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I must comment on Dec. 9's report of the state's smallpox vaccination planning under the federal Patriot Act. I am extremely happy to hear that public smallpox vaccination will be voluntary. Based on the information provided to the Juneau Empire about the plan (limited due to "security considerations" - ha! ha! ha!), I worry that the public education phase will be full of pseudo-science. Such prostituted "science" is usually used to intellectually intimidate the public into doing something that is profit motivated. In other words, this whole public smallpox vaccination business may be just part of the Bush Administration's apparent grand economic plan - "pork-barrel spending" on homeland security, defense and war.
For example, the article says that U.S. public vaccination for smallpox was halted in 1972 with the implication that it was no longer necessary - referencing last reported cases. This hides the inconvenient fact that such vaccination was ordered discontinued by Congress based on testimony from Dr. Henry Kemp. He testified to Congress in 1966 that fewer people were dying from smallpox than from the consequences of smallpox vaccinations! See references to Chapter 3 (Vaccines and Epidemics: the Real Story) under "Smallpox" from the book "Vaccination Connection" by Sue Marston.
Also the World Health Organization (www.who.int/emc/diseases/smallpox/) now says:
Q. Should the smallpox vaccine be widely used to protect people?
A. Vaccination with the vaccinia virus as a protection against smallpox is not recommended for widespread use. No government [except the U.S. per the Patriot Act now!] gives or recommends the vaccine routinely since it can cause serious complications, and even death. It should be given only to those persons who have a high risk of coming into contact with the virus which causes smallpox, or who have been exposed.
Next, the Empire was told that smallpox is spread through "prolonged face-to-face contact, through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or through contaminated bedding and clothing." This data sure makes sense of the fact that, historically, major worldwide reduction of smallpox cases is coincident with sanitation improvements (including medical isolation) beginning in the 1880s - not major vaccination drives. So why is threatening every American into getting smallpox vaccinations more important than increasing public hygiene-sanitation standards?
The Bush Administration must believe the American people are really dumb.