Polio – Re-Vaccinate or Not?

You may have heard that there is a polio outbreak in the Muslim world.  Honestly, I don’t care that much – except that all of our neighbors are Arab.  Great news, right?

I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, but the Ministry of Health has told all residents of the south to vaccinate children 0-9 years of age with the oral polio vaccine (live but weakened virus).  This is because, starting from 2004, they replaced OPV with IPV in the standard immunization routine.  Which means that anyone born after 2004 received the inactiviated (i.e., dead) polio vaccine, instead of the live one.  On the whole, it’s a much safer vaccine now.  After all, a dead virus can’t hurt you, right?

On Friday afternoon, the Ministry of Health extended the order to re-vaccinate children 0-9 years old to all of Israel, because polio was found in the sewage in the area of Ramla and Lod.

[Backtrack: Polio was found in the sewage a few months ago, but most of the samples taken were from the south.  Word of mouth has it that polio has been in the sewage for years, but because we are mostly vaccinated, we never noticed it.  The outbreak in the Arab countries started because someone decided that the polio vaccine was a trick of the Western world in order to render Arabs infertile.  Therefore, the best thing to do was to order everyone not to vaccinate.  (Let’s say that this was true.  If the vaccine makes you infertile, the disease won’t?  Okay, no one ever said these radicals use their brains . . .)

Yitzchak adds:  Nigeria has polio, and as well all know, everyone goes to Mecca.  Then someone who came back from Mecca and lived in Judea and Samaria had caught the virus and somehow passed it on enough that there is stuff in the sewage.  I don’t know where Yitzchak got that, or if it even makes sense.  Take it or leave it.  Honestly, I think he has something there, but I’m not quite sure what it is.]

Okay, so now everyone should re-vaccinate.  And the fact that we are moving to the south (that’s for another post) makes me more nervous.  The vaccine is definitely better than the virus.  On the other hand, Shlomo is already vaccinated.  What are the chances of him catching it if he’s already had all his vaccinations?  They say the IPV prevents you from getting sick (but you can still transmit); the OPV prevents you from passing the virus on.  Do I really want to give my kid a dose of OPV so that someone who chose not to vaccinate their kid (and presumably won’t vaccinate now, either) won’t suffer?

I definitely need to go over what the Ministry of Health is saying and sort through it all.  I also have to check and make sure that Yitzchak and I are both vaccinated properly.  But if it’s an issue of transmitting the virus, not of actually getting sick – I think I’ll pass . . .

As I said, though, I need to do a bit more reading before making a final decision.

Oh, the stupid Arabs.  Oh, the stupid people who choose not to vaccinate, not only causing potential harm to themselves but also to others.  I assume said people won’t vaccinate now – in which case, I don’t see why I should do it for them.  But why can’t everyone get the regular vaccines, on schedule, and peace on Israel (shalom al Yisrael; a phrase that is used to mean, “and just be done with it”)?

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4 thoughts on “Polio – Re-Vaccinate or Not?

  1. As I understood it, the OPV is needed to stop the virus from spreading to people who have lower levels of protection. Not only those who do not vaccinate their children are exposed. Other examples of people in danger are those with weakened immune system, like the elderly or cancer patients that undergo chemotherapy. So yes, I agree, people who don’t vaccinate their childern (many of those are New-Age hippies by the way) should do so. But its not exclusively about them.

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  2. Pingback: To Vaccinate, Or Not To Vaccinate? | Little Duckies

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