May 25 2013


We ought, I thought (and thought I knew),
With some diseases, be all through—
There’s no excuse, I used to scoff,
To deal today with Whooping Cough.
We’ve got vaccines! And people know
It doesn’t cost a lot of dough
Compare the cost to other stuff
And really, now, it isn’t tough
To gain the health vaccines allow,
To run a shop, or push a plough…
Let’s hope vaccines again will pick-up,
And these few cases are just a hiccough.

Actually, I had a student who had had whooping cough. No excuse for it; it’s vaccine preventable, and it’s just horrible. In a classroom of students at the height of the vaccine paranoia (thanks, Wakefield), this student was a staunch advocate of vaccines. It is only a culture that is too unfamiliar with disease that has the luxury of vaccine denial.

Anyway, I also want to give a plug for my pal Kylie, who emailed me the following:

The documentary Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines <http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/decoding_immortality_and_jabbed_love_fear_and_vaccines>  will be airing this Sunday on Australia’s SBS and I’ll be live-blogging it for overseas interested people (I think it will be online for all eventually). In the documentary, Sonya Pemberton interviewed people world-wide on what she has said is the “conversation, not debate, we need to have”.

The new Token Skeptic podcast is a live-radio show I did with Assoc. Professor Peter Richmond, from the Vaccines Trial Group here in Perth <http://tokenskeptic.org/2013/05/25/episode-one-hundred-and-sixty-one-on-vaccinations-interview-with-associate-professor-peter-richmond/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter>  on what people can do to get the facts and even help contribute to the Meningococcal B vaccine, by taking part in trials.

More information on the Token Skeptic blog at On Vaccinations – Australia Continues To Take A Stand For Health – Token Skeptic Podcast <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tokenskeptic/2013/05/on-vaccinations-australia-continues-to-take-a-stand-for-health-token-skeptic-podcast/> .


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  1. 1
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I just posted about a new book addressing another important element: the slashing, as part of austerity programs, of budgets for social welfare and public health, and more specifically for infectious disease prevention.

    The anti-vaccine movement gets a lot of (justified and needed) attention, but these policy issues receive little.

  2. 2
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    (Oh, and I love the clever poem.)

  3. 3

    But you have to slash programs that benefit the poor and prevent greater costs in the long run, because…. ok, I got nothing.

  4. 4
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Yes, well, so much for your dreams of being appointed IMF Poet Laureate.

  5. 5

    But you have to slash programs that benefit the poor and prevent greater costs in the long run, because…

    Because money flows up, not down. Those greater costs won’t be funded by money defying antigravity, you know.

  6. 6
    Pierce R. Butler

    Re: verse – Wough!

  7. 7
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    I had whooping cough a few years ago (I was vaccinated as a child, but that was a looooong time ago, and apparently either the vaccines weren’t perfect back then or the immunity isn’t permanent). I was so unfamiliar with the disease — I had never know anyone who’d had it — that I quite seriously had to ask my doctor if it was fatal.

    Followed by, I might add, a week of almost wishing it were!

  8. 8
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    know = known


  9. 9

    @5- yes. Money flows up. Like oil. And s… fecal matter.

  10. 10

    I just reread the poem and realized you misspelled “plough.”

  11. 11

    Thanks for your wonderful post i really liked it . in fact your poem that was amazing to read it and 10 times i read it thoroughly…

  12. 12


    The hilarious (to me) thing is, I had a list of words to get into the verse, written just above it, and I removed them as I used them. I had to actively look at the word “plough”, type “plow”, then delete the word “plough”… either I’m losing my touch, or maybe this was just a little hiccup.

  13. 13

    The rest of it was up to snuff;
    Five out of six is good enough.

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