Posts tagged vaccine

Cotton Mather, you dog, dam you! I’l inoculate you with this; with a pox to you!
The semi-literate quotation in the title comes from a note attached to a bomb thrown into Cotton Mather’s house in Boston, Massachusetts on 14 November 1721 because of Mather’s public advocacy of the most important healthcare improvement of the colonial American era—smallpox inoculation. 

Map of Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks

The Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations has been tracking news reports since 2008 to produce an interactive map that plots global outbreaks of diseases that are easily prevented by inexpensive and effective vaccines. These diseases include measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, and rubella.

Is herd immunity a thing? Can vaccinated people get sick? — Asked by Anonymous

Herd immunity exists and it is well documented. In fact, there is a brilliant animation created by the Harvard Medical School that explains this process.

Vaccinations help prime your body to fight off a specific infection. However, it usually takes a few weeks for your body to create a reserve of immune cells for when you next encounter the infection again. Therefore, if you were infected just before or after receiving the vaccine, you might still get sick because the vaccine did not have ample time to provide any protection.

A summary of how vaccines work is available through the CDC.

Zapped Malaria Parasite Raises Vaccine Hopes

Maverick malaria vaccine achieves 100% protection using parasites from irradiated mosquitoes.

Unlike previous attempts at creating a malaria vaccine that relied on a few proteins from the malaria parasite, this new attempt, called PfSPZ uses a whole but weakened sporozoite and thus invoking a total immune response.

The sample size of the initial test is small: only six human subjects were given a set of five injections developed complete immunity when later bitten by infected mosquitoes. In comparison, five of the six unvaccinated controls and three of nine participants who only received four injections became infected. Having said that, the results thus far look promising.

Vaccine Infographic by Leon Farrant.
I often speak with patients who tell me that they do not wish to be vaccinated because they do not see the point, that it is a farce, that it can cause autism (it does not), despite educating and informing them of the reasons behind it. 
In the same way that people who did not grow up during the great wars of the mid-twentieth century have little frame of reference as to what the toll of total war can be, neither can a newer generation of people who have never seen the effects of polio, smallpox, and measles ravage humanity. For many people in the developed world, these are just distant, faded memories captured in the pages of medical textbooks. 
I sincerely hope that the understanding of why we vaccinate does not become lost over time, that people need not fall victim to these preventable diseases; otherwise, the suffering, the challenges, and the research that went into developing these vaccines were all for nothing.

Vaccine Infographic by Leon Farrant.

I often speak with patients who tell me that they do not wish to be vaccinated because they do not see the point, that it is a farce, that it can cause autism (it does not), despite educating and informing them of the reasons behind it. 

In the same way that people who did not grow up during the great wars of the mid-twentieth century have little frame of reference as to what the toll of total war can be, neither can a newer generation of people who have never seen the effects of polio, smallpox, and measles ravage humanity. For many people in the developed world, these are just distant, faded memories captured in the pages of medical textbooks. 

I sincerely hope that the understanding of why we vaccinate does not become lost over time, that people need not fall victim to these preventable diseases; otherwise, the suffering, the challenges, and the research that went into developing these vaccines were all for nothing.

Scientist Who Discovered Hepatitis C Has Now Discovered Possible Vaccine

The word “poetic” could not have been a more apt description for this story. Michael Houghton from the University of Alberta, who led a team of scientists to the discovery of Hepatitis C in 1989 announced earlier today that he has discovered the vaccine. With the diversity of hepatitis C strains, it was long thought to be impossible to develop a vaccine that could target all of them. Ten years of research and development has led to this discovery. 

As Houghton admits, there are still more tests to be run to check its efficacy and safety but so far the vaccine candidate is showing great promise.

The End-All-Be-All Flu Shot?

Every year epidemiologists try to predict what strains of the influenza virus are going to make its way around the world and create vaccines accordingly. The vaccines are designed to boost our immunity against those particular strains, which is sometimes hit or miss, depending on the accuracy of the original prediction. Sometimes, mutations happen, genetic shift or drift creates something that the vaccines are just not designed for.

North Texas researchers have tried to look upstream for a new solution, and may have found the answer in REDD-1, a protein that is found in the regulation of cell defence.

It sounds impressive but we will have to wait and see if it lives up to the expectations in clinical trials.

I gave my first flu shot ever yesterday to my clinical rotation partner and likewise she gave me one as well. Scary but fun.

I gave my first flu shot ever yesterday to my clinical rotation partner and likewise she gave me one as well. Scary but fun.

Flu vaccines

It’s almost that time of year again. Flu season is upon us! As we’ve seen already from Dr. Cranquis’s post, some people opt not to get vaccines. While we must always respect patient autonomy when developing a care plan, I can’t emphasize enough how vital vaccines are in our current day practice. It is our best preventative measure for many different diseases.

I’m going this Friday to get my vaccine. I’m keen that way.