The CDC’s Vaccine Quiz Tells You Which Vaccines to Get as an Adult

Autism or death from pneumococcal meningitis. It’s a simple choice, really 😉

By your early 20s, there’s a good chance you are due for some boosters, said Dr. Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. You may also “need to play catch-up” if you’ve missed any vaccines or failed to complete a series, she said.

Everyone needs a tetanus and diphtheria booster every 10 years; the shots are often combined. So if you were 12 the last time you had a tetanus shot, you’re due for one at 22.

Adults ages 19 to 64 should also get a pertussis, or whooping cough, booster. Pregnant women should be vaccinated against pertussis toward the end of each pregnancy in order to protect their newborns from this disease, which can be devastating for a baby.

Source: Ask Well: Booster Shots for Grown-Ups

Here’s the direct link to the CDC online vaccination quiz.  And just because some people get bad reactions, doesn’t mean we all should avoid them.

Doctors are always impressed by my exact knowledge of my last tetanus shot – March, 2015.  I broke ribs, will never forget that.  The pain that came from sneezing, coughing or even laughing…

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Vaccinations Have Reduced HPV in Teenage Girls by Nearly Two-Thirds

A decade after its introduction, the vaccine for human papillomavirus has reduced the prevalence of this cancer-causing STD in teenage girls by nearly two-thirds. It’s an incredible success story, leading experts to question why HPV vaccinations aren’t more common in the United States.

Source: Vaccinations Have Reduced HPV in Teenage Girls by Nearly Two-Thirds

I’m convinced that people who think that providing birth control, sex ed, or this vaccine will make teens more promiscuous don’t remember being a teenager. The majority of teens are going to have sex. If you don’t give them the tools and knowledge to have safe sex, they will have unsafe sex. No matter how icky you find it or how much you don’t want them to do it, it’s going to happen.

Scientists Have Come Up With a ‘Vaccine’ Against Designer Drugs

Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have just published the results of a study done on a special kind of vaccine in the journal Angewandte Chemie. This vaccine does not guard against a virus. Instead, it blocks the effects of synthetic designer drugs.

Source: Scientists Have Come Up With a ‘Vaccine’ Against Designer Drugs

I know a few who’ve lost loved ones to fentanyl overdoses, so similar to the ability to reverse heroin overdoses – this can be divisive.

Three Little [Gene-Edited] Pigs Are Immune to Problematic Viruses

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) gives pigs a fever and cough, but it costs American swine farmers over $600 million a year. Vaccines have been ineffective at fighting it, as has breeding pigs to be resistant. Last year, researchers in the Midwest used CRISPR-Cas9-based gene engineering to generate pigs that lack CD163, the protein that PRRS uses to infect its target cells in pigs. Now, the same team just demonstrated that the pigs lacking the receptor don’t get sick when exposed to PRRS.

Source: Three little (gene-edited) pigs are immune to problematic viruses

While the science is pretty cool, in some ways I’m more interested to see how this type of manipulation is going to play out in terms of IP law. I presume it means that pig farmers will have to purchase a license and will be forbidden to breed the animals (or be fined for any hybrids found on their property), based on how it’s worked out in the corn industry.

I’m a bit skeptical of the statement that knocking out CD163 did not affect the pigs in any adverse way. In humans, the function of CD163 is:

as an acute phase-regulated receptor involved in the clearance and endocytosis of hemoglobin/haptoglobin complexes by macrophages, and may thereby protect tissues from free hemoglobin-mediated oxidative damage. This protein may also function as an innate immune sensor for bacteria and inducer of local inflammation.

I wonder if these knockout pigs might be more at risk for other diseases. The pigs were sacrificed at 1 month, so I doubt the researchers know yet.

Universal Flu Shots May Be Impossible, Thanks to Duped Immune Cells

Ditching annual flu shots for a single stick that can protect year after year may be even harder to do than scientists thought—thanks to our own bamboozled immune systems.

Source: Universal flu shots may be impossible thanks to duped immune cells

The major point of the study was to determine if regular, annual flu shots could actually be compromising the body’s ability to target the stalk.  If a vaccine was released that targeted something else, that may well give the body the leg-up it needs to out-compete the native-grown immune response.

Remember that a vaccine isn’t telling the body how to react.  The vaccine merely introduces to the immune system some aspect of the virus so that when the virus really shows up, the machinery is primed and ready to go.

Unfortunately for us, the destroyed bits of virus that make up the current flu shot are reacted to by going for the easiest target, i.e. the heads. A vaccine consisting of just the stalks with something that stimulates the immune cells to grab on, would do the trick.  But that’s where the hard work lies.

Princesses, Slaves, and Explosives: The Scandalous Origin of Vaccines

The history of inoculation may sound a little dry, but it’s really an epic tale of human trafficking, semi-illicit experimentation, and high explosives. It’s a globe-hopping story that stars harem girls, noblewomen, prisoners, princesses, slaves, and even a witch hunter.

Source: Princesses, Slaves, and Explosives: The Scandalous Origin of Vaccines

Does this smell like chloroform smallpox? 😉

Reminding People of the Dangers of Diseases Boosts Vaccine Acceptance

The US has seen an increasing number of outbreaks from some communicable diseases that can easily be controlled through vaccination, but there has been a parallel increase in the number of parents who are choosing not to vaccinate their children. In part because there are a lot of reasons that the vaccination rate is dropping (unfounded fears about vaccine safety and mistrust of pharmaceutical companies are two), it’s not clear that a single intervention will reverse this trend.

A pair of papers released this week looked at two very different approaches, one focused on individuals and a second at state-level laws. They show that it’s relatively simple to change both attitudes and actions on vaccination.

Source: Reminding people of the dangers of diseases boosts vaccine acceptance

I’ve always been seriously aggravated by the anti-vaccination groups. This is a classic example of the prisoner’s dilemma or similar game theories. Society as a whole loses out because these people believe bunk science.

Although… to be a prisoner’s dilemma there would technically have to be a winning position gained by not getting vaccinated and a loser’s outcome for getting vaccinated. Since there’s not, I guess these people are just dicks then:

You’re reading it in my voice, aren’t you?

The US Is Finally Getting Access to a Promising Cancer Drug From Cuba

Tourism isn’t the only industry eager to benefit from the relaxing of the decades-long trade embargo against Cuba. Medical researchers on both of sides of the Straits of Florida now have the chance to collaborate with previously off-limits colleagues. Of particular interest to the U.S. is a Cuban lung cancer drug that took 25 years to develop.

Source: The US Is Finally Getting Access to a Promising Cancer Drug From Cuba

Study: Common Herpes Medication Reduces HIV-1 Levels, Independent of Herpes Infection

Case Western Reserve researchers are part of an international team that has discovered that a common herpes drug reduces HIV-1 levels — even when patients do not have herpes.

Published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases, the finding rebuts earlier scientific assumptions that Valacyclovir (brand name, Valtrex) required the presence of the other infection to benefit patients with HIV-1.

The result not only means that Valacyclovir can be used effectively with a broader range of HIV-1 patients, but also suggests promising new avenues for the development of HIV-fighting drugs. This insight is particularly significant given that some forms of HIV-1 have become resistant to existing medications.

…HIV-1 can lead to the immune deficiency known as AIDS. The herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) causes periodic recurrence of genital herpes lesions, which increase the likelihood that a herpes sufferer may contract HIV through intimate contact. HSV-2 outbreaks are treated with either Acyclovir or the newer generation Valacyclovir, which requires less frequent dosing.

Source: Common herpes medication reduces HIV-1 levels, independent of herpes infection

Wouldn’t be the first time a drug showed this type of cross-reactivity. Lamivudine started as an anti-HIV drug and ended up being effective as an anti-HBV drug as well.  HIV is a retrovirus and HBV is a pararetrovirus – both of which have reverse transcriptase but HBV exists as a DNA virus outside the host cell while HIV exists as a RNA virus outside the host cell. This is important because RNA is more prone to mutations (thus the viral proteins made from the viral RNA avoid the antibodies custom made by the immune system from vaccines) while DNA is more stable in structure (the antibodies are able to target the common motif of the viral proteins made from the viral DNA and kill them before they have a chance to infect the organism). This explains why we have a HBV vaccine, but not an HIV vaccine.

Recent research also suggests that the chickenpox vaccine may help with herpes.  Which shouldn’t be much of a surprise – chickenpox is a form of herpes.