Observations by Key Monroe~~Home of Right Opinions, Cynical Viewpoints, and TMI in Hefty Doses
|E-mail: keymonroe [at] alltel [dot] net

January 14, 2005

Smallpox Vaccine Anyone?

This worries me, people. I've wondered why the fear isn't in the news daily, in conversations, basically I'm surprised it hasn't evolved into full-blown panic...not that that would accomplish anything.

I've always been aware of disease in general. As a child, I viewed adolescent diabetes as a fate worse than death. After all, what is a life without junkfood?

Then I got older and learned about some of the contagious diseases that I was immunized against. And I learned about the scar my mother has from her smallpox vaccination.

"Why didn't I get one of those?" I asked. "You don't need one. That disease isn't around anymore."

Uh-huh. I never bought that. I always knew somebody somewhere had to have it, and I wanted my damn shot.

Then I got older and realized how nasty this stuff is, and I wanted my damn shot.

Then rumors began to spread of countries harboring the illness in labs, and I wanted my damn shot.

I think some people are under the illusion that if you survive smallpox - big if - you can go on to lead a normal life.

I met someone who survived it.

There was an elderly couple who sat behind us at the Georgia games last year. She was a smallpox survivor. This photo depicts the disfiguring aspect of the illness. I had always thought that if you beat smallpox, you healed, or for the most part anyway. I was wrong. She looks exactly like the boy in that photo.

It isn't enough that she had to endure near death pain and torturous illness, she has had to go the duration of her life with these disfiguring scars. And I am being kind by saying so little about it. It is truly a shocking site to behold. I can not begin to imagine what she went through.

I'm not trying to be an alarmist. I'm just saying. What's with that false sense of security we had going on in the 70s? I can't imagine why that vaccine didn't remain in rotation with the MMR and others which we continue as routine.

Spilt milk, I know. And we fought the battle before. And plans are underway to prepare, should we need to fight it again.

According to this site, the United States is negotiating for the manufacture of 300 million vaccines, enough to treat our entire population. 54 million are estimated to be complete by next summer. But the information feels outdated (if not forgotten), and at this rate, it could be a while.

Conclusion? Here it goes: This is one uncomfortable window. So basically, I'm left wondering, first, if anyone else is freaked out about this, and second, if anyone else has any words of comfort.

If not, make something up.

posted by Key on 05:56 PM | Comments (15)

I wouldn't worry about that vaccine, Key. If weaponized smallpox is ever deployed it will be a genetically altered version, like the story said. Immune to the vaccine. I have a smallpox vac scar, or course. And so did many Indians in Grade-B westerns, amazingly.

I always feared polio as a child. You should have seen all the victims my age as a child. The Cure was out there, but people were lax about getting their kids dosed. They used to give you a series of sugar cubes with a purple drop on it. Wait. That was acid. Anyway, polio is scary stuff.

Posted by: Velociman at January 14, 2005 10:19 PM

When I had my vaccination, I was in the 1st grade (administered free by the schools), I never told my mother about it.
Needless to say when it scabbed over and my mother saw it, she asked what had happened and I replied "I don't know" she begin to try and see what happened. After a day of probing with a needle I finally remembered the vaccination and told her so.
With out any hesitation she proceeded to give me a "vaccination" on my rear with out remorse on her part.
As Vman says my vaccination is well past being effective as that was in 1944 when I got it.

Posted by: Jerry at January 14, 2005 10:38 PM

Hmm, strange that you bring this up now. I just finished Demon in the Freezer by RIchard Preston and its the scariest book I've ever read. Forget about the smallpox vacination. The weaponized stuff has no defense and they will mix it with Anthrax.

See my two posts on the subject.

Oh and also figured out how to kill comment spam dead. Have your people call my people. Seriously.

Posted by: Jesse at January 14, 2005 11:08 PM

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it as much either IF I'D ALREADY HAD THE VACCINE. Heh. Thanks though.

The whole mutant variety version is comforting, and I did read that earlier, even if I chose not to acknowledge it.

I don't deal well with multilation, torture, disfiguration, etc. And this one seems to have it all.

Posted by: Key at January 14, 2005 11:11 PM

Jesse, check the link on the first word! You get the hat tip on this one!

Posted by: Key at January 14, 2005 11:13 PM

Crap, My trackback ain't working or I'd have noticed that right off. I just wandered over becasue I haven't been here for awhile and saw your story, not realizing...

Scary shit huh?

on a lighter note:
Haven't had any comment spam for over three days now.

Change the name of mt-comments.cgi and it's reference in mt.cfg

Also add mt-approval plug-in and it works!

Posted by: Jesse at January 14, 2005 11:39 PM

Key, the smallpox vaccine is actually still effective up to four days after infection, and the rate of spread is not instantaneous, so the situation is not quite as grim as it first appears.

Precautions should be taken, but it is a matter of priorities. In a risk-analysis, the outcome of the risk is one factor that must be weighed, and yes, a terrible outcome increases the weight, but that must be balanced against the probability of that risk occurring. There are other, far higher probability risks that concern me more than smallpox.

I know how to build an atomic bomb. Actually, I know more than one way to build an atomic bomb. I'm a Physicist, you know. All I need are the materials.

That is one of the risks that concern me, and we don't have infinite money, so we have to make priorities.

Posted by: Jack at January 15, 2005 05:18 AM

Do you realize the LEGAL LIABILITY you're talking about? Let one person die from an allergic reaction to a smallpox vaccine and some jury will award the family 100 gadzillion dollars and bankrupt the drug company.

Ask me again why we don't vaccinate people.

Posted by: Acidman at January 15, 2005 10:12 AM

Bullshit. People have allergic reactions to polio and MMR vaccinations, yet we don't discontinue those.

It is estimated that if all 300 million of us receive the injection, 300 will die of an allergic reaction. Literally one in a million.

But I'm all for making it optional. I'll pay for the injection for me and my family and sign away all liabilities.

Jack, as insane as this must sound to you, I'd rather be blown into a million pieces than die of (or survive) smallpox. Not that either appeals.

(Glad you're on our side, btw... : D)

Posted by: Key at January 15, 2005 11:15 AM

Gosh, Key...didncha know? These so-called "vaccines" are really just attempts by the imperialist Western colonial powers to spread AIDS and render our women infertile. My mullah told me so.

Posted by: zonker at January 15, 2005 12:55 PM


You need to check your facts on this one. Weaponized Smallpox mixed with Anthrax could kill up to 50 million people in 10 - 20 weeks. Read the book I referenced on my blog: "The Demon in the Freezer" and then come back and talk about weighted risk factors.

Weaponized Smallpox and Anthrax exist now and cost relatively little to make, process or store. If the Russian strains of weaponized Smallpox get out then it's lights out for Western Civilization as we know it - for pennies on the dollar compared to nuclear or chemical.

Whats even more frightening (if thats possible) is genetically modified Smallpox for which there is no vaccine possible. That would be the final blackout.

Posted by: Jesse at January 15, 2005 02:26 PM

"Whats even more frightening (if thats possible) is genetically modified Smallpox for which there is no vaccine possible. That would be the final blackout."

Everyone raise their hand that doesn't think that a bunch of Islamic (The religion of love and peace) terrorists aren't in hot pursuit of just such a weapon right this instant. Hmmmm....I didn't think so.

Posted by: Vulgorilla at January 15, 2005 09:57 PM

They cut out vacinations at the point that more people die from the vacine than die from the disease. I don't think you really want the shot.


Posted by: recondo32 at January 16, 2005 01:08 AM

As one of those one in a million people who's almost guaranteed to die from the smallpox vaccine (or just catch smallpox from it, based on my past history with vaccinations. Yup, I survived measels, mumps, and rubella simultaneously as an infant. Thank God I didn't get a polio shot, or a smallpox shot), I'm really not too comforted by that statistic thrown out. I'm really against the idea of vaccinating the entire country.

If you want a shot, and they make them available, I have no problem at all with everyone who wants one getting one. Just please don't make me get one. It's probably better for me and everyone else that it stay that way.

I don't know how I keep ending up being that one person out of the million/billion, whatever. Why does it have to be over scary stuff instead of winning the lottery, though?

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Posted by: March Madness at March 10, 2005 07:15 PM
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