I now have the cable to fix my car, and then I can find out what else has rusted up after its month-long furlough as a lawn ornament. I’m not going to do it myself. I do have a trolley jack so I can lift it easily enough, but I don’t have axle stands. The way this year has been going I am not confident that getting under a car that’s just on a jack is in any way going to go well. I’ll call the mechanic.
The cable came from United Arab Emirates. In under a week. I had a text to say there was import duty, as expected, but shortly afterwards Fedex showed up with the cable. I guess they trusted me to pay the duty later, so I did. Under a week to get one from halfway across the planet. The local dealer hasn’t got one yet.
I’m going to get the other one too, when it arrives. This part is absolutely critical, the car simply will not move at all without it so I’d like to be ready in case it happens again. Also, it’s a part that is clearly in very short supply in this part of the world so when I sell the car I can put the spare cable on eBay, assuming I haven’t used it. The third one I have stopped, I am really not likely to need three.
The arrival of this cable, I hope, means my luck is changing. It’s been pretty crap so far this year.
Now, vaccines. I am a microbiologist and have dealt with some nasty diseases but never with vaccines. The stuff I’ve dealt with is all intestinal and I’ve developed treatments, not vaccines. However, it’s all part of the subject area so I do know a little.
There are no antivaxxer microbiologists. You can’t get on the undergraduate course without a basic set of vaccines otherwise you’re just a liability in practical classes. Tetanus, TB, polio, that sort of thing. They don’t want you catching something from the stuff you’re handling even if it seems, on the face of it, harmless. It might be contaminated.
I don’t know for sure but I suspect the same is true in most areas of biology or any of the environmental sciences. If a student catches something in a practical class or on a field trip, the college or university risks getting sued all to hell. Imagine a geology field trip where a student trips, cuts themselves and gets tetanus. Hoo boy, it’s lawyer time.
As you move up in the field you come into contact with more dangerous stuff (especially when you specialise in gut bacteria) and then you get more needles stuck into you. I have a list somewhere. If you want to visit certain countries where yellow fever is present, you have to have a certificate of vaccination or they’ll turn you around at the airport. I don’t have that one. I did get rabies vaccine before visiting China, but that doesn’t make me rabies-proof. It simply gives me time to get to a hospital before I start frothing at the mouth and biting people.
Antivaxxers aren’t just putting their children at risk of disease. They are seriously limiting their future career options. Unvaccinated kids cannot get on to medical or veterinary courses. Pretty much no biological science courses. I bet they won’t even let an unvaccinated cleaner into a hospital.
The parents of this generation don’t know much about measles or mumps or a host of other things we had to deal with before there were vaccines. They consider them ‘childhood illnesses’ that kids just have to get through. I had to catch them all and some of them are real bastards. If there had been vaccines against measles or mumps when I was a kid, and my parents put me through those horrors anyway, I’d be furious. Mumps isn’t just a bit of swelling. It hurts like hell. Measles isn’t just spottiness. It’s horrible and it can kill.
Scarlet fever, German measles, chicken pox… I road tested the whole lot as a kid because there were no vaccines to stop them. You’ll all be familiar with the antivaxxer line ‘Oh but years back kids were only injected with eight vaccines, now they get dozens’. That’s because years ago we only had eight effective vaccines. We didn’t have vaccines against all the diseases I went through in childhood. In most cases, now we do.
It’s true that not all vaccinations are safe. Polio is a case in point. There are two vaccinations, injected or oral. The injected one puts a load of dead virus into you, there can be no infection, your immune system just forms antibodies against the alien proteins. The oral one uses a live but attenuated virus. You get a weak infection which your immune system soon clears up. The risk is that a live virus can mutate back into its nasty form. It has happened.
This is how a virus works. There is no intelligence involved.
Imagine one of your body cells as a factory making important stuff. Someone gets in and makes a subfactory that hijacks your production line to make something else and also the packaging to put it in. The thing is, their staff are blind, drunken idiots. What they put into the packaging won’t always work because it’s often the wrong stuff. Sometimes the packaging is faulty and won’t stick to what it’s supposed to stick to. The workers don’t care, they make so many copies that a few are bound to be right.
Once in a while they make a packaging that sticks to a different receptor. Once in a while they pack in some new genes that the original plan didn’t have. These events are rare, in the order of one in a hundred million, but they are producing billions. So the new combinations, like the infinite monekys typing Shakespeare’s plays at random, will happen.
Polio doesn’t change much even though it’s an RNA virus like the coronaviruses. Its effective configuration is in a small range and mutations don’t do well. Vaccination can work. Coronaviruses are like ninjas, they have a wider range of effective configurations so the tiny bastards just keep coming back. Sometimes with a mild cold, sometimes with a killer flu.
There is no vaccine against tthe common cold and no truly effective vaccine against any form of the flu. There won’t be one against this new Flu Manchu either. Ever. Some things simply cannot be vaccinated against. Immunity is the only way to go.
The Bill Gates vaccine is based on an idea that has never produced a marketable vaccine. It’s a stupid idea. It gets DNA ro RNA into your cells so your own body produces virus surface protein and your immune system then attacks… you. An autoimmune disease. It will never work.
Unless your goal is population reduction. Then it will be very effective indeed.