Australia’s “No jab, no pay” policy showing positive results

The Medical Journal of Australia has published an article “No jab, no pay”: catch‐up vaccination activity during its first two years.

Objectives: To assess catch‐up vaccination of older children and adolescents during the first two years of the “No jab, no pay” policy linking eligibility for federal family assistance payments with childhood vaccination status.


Conclusions: Linking family assistance payments with childhood vaccination status and associated program improvements were followed by substantial catch‐up vaccination activity, particularly in young people from families of lower socio‐economic status.

Go and read it.

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Quadrivalent HPV Vaccine study shows it to be exceptionally effective

A study on the Effectiveness of HPV Vaccination has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It’s titled “HPV Vaccination and the Risk of Invasive Cervical Cancer“.

From the Background:

The efficacy and effectiveness of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in preventing high-grade cervical lesions have been shown. However, data to inform the relationship between quadrivalent HPV vaccination and the subsequent risk of invasive cervical cancer are lacking.

The study used data from Sweden and followed 1,672,983 girls and women between the ages of 10 and 30.

The results were unequivocal.

The cumulative incidence of cervical cancer was 47 cases per 100,000 persons among women who had been vaccinated and 94 cases per 100,000 persons among those who had not been vaccinated.

That’s a halving of risk. Impressive by any standard. But when the researchers controlled for other variables, the results were even better.

After adjustment for all covariates, the incidence rate ratio was 0.12 (95% CI, 0.00 to 0.34) among women who had been vaccinated before the age of 17 years and 0.47 (95% CI, 0.27 to 0.75) among women who had been vaccinated at the age of 17 to 30 years.

The subject is no longer up for discussion. Quadrivalent HPV Vaccine slashed the risk of developing Cervical Cancer by more than half. That doesn’t include results from any of the other cancers linked to HPV – penile, anal, oral, and throat, among others.

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What the blazes is wrong with U.S. Police?

A few days ago, a 13 year old autistic was shot by Salt Lake City Police who had been summoned by his mother. Golda Barton called Police when her son Linden Cameron started to have a meltdown. After they arrived, Linden bolted and was shot several times. Barton is now livid and wants to know why the officers did not first use rubber bullets or tasers before firing live ammunition.

The scenario of U.S. Police officers jumping straight to excessive violence is now a cliché. Far too often, when responding to a call, the action is shoot first and ask questions later. This is particularly true when black people are involved, as the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake (among others) know all too well. Whenever I see a news story about a police officer shooting someone, it’s from the U.S. A hugely disproportionate ratio of police shootings occur there. In every other democracy, police hardly ever kill.

There is also a complete failure in the U.S. to hold police officers to account. In George Floyd’s case, two of the officers had multiple complaints against them. They should have been either dismissed or very closely supervised, yet they weren’t.
During the recent “Black Lives Matter” protests, Police Departments have made statements about what happened, only for actual camera evidence to prove the comments false, or even outright lies. This raises the question of how long has this lying been going on.

The slogan “defund the police” has been bandied about. The proposal is to cut police funding and use it on things like mental health awareness, and less aggressive means of dealing with situations. The hope is that fewer interactions will end in tragedy. Whatever is done, it can not be denied that the situation in the U.S. needs to change. Too many people are needlessly dying from disproportionate violence by the Police.

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“Exemptions for sale” doc Tara Zandvliet placed on probation, banned from writing vaccine exemptions

Californian physician Tara Zandvliet has been banned from writing vaccine exemptions.
After a 2015 measles outbreak centered at Disneyland, the California Legislature drew up and passed SB276, a Bill that removed non-medical exemptions. In response, unethical doctors began hawking medical exemptions to antivaccine parents. These typically used invalid reasons to exempt. Zandvliet was one such doctor. In three years, she wrote some 1,000 of them. Now she has been placed on probation and permanently barred from writing exemptions. In addition, every exemption she wrote has been voided.

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I hate fraudsters

Late last month, I was surfing the internet at night when a notification from my bank came through.
**Money spent at Amazon**

Since I hadn’t been on Amazon’s page at the time, I immediately phoned through to my bank’s Card Fraud hotline and alerted them. A few minutes later, my card was blocked and the transaction reported to their Fraud Unit. The money has been reimbursed after an investigation.

I’m very annoyed by it all, and I hope the person responsible is caught and prosecuted. The money wasn’t even that much – not even $30 in total. It’s just the schlep I had to deal with – going down to the bank and waiting in a queue to order a new card; having to wait extra long to do it because COVID social distancing rules mean fewer clerks to manage it; unable to do internet banking because the cancelled card was the one linked to it, and I now have to link another card so I can transact again.

Posted in Life, Segue | Tagged , ,

Africa is polio free

Some great news.
Earlier today, Africa was declared free of polio by the World Health Organisation and Africa Regional Certification Commission.

From EWN:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to certify on Tuesday that the African continent is free from wild polio, four years after the last cases appeared in north-eastern Nigeria.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world to still have cases.

Posted in Anti-antivaccination, Life | Tagged , , , , , ,

Hmm, now where have I seen this before?

Anti-antivaxxers watching the COVID-19 situation and the protests about mask wearing are feeling a strong sense of deja-vu. From quack treatments, to belittling the risks of diseases, through ludicrous claims of harm, and right up to arguments about personal rights, the parallels with the antivaccine movement are striking.

Some anti-maskers have stated that they have difficulty breathing with a mask on. Strangely enough, this condition doesn’t seem to afflict medical practitioners, many of whom wear masks for hours at a time as part of their jobs.

Hydroxycholoroquine was being pushed hard as a potential treatment for COVID-19. After proper studies were done, it is clear that it has no benefit in this role.

Worldwide, many people were (understandably) unhappy about the lockdowns, but most accepted them as necessary. Some, however, fought them or even ignored them altogether. This has been most noticeable in the U.S.

It comes as no surprise to me that the epicentre of the anti-restriction movement is the U.S. One of that country’s greatest weaknesses is while it is huge on rights, it is poor on the corresponding responsibilities of those rights. And we can see the results today – the highest and highest per capita number of infections and fatalities in the World. Admittedly, President Trump’s bungling played no small part as well, but the blatant flouting of restrictions helped lead to a complete failure in that nation to halt the spread of COVID-19.

The most striking parallel of all is the consequences. In the same way that antivaxxers have led to an increase in deaths and sequelae from vaccine-preventable diseases, the refusal to act responsibly to stop the spread of COVID-19 has seen a death toll several times higher than it should have been.

Posted in Anti-antivaccination, Background Data | Tagged , ,

Is Generation Rescue gone?

I saw the news on Left Brain Right Brain. Generation Rescue’s website has expired, the most recent post on its Facebook Page is from May, and the organisation appears to have folded.

If this is true, it is excellent news. Generation Rescue was formed in 2005. Its role was to advance the claim that thimerosal, a compound containing mercury used in vaccines as a preservative, was causing autism. And it beat that line into the ground. Many years after the “autism is mercury poisoning” idea was a failed hypothesis, it still pushed it.

I’m going to end by quoting what Matt Carey said about the end of Generation Rescue, as I can’t think of a more appropriate epitaph.

Good riddance, Generation Rescue. Autistics are better off without you. The autism communities are better off without you. The world is better off without you.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Posted in Anti-antivaccination, Autism Awareness, Background Data | Tagged , , ,

Learning about autism, and thus myself

I’ve learnt a lot about autism, and thus myself, since I began blogging.

I mentioned infodumping in my last post. Autistics like to share what they know. When I came across it, I was like “Hey, that’s me!” I used to do that all the time with my special interests, to the frequent exasperation of those around me.

Why did I flap my hands as a child when I was excited? As an adult why do I rub my hair or pace when I’m agitated? Stims! They’re my stims!

Why did I so greatly enjoy eating? Problems with my Interoception!

Why are physical sensations so intense for me? Food has more flavour, smells are more fragrant, sounds are louder and richer, colours are sharper, and touch is either unpleasant or enjoyable. Sensory Processing Disorder!

Why does music affect me to the point that when I attended a Tori Amos concert somebody thought I was tripping balls? IDK, but music often has funny effects on autistics.

I’ve also been seeing posts on autism with ADHD, and I’m starting to wonder if I’m also ADHD. The two conditions are frequently comorbid, and I’m recognising bits of myself in the ADHD symptoms and behaviours descriptions.

As the saying goes, “Know thyself”. It has been very enlightening to know myself.

Posted in Autism Awareness, Life | Tagged , , , , , ,

My old blog has gone down, and badly written “autistic” characters

A very strange thing has happened.

My blog African Jungle, along with the rest of iBlog, has disappeared. Its URL now redirects to the ITWeb homepage. Did it become too expensive to keep up?

It’s annoying to me as I had over 130,000 views when it vanished. I have fewer than 30,000 on Autism Jungle. A few months ago, I took a screenshot of my number of views.

Screen grab showing over 110,000 hits on African Jungle

Blog Hits of over 110,000

Now on to the main part of my article.

There is a fictional character who is coded as autistic who really annoys me.

Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) in The Big Bang Theory.

He is not autistic, he is a neurotypical’s conception of an autistic. And he is very offensive.

In one episode I saw (don’t ask me which), Sheldon decides he’s going to teach a course. Nobody takes it as he is viewed as obnoxious. Eventually, Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) decides he’s going to take Sheldon’s course. Sheldon is disdainful and peppers Howard with difficult questions, all of which Howard calmly answers. Reluctantly, Sheldon lets him take the course.

A real autistic would not have done that. Autistics want to share things that they know. It’s a behaviour that’s so well known, it even has its own term – infodumping.

The deeper issue with The Big Bang Theory is its anti-intellectualism. As on Frasier, the university educated characters are shown as idiots who act foolish and are consistently outsmarted by those around them. This is common on entertainment from the U.S. As Isaac Asimov famously stated, “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

I’ve seen only short snippets of The Good Doctor, whose main character is autistic, but played by a nonautistic actor. That seems more accurate, from what little I’ve seen. If anyone reading this has seen that show, please comment letting me know what you think.

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