FOOD SAFETY: Letter from the Editor: Leadership and vaccination resistance

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

FOOD SAFETY:

Opinion

Spoiler Alert! I like vaccinations.

Two of my childhood friends, one with mean leg braces, and the other in a wheelchair, were both polio victims. On October 1, will celebrate World Polio Day. 24, and I was happy to learn that we’ve achieved a 99.9 percent worldwide reduction in polio cases over the past three decades. The wild poliovirus regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan are the areas that prevent total elimination of polio.

Then there’s sub-Saharan Africa, where half a million people die every year from Malaria. There, the RTS S Malaria vaccine, is a game-changer and “the most exciting news in many years.”

And if I didn’t know better, I would say that we are doing great with vaccines. Let’s take, for instance, the last regular school year. That would be the 2019-20 school year. Our vaccination rate for all those childhood diseases — diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis) was 95 percent.

By contrast, the situation we’re in with the COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States is embarrassing. It’s all complicated and confusing. We are coming up on December anniversary dates when the COVID-19 vaccinations became available. Yet about 117 million Americans have yet to get their first shot.

About 216 million or 65.3 percent received at least one vaccination and 187 million Americans are “fully vaccinated.” Another 7 million of us have gone in for the “booster” shot. We don’t look as good as many European countries, and the “mandatemania” is making people clamor

.

If public attitudes towards vaccinations change in a permanent way, then we are in serious trouble. What is the next step in this mandate approach? There are no SNAP benefits for vaccinations. Child credits are not available. I believe vaccination resistance is a symptom and not a disease.

Who is to blame? It doesn’t matter who, but it’s important to acknowledge that the FDA’s Gold Standard as well as the CDC’s Papal Infallibility took some hits during the pandemic. Many of these were self-inflicted. It’s been an epic crisis communications failure.

If federal public health agencies don’t understand the extent of their losses, there is probably nothing we can do to help them. There is no one left in public health who has the credibility to convince doubters to get vaccines.

I wonder if this questionable leadership could have been avoided if Scott Gottlieb, former FDA Commissioner, had not resigned before the pandemic. On April 5, 2019, he resigned from government well before the bad news about the Wuhan Institute of Virology

With his book and the smooth comments on TV, it’s fair to wonder if anyone would have ever heard of Tony Fauci had Scott Gottlieb been running FDA.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, who took over as Commissioner on Dec. 17, 2019, is a cancer doctor. Although he was skilled at managing large organizations, viruses weren’t his forte. COVID-19 did put Hahn on television, but he did not look comfortable.

The CDC’s problem was that it fell out of its box, even though we had high confidence in its ability. The early distribution of defective coronavirus testing kits, which were distributed to public health laboratories during the pandemic, did not help the CDC. Poor quality control was blamed. The faulty test kit put the U.S. behind other countries that had tested millions of people before we recovered.

It damaged Director Robert R. Redfield and some questioned CDC’s actual past performance in light of the fairly recent2014 — breach of Ebola in one of its Atlanta laboratories. The investigation found the deadly virus was incorrectly marked and moved within the facility. People went back over the ground, which was pre Redfield, because there is a possibility that the Wuhan lab breach is responsible for the pandemic.

In the new administration, Dr. Rochelle Walensky will be the CDC director and Janet Woodcock will act as Acting Commissioner for FDA. Although Dr. Walensky is not always upbeat, she has made many important announcements. However, critics found her erratic, and questioned the authority she gives to the union representing teachers in CDC’s direction.

Woodcock is a former FDA executive and was told by the president that he wants someone else to fill the position. The White House has yet to name an Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA. This means that the administration cannot fight the pandemic without filling two of its top public health posts.

One has to wonder if America’s pro-vaccination tradition is being challenged by a lack of credible leadership.

So for reasons that we are told involve their fears, religious beliefs, or unique medical issues, for some of the 117 million Americans who still have not obtained COVID vaccinations that have been available for free for the past year.

We will have to wait to see if vaccination beliefs in the United States have changed or if there is more pandemic fear, paranoia and paranoia.

It’s starting to look like around one-third has changed their beliefs or is having second thoughts. Experts say attitudes can be changed, but beliefs like those described by opinion experts are difficult to change. T he Pandemic was more dramatic for some people than for others.

Our herd has not received sufficient vaccines yet for our population to enjoy immunity from COVID-19. It’s terrible, but we don’t have to be violent about it. There are other methods of persuasion.

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