I read this article today while eating breakfast. It’s about how India has hope in the stalled fight against polio.
It’s about how the oral polio vaccine is cutting down on the number of cases, though they still cannot seem to fully eradicate polio in the poorest of areas. When casually reading the article it leaves you thinking, why yes this vaccine is life saving. Thank goodness they have something to stop polio, thank goodness someone is out there vaccinating the poor!
But then I was chewing my cereal and I realized, like many vaccine related topics, there’s a carefully masked second side to the story…the logical side, unfortunately.
First of all, why do these children have to be vaccinated so many times against the same disease? I understand there are different strains of polio and they have updated/improved the vaccine, but not 50 times! Why did none of the 12 times the 3 year old was vaccinated work? Surely she couldn’t have had diarrhea all 12 times she was vaccinated.
“Lalti Kumari, a shy 3-year-old, limps alongside her grandmother. She had been vaccinated 12 times, but still caught the disease in March 2009, likely because malnourishment or diarrhea made the doses ineffective.
“I don’t know how it happened,” said her mother, Sharmila Devi.”
“Rajkishore Tanti, a 45-year-old who estimates his two children were vaccinated roughly 50 times each, said the eradication program is the only government service that reaches the village.”
First of all, why do these children have to be vaccinated so many times against the same disease? I understand there are different strains of polio and they have updated/improved the vaccine, but not 50 times! Why did none of the 12 times the 3 year old was vaccinated work? Surely she couldn’t have had diarrhea all 12 times she was vaccinated. If the area is so poor, why do they waste money vaccinating and re-vaccinating against the same disease? The article even comments on one huge factor that went into eradicating polio in the USA…
“As contact with polio-laced sewage became less frequent, people no longer contracted the disease in early infancy, when side effects were rare.”
Yet Bill Gates is spending $102 million dollars vaccinating these poor areas against polio, over and over? Do you realize how much money $102 million dollars is for a dirt poor Indian village? Think what all $102 million could buy!
Bill Gates has the power to buy them fresh water wells. He can set up a clinic, one that keeps the oral re-hydration solutions and zinc to treat the diarrhea that supposedly interferes with vaccines. He can have a huge impact on the lives of these people. He could help build outhouses or some way to treat sewage, since polio is spread through feces.
Oh and want to know my favorite part? They are giving these children the oral polio vaccine. This is the version of the vaccine that contains the live virus, which means the children who get the vaccine shed live polio virus in their poop.
Now follow my logic: They are giving the live polio virus in an area where the article says children poop by the side of the road, an area so poor they don’t even have a ball to play with, let alone a place to wash their hands. An area so poor that the people are constantly ill, they have poor immune systems due to lack of nutrition and sanitation. WHY would they give these people a vaccine that is not to be used around people with a compromised immune system? It is possible for others to catch polio from those that have been vaccinated!
In the United States when they used to give the oral polio vaccine some people would get the disease from it. You weren’t supposed to be around any cancer patients or those with weak immune systems for an extended period of time after being vaccinated for that very reason.
It makes great sense to give this vaccine to the unhealthy poor, those who will be spending time all around the poop of vaccinated children sheding the live virus.
So instead of improving their quality of life with nutrition and medical care, Bill Gates wastes money vaccinating the same poor, rural population…the same kids 50 times.
The villagers even question this! It says so in the article.
“Villagers complain that the vaccinators are the only health workers they ever see. One asked why they didn’t bring other medicine; another demanded clean drinking water.”
“If the road department, the electricity department, all the other government departments functioned like this polio campaign, our plight would be over,” he said.”
So…why? Why does Bill Gates not spend some of that $102 million on something more logical, on a long term solution that would impact the lives of these people?
I’m sure Bill Gates realizes that infectious diseases will always be present in groups of people who don’t have the proper nutrition and health care to maintain strong immune systems.
Why wouldn’t he then spend money on helping these people build stronger immunity with nutrition, sanitation, vitamins, food, and clean water? Then more people would be able to fight off all kinds of diseases, not just polio.
There has to be a good reason, right? I honestly don’t know what that reason is. I suspect it has a lot to do with Bill Gates’ ties to the pharmaceutical industry.