and system-based interventions should be targeted to communities with a high proportion of the population living below the poverty level. Interventions to improve parental knowledge about vaccines and to further facilitate access to vaccinations can also help to reduce disparities in coverage.

So, can we please give California a break, stop blaming it for lapses in vaccination, and GTF together to make sure that children have the transportation, and access to medical care including vaccinations they need and their parents even want, but can't find time or energy to get their children to the doctor after working 1-2 jobs and lacking help around the house.

And how about a nice pin saying "Because my parents love me they D'tapped me 2 (or 1 to 4 whatever) times!"

Hopefully someone can explain what that means before the cops show up at your door, but it might get some attention and let people know that vaccination is considered good, not evil by most families.

Picture at top clipped and used by permission CC by 2.0 thanks to flickr user Dawn Ellner aka flickr name *~Dawn~* who has no connection to this blog or blogger

Lower picture (stop sign) clipped and used via Creative Commons License Attribution CC by 2.0 thanks to Steve Johnson aka flickr name Steve A Johnson who has no connection to this blog or blogger.

Many flickr users have two names representing them on flickr.  I assume the reason is that they want to be known by their real name for future acknowledgement, fame, but flickr requires a unique name for search purposes.  I try to comply with using both names of those who have two such identifications.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pre-term Birth Subtly Affects Memory Function. Why this is important in the Fight Against Racism

What if we held a cute pig race, but some of the racers had 10lb weights strapped to their hind legs. Would that be fair?

A recent study found that preterm births affect a person's memory functions.
“Our study provides evidence that prematurity can result in problems with a particular subprocess of recollection,” according to Kerstin H. Kipp, principal investigator of the research project when she was at the University of the Saarland (Kipp is now with the State University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart and the University of Ulm.)
“The specific modification in the memory network is so subtle that it could be overlooked because it doesn’t manifest itself in clear memory impairment. But memory deficits can appear in situations in which retrieving contextual information is essential,”
 So what does this mean when conservatives say that all children must be treated equally or we're biased against white people?

To keep this quick and simple, statistics show black children are more than 50%  likely to be born prematurely than whites and Asians and more likely than other ethnicities, though Native Americans are close. (Original source CDC)

Throwing all the kids in the pool to sink or swim is like organizing a deep end race between a shark baby, a whale baby, and a human baby.  It isn't fair.  Saying it's fair is a way to continue to encode racism.  Treating all children the same as conservatives want to pretend they do (though only small amounts of time are needed to discover natural advantages of more affluent communities) is a way to continue racism.

The study was on a form of memory that is not normally associated with "learning" in school. First of all was it the narrowness of subject (which scientists love to use to quell blow-back). Or will we learn later that it's at the core of learning instead of somewhere out in the wilderness? Scientists are always revising those kinds of findings.  Meanwhile there are children who need a good education.

And the info gleaned from the recent study and the CDC graphic show this starts at birth.

End of story, unless, of course, you are Bill O'Reilly or other right wing scammer promoting the continued ability of the richest to take from society at the expense of the poor (and paid to do so by the same wealthy folk).

In our real life we need to show the real statistics when confronted about treating all ethnicities alike "to be fair". Tell them that's incorrect until society fixes conditions that forces certain minorities, from birth, to fight against problems that harm their ability to learn.

Picture at top used via Creative Commons License (CC by 2.0) thanks to Flickr user krgjumper (only name identified by Flickr).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Did The Bush Administration Cause Widespread Distrust in Vaccines?

Americans used to feel they could trust their government to be working for them, not high end political donors. Where did that break down into a feeling that powerful people are only using Americans to enrich and further empower themselves and their big financial backers? Maybe somewhere in the harsh lands of Iraq and Afghanistan during a couple of wars in which our government abandoned our troops and our trust for war profiteering. (Attribution at bottom)

The reality of our recent past is that measles was declared eliminated in the US in the year 2000.

Of course,  more can come in from immigration and travel, but essentially the US had eliminated the threat.

So what happened?

Anti-vaccination has a history over 200 years long as a small interest and vague worry.  That may have been a good thing given the unsterile conditions of medicine of earlier centuries, but did the current US movement gain it's strength as people realized that their government could be producing huge lies that would harm even kill large number of citizens, to enrich and empower their friends and allies?

Until I can find the numbers by year of the anti-vaxxer movement, not just some outraged internet hack yelling at me, I believe that the Bush-Cheney (Cheney-Bush) administration did major damage to the faith that Americans have in people in important, informed, and powerful places to act in their best interests instead of the bank accounts of their own political and financial partners.

Neither the former president nor vice president seem to be harmed themselves from any of this.  Bush's brother is planning on carrying on the family tradition of inhabiting the White House, and Cheney's daughters look to be trying to get themselves into powerful positions, as well.

There is a song that we used to sing as kids (okay scouts) that ended with "We're all the broker's men".  Just place the Koch bros in the slot for "brokers" (and recognize that women are now considered part of the human race or "men" in most states) and you have the reality of most of the Republican party.

Whatever they say publicly, the Republicans greed for wealth and power may have literally killed kids, even without missiles, and guns by destroying the faith of Americans in their government to promote the common good.

I hope that people can regain their trust in government or at least their realization that they need the vaccinations for their children before great damage is done to more children.

And get those
Top picture of soldier used with permission via CC by 2.0 thanks to Flickr user DVIDSHUB who has no connection to this blog or blogger. Located here with further information including name of pictured soldier. Bottom picture used via CC by 2.0 thanks to Flickr user Blake Patterson (flickr name: blakespot) who is providing the arm and who has no connection to this blog or blogger see here.

Video: Anti-vaccine movement is giving diseases a 2nd life

Also see here for more information