immunised

We’re so immunised to deaths of Iraqi bodies, that suicide bomber killing young children in a football stadium doesn’t warrant global outrage. Boys from the ages of 10 to 16 were being presented trophies for their talents in the sport when IS killed them. Bear in mind the importance of football in Iraq, it holds the biggest form of unity to the people of Iraq, Sunni, Shi’a, Christian, none of it matters when it comes to football. IS strategically did this at a football tournament to show that nothing is safe. These were young children killed far too early. 

It’s frightening the place that white bodies hold in times like this over brown bodies. As Teju Cole once called it, we’re ‘unmournable bodies’.

Gotta NOT catch ‘em all: why Vaxcards is an immunisation game changer

Dr Dan Epstein, Vaxcards co-creator

As a child, when I got vaccinated, my doctor gave me a stale jellybean from a giant glass jar. The kind of 10-year old jellybean that crumbled and cracked when you chewed it.

I got a painful jab because my Dad said so. I wasn’t sick but somehow it stopped me getting sick. Plus I got a jellybean. So I rolled with it.

Then I grew up, became a doctor, and started interacting with parents and children following the vaccination schedule. But the reward for vaccination had not changed since I was small, and education for children and parents remained in the form of handouts and print offs.

Most people agree that vaccines should be cool, but that’s not going to happen without better education and incentives. That’s why I started Vaxcards with my friend Adam Zemski.

Vaxcards is a game, where infectious diseases are illustrated as characters based on their symptoms and distributed within a collectable trading-style battle card game.

After an immunisation, you get the collectable card as a reward. As your immunity gets stronger, so does your collectable card set.

We believe Vaxcards could be a game-changing tool for delivering education and rewards for vaccination. Here’s why:

They pitch education at children, teachers and gamers

Information disguised in a Pokémon-like character with special attack and defence moves provides a platform for children and adults to learn through play.

Disease symptoms, as defined by the World Health Organization, have been carefully worked into each character’s design and statistics as well as the game’s mechanics. These include epidemiological data on disease incidence, mortality, route(s) of transmission and microbiological classification.

Information on symptoms helps children recognise the illness, data on epidemiology gives perspective on more damaging diseases while highlighting the main route(s) of transmission shows how the spread of an infectious disease can be reduced.


They provide an incentive to vaccinate

Every generation grew up with the need to collect something. Baseball cards, Pokémon cards, Panini football cards, Barbies or Octonauts.

For every child, being vaccinated could be viewed as collecting a set of antibodies against preventable diseases.  Pairing a card game to this experience provides an incentive for children to collect the whole set. With Vaxcards, each inoculation is is represented by a special character card possessing special powers and attack moves.

Comparing collections in the playground creates a demand for stronger or a more complete set of cards. In real-life, we hope that this creates a generation of children, who will understand the gain from the pain whenever they look at a vaccination needle.


Vaxcards personalise diseases

Giving each disease a name, a face, special moves, strengths and weaknesses creates awareness of diseases that we rarely see thanks to vaccination.

This is important for understanding the potential seriousness of preventable diseases, recognising the symptoms and reminding us why we should push for eradication.


The potential to go viral….or bacterial ….

The artwork is amazing, and the characters are engaging. According to serious gamers, it is great fun to play and has robust game mechanics.

For these reasons, Vaxcards should appeal to science-minded game lovers, children, parents, teachers, health care workers or anybody who has been immunised.

Vaxcards has all the elements of a trend that could take off. If it achieves anything like the popularity of other children’s card games such as Pokémon or Digimon, the global health impact of Vaxcards could be immense.


The generational quest for herd immunity

Creating a generation of educated vaccine-getters is the most important consideration, and one of the greatest challenges of programs. Vaxcards has the potential to provide a generation more likely to vaccinate their children and take an extra step towards herd immunity.


The game that is a game-changer

In the context of increasing herd immunity, Vaxcards should be seen as an incredibly informative and engaging tool, imparting vital information about disease symptoms, warning signs of infection and epidemiological data.

More importantly, it helps children participate in the vaccination schedule. This can be very difficult to achieve, given the lack of health literacy in areas with poor immunisation coverage rates.

In the future, we hope to distribute Vaxcards alongside vaccination programs in developing areas.

In order to achieve this, we must secure funding, investment and grants to translate the game and establish a sustainable costing model that provides subsidised or free cards for areas in need of education and rewards for vaccination the most.

After all, educating a generation of vaccine recipients could prevent a range of diseases, saving many lives and dollars in the process.


If you could like to help Vaxcards expand their product’s reach, you can support them via this crowdfunding link.

Anybody interested in contacting the creators on further distribution, drop them a line at email@vaxcards.com, view their crowdfunding at kickstarter here, see their website http://www.vaxcards.com or find them on Twitter @vaxcards

ANAMNESIS

[noun]

1. the recollection or remembrance of the past; reminiscence.

2. Platonism: recollection of the Ideas, which the soul had known in a previous existence, especially by means of reasoning.

3. the medical history of a patient.

4. Immunology: a prompt immune response to a previously encountered antigen, characterised by more rapid onset and greater effectiveness of antibody and T cell reaction than during the first encounter, as after a booster shot in a previously immunised person.

5. a prayer in a Eucharistic service, recalling the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ.

Etymology: via New Latin from Greek, from anamimnēskein, “to recall”, from mimnēskein, “to call to mind”.

[Jana Heidersdorf - All That Remains]

Victim of Nazi medical experiment immersed in freezing water at Dachau concentration camp. SS doctor Sigmund Rascher oversees the experiment. Germany, 1942

Physicians within the third reich would regularly carry out entirely unethical human experimentation on concentration camp prisoners, These experiments would serve a variety of purposes, one of the most important was to aid their military efforts during the war, they would perform a number of tests on prisoners to determine the likes of safe altitudes using low pressure chambers, the effects - and treatment for - hypothermia and how to make sea water potable.

They also tested in a more general medical sense, looking for immunisations for a number of diseases, such as typhus, malaria, hepatitis, tuberculosis and yellow fever.  They also tested bone grafting on non-consenting patients, and the effects and treatment for exposure to mustard gas and other chemical warfare.

Due to the eugenic ideals behind the mass ethnic cleansing that was occurring, doctors also used medical experimentation to advance their ideals, looking at how different races responded to different contagious diseases, and used these results to reinforce their ideas of racial inferiority. The most notorious physician who was involved in these particular experiments  was Dr. Josef Mengele.

ANAMNESIS

[noun]

1. the recollection or remembrance of the past; reminiscence.

2. Platonism: recollection of the Ideas, which the soul had known in a previous existence, especially by means of reasoning.

3. the medical history of a patient.

4. Immunology: a prompt immune response to a previously encountered antigen, characterised by more rapid onset and greater effectiveness of antibody and T cell reaction than during the first encounter, as after a booster shot in a previously immunised person.

5. a prayer in a Eucharistic service, recalling the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ.

Etymology: via New Latin from Greek, from anamimnēskein, “to recall”, from mimnēskein, “to call to mind”.

[Caitlin Hackett - Keep the Memories]

How vaccines work for a community

Ever wondered why people talk about immunisation as being important for a community, as well as for an individual? The effect in question is called herd immunity, and it means that when a group is mostly immunised, those who can’t get vaccinated are much better protected from harm since the disease isn’t as easily passed on.

Thanks to Dr Nathan Boostra for reminding us of this great graphic on Twitter!  

sciencealert.com
The FDA just approved the first human trials of a Zika vaccine
Here we go.
By Peter Dockrill

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first human tests of an experimental Zika virus vaccine, the makers of the drug announced on Monday.

Called GLS–5700, the medication will be used in a clinical trial involving 40 healthy people, and represents the first major step towards ultimately immunising people against Zika – which was declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in February.

“We are proud to have attained the approval to initiate the first Zika vaccine study in human volunteers,” said J. Joseph Kim, president and CEO of US-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals, which is developing the vaccine with South Korean partner, GeneOne Life Science. “We plan to dose our first subjects in the next weeks and expect to report phase 1 interim results later this year.”

GLS–5700 works by stimulating the body’s immune system to defend itself against Zika. Synthetic fragments of viral DNA are injected into the skin, prompting the immune system’s T cells to generate antibodies to fight the infection.

Continue Reading.

If you choose not to immunise your kids you are literally opening up the entire community, especially your own and other children, to deadly and/or debilitating diseases and you should be thrown in fucking jail.

You guys might not remember because you were probably [about 14] but do you remember when they were trying to bring in the cervical cancer shot? And they wanted to immunise all teenage girls?
—  Professor, said in a tone of voice that made it clear that he didn’t expect any of us to know what he was talking about, like gardasil was some brief conversation politicians had this one time

Vaccination crackdown: Australia announces end to religious exemptions

Remaining religious group, Christian Scientists, removed from exemption list and doctors incentive payments lifted under fresh push to lift vaccination rates

Doctors will be given incentive payments so that parents stick to their children’s vaccination schedule, and the one religious exemption to vaccinations will end, as part of a push by the federal government to boost the immunisation rate.

Social services minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced that the only religious group currently able to claim religious exemptions for vaccinations, Christian Scientists, will no longer be able to do so.

Morrison said the exemption, in place since 1998, “is no longer current or necessary and will therefore be removed”.

“Having resolved this outstanding matter, the government will not be receiving nor authorising any further vaccination exemption applications from religious organisations,” he said.

Families will still be able to claim exemptions to vaccinations on medical grounds. “This will remain the sole ground for exemption under the Coalition government,” Morrison said.

Calls to representatives of Christian Science were not returned.

The tightening of the rules around exemptions is part of the government’s $26m package on boosting immunisation rates, which was due to be announced in detail on Sunday.

The package will include a public awareness campaign to sell the benefits of vaccinations to parents, the incentive payments for medical providers, and improved public vaccination records.

(More from The Guardian)

The parents refusing to vaccinate their children against polio

By Shaimaa KhalilBBC News, Karachi

There have been more than 200 cases of polio in Pakistan since January - the first time infections have reached this level in nearly 15 years. Despite this, not everyone wants their children to be vaccinated.

Abrar Khan, who is 26, makes his way into a poor neighbourhood of Karachi called Baldia.

On his crutches, he carefully avoids potholes and dirty cesspools in the narrow alleyways lined, on both sides, with small houses.

He contracted polio when he was three. Now he’s part of a team trying to change the minds of families who refuse to have their children vaccinated.

Many people here think the polio vaccination campaign is a western conspiracy to sterilise their children - it’s an idea the Taliban have been putting about for 10 years now.

In 2012 the militants ordered a complete ban on vaccinations in the tribal areas in western Pakistan as a response to US drone attacks.

Since then there’s been no immunisation in that area.

As a result, says the children’s charity Unicef, nearly 300,000 children have missed out on vaccination in that area in the last two years.

Most of the residents of Baldia came originally from Pakistan’s tribal areas and most are reluctant to immunise their children.

Yet this is considered a high risk area for polio and I can see why. There’s no sanitation to speak of.

(More from BBC News)