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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."


Nunn believes a comprehensive vaccination program needs to be sufficiently funded to not only acquire enough vaccines to inoculate people who may be missed otherwise, but also to ensure transportation, delivery, and administration of the vaccines. For every $1 in supply, $5 is required for delivery costs, she says.

"2021 finds us at a crossroads. One road leads from pandemic to endemic – and what some may see as 'acceptable apathy' where the lives of the vulnerable in low-income countries are deemed less valuable... "The other road is built on understanding the true cost of vaccines and the human cost of failing to deliver vaccines to the most vulnerable, and a joint commitment by all who walk it together to equity, equality, and human dignity. Our destination is a place where each of us is safe because all of us are safe," says Nunn.

The best interests of everyone on the planet are served by an investment in comprehensive global vaccination. For 75 years, CARE has been doing lifesaving work in the global community—and while the fight against Covid is far from over, the organization invites everyone to commemorate just how far we've come.

On Tuesday, May 11, CARE will host An Evening With CARE with Whoopi Goldberg and attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Angela Merkel, Iman, Jewel, Michelle Williams, Katherine McPhee-Foster, Betty Who and others, to mark the 75th anniversary of this amazing organization and take stock of the work that lies ahead. Please RSVP now for this can't-miss opportunity.

Another day, another opportunity for a celebrity to take a brave stand against medicine. On Tuesday, actress Jessica Biel lobbied alongside anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at the California State Assembly, where they both expressed opposition to SB 276. For those unfamiliar, SB 276 is a California state bill that would effectively limit medical exemptions from vaccinations, and require a state public health officer approve such exemptions.

In laymen's terms, it would stop anti-vaxx parents from making baseless claims about why they're not vaccinating their children, because they would be required to have exemptions filtered through a medical professional.


This bill is being floated with the express purpose of protecting public health, and according to the bill's sponsors, which include the California Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatric, the bill would not block exemptions for children with actual medical issues exacerbated by vaccines.

All this being said, when pictures of Biel lobbying against a pro-vaccine bill first hit the internet, it nearly exploded with reactions.









Some people are marveling at the absurdity of an actress with no medical school going to bat against actual medical professionals. Also, the grave misuse of her platform, which could easily be leveraged to support causes rather than conspiracy theories.









Biel, upon receiving backlash, made a post on Instagram claiming she is not against vaccinations but rather wants to make sure that medical exemptions don't get cracked down on, or filtered expressly through a public health officer.



People were quick to point out the logic flaws in Biel's Instagram post, and how opposing this bill still firmly places her in the anti-vaxx camp. Also, she wrote the wrong bill number in the Instagram post.





Overall, people are disappointed to see yet another celebrity with privilege and platform cross over to the dark anti-medicine side.






This article originally appeared on SomeeCards. You can read it here.

In Philadelphia, PA, nurses used to have the right to keep an unvaccinated child out of school — until now.

Lincoln High School nurse Peg Devine explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer that, in her experience, exclusion — preventing a child from attending school until they are up to date on required vaccinations — “proved powerful.” In her 26 years on the job she kept only 15 students out of school and none of them ended up missing more than two days before proving immunization.

However, now her right to intervene has been taken away by the school district, which she finds especially concerning due to the local outbreak of mumps (so far, over 100 Temple University students have contracted the disease) and the measles outbreak in New York — less than two hours from Philadelphia.


“It’s very dangerous that you’ve got kids who are not immunized, and you have medically fragile kids,” Devine said. “It’s unprecedented.”

About 10% of children in the Philadelphia school district remain unvaccinated.

The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed several nurses from within the school district who all believe it should be their discretionary right to exclude students who were not properly vaccinated.

Colleen Quinn, the nurse at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, points out that two students at her school are receiving chemotherapy, and there are others whose immune systems are compromised, including young teachers who are pregnant. Of the 750 students at the school 42 are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. She has attempted to educate parents but often gets the “runaround.”

“If you were a parent, and you had a child in the school setting who was recovering from cancer, or recently had an organ transplant — and these are not hypothetical cases, most of us have had these cases — would you want your children in a building with students who were not immunized?” said Strawberry Mansion High School nurse Judith Cocking, who claims she has 28 non-compliant students.

The school district now says nurses can only exclude unvaccinated children on a case-by-case basis, meaning it’s no longer up to the nurses’ discretion.

[rebelmouse-image 19534861 dam="1" original_size="640x425" caption="David Haygarth/Flickr." expand=1]David Haygarth/Flickr.

Karyn Lynch, chief of student support services for the district explained that the recent shift was an attempt to standardize procedures “so that across the city, everyone is following the same process. To inequitably implement across the district would be inappropriate."

She explains that if an unvaccinated student is thought to have come into contact with someone who has an infectious disease, they will deal with it accordingly, but excluding all kids who are unvaccinated could have repercussions.

Parents in the district are less than pleased by this development. In fact, many are shocked and outraged that so many unvaccinated children are walking the halls of their children’s schools.

“I must say I was unaware and completely shocked that [vaccination] was not a compulsory requirement in the Philadelphia School District,” says Neha Ghaisas, whose son, Advik, attends Kindergarten at General George A. McCall School. “I feel that the school district should have the right to keep students away until all the vaccine requirements are fulfilled.”

Shiya Furstenau, whose son Jackson will be entering Kindergarten in the fall at William M. Meredith School, dubs the policy “unreasonable.” “I wouldn’t take my kids to a doctor’s office if they allowed patients that weren’t up to date on their vaccines,” she says. “It puts everyone at risk, especially those who are immunocompromised and our babies who haven’t been able to get vaccinated yet.”

Nicola Espie, who has one child at Chester Arthur School and another entering in the fall, points out that the mumps outbreak at Temple University, as well as the measles outbreak in New York, is proof that “we aren’t talking about a remote hypothetical.”

“People have the right to make medical decisions for their children, of course, but that right should not extend to affecting the public health and putting vulnerable populations at risk and the school district must do its part to protect our children,” she adds.

For Valentyna Abraimova, whose son attends Meredith and whose daughter will enter in the fall, the situation isn’t so black and white.

She explains that vaccinating her children wasn’t “an easy decision,” but because of the crowded classrooms in the public school system as well as the recent outbreaks, she sees the importance of it and hopes “most parents will too.”

She says that getting a nudge from the school nurse, as well as facing the threat of exclusion, is effective. Her son, Gabby, was missing his second dose of MMR. The nurse hinted that he might be suspended, and he got the shot two days later. “It might work for other families, who maybe just missed a couple of appointments or, like myself, are hesitant about vaccines and need an extra push.”

[rebelmouse-image 19534862 dam="1" original_size="725x479" caption="Photo via Pixnio" expand=1]Photo via Pixnio

However, another mother of a child whose daughter attends McCall who wishes to remain anonymous agrees with the school district’s stance: she doesn’t believe that unvaccinated children are putting those who are vaccinated at risk. “For a school of 800, there are roughly 80 who aren’t properly vaccinated, and there is a good chance they wouldn’t come into contact with one another,” she says. She also points out that the vaccinations these students haven’t gotten could be “low-risk viruses, such as the chicken pox or the flu.”

For mom Miranda Hall, the issue isn’t about vaccination itself. “The government should never be given the power to dictate someone’s medical condition as a norm. The occasional extreme, maybe, but that should be determined case-by-case. Choosing alternative immune support methods is not an extreme situation.”

As a parent myself whose child will be entering the Philadelphia school district in the fall, I firmly believe school nurses should be able to exclude students who aren’t vaccinated.

When I was attending school, nurses had the right to send home a child for any reason pertaining to health, because they were considered the school’s medical expert. Nurses, not administrators, go to school to learn about medicine, and we rely on them to take care of our children’s health needs. Why should district officials, with limited to no medical background, get to override that?

If school nurses aren’t given the opportunity to use their medical background and trained judgement to make that call on their own — especially in situations when there is an outbreak going on — the health of our children will be compromised. And if that practice becomes more widely adopted, the health of everyone in this country will be impacted, especially now that we’re dealing with more and more serious outbreaks.