Engineer & Entertain

Ideas I grapple with


Across the nation, select parents are avoiding immunizing their children and electing to use a variant of a pox party.  Parents are using a sucker licked by a sick child to introduce the disease to their child.  It should be noted this action is not condoned or recommended as it would likely be detrimental to the child’s health.  Furthermore, it is illegal to mail a biological substance without safe packaging.  If you are curious as to the requirements, here is a 54 page document detailing how to mail a biologic entity.

Before the chicken pox (Varicella) vaccine there was rationale, albeit incredibly weak, to exposing a child to chicken pox.  After all, isn’t that what we do now with a vaccine – expose a person to a disease to build immunity?  Yes and no, but mostly no.  The lollipox may transmit chicken pox, but at an unknown dose.  The child could receive a mild infection or incredibly strong one resulting in dangerous complications.  It could also transmit any other disease the person had when they licked the sucker.  A vaccine has  a measured and specific dose with known ingredients and risks.

Quality assurance aside, chicken pox is egregiously considered a childhood rite of passage.  Although complications are rare, it is still a very serious disease.  Vaccination is required for children to attend Indiana schools if they have not previously contracted the disease.  Immunization is recommended because the risk is low for serious complications (2.2 per 100,000 people). The child and parent may need one day off of school and work to receive the vaccine.  If the student contracted the disease they may be absent and require care for 1 – 2 weeks.  Complications like pneumonia could also result.


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