Prepared Citizens

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Previous Posts

  • Michael Osterholm Quotes:

    “What we need to be doing now is the basic planning of how we get our communities through 12 to 18 months of a pandemic.”

    “Ninety-five out of 100 will live. But with the nation in crisis, will we have food and water? Are we going to have police and security? Will people come to work at all?”

    “It's the perfect setup. Then you put air travel in and it could be around the world overnight.”

    “We can predict now 12 to 18 months of stress of watching loved ones die, of wondering if you are going to have food on the table the next day. Those are all things that are going to mean that we are going to have to plan -- unlike any other crisis that we have had in literally the last 80-some years in this country.”

  • US Health and Human Services

    Secretary Michael Leavitt

    "If there is one message on pandemic preparedness that I could leave today that you would remember, it would be this:

    Any community that fails to prepare with the expectation that the federal government or for that matter the state government will be able to step forward and come to their rescue at the final hour will be tragically wrong,

    not because government will lack a will, not because we lack a collective wallet, but because there is no way that you can respond to every hometown in America at the same time."
  • Joseph C. Napoli, MD of Resiliency LLC

    "I think a new meaning is evolving for resiliency and resilience.

    In some contexts the words are being used to mean the strength to resist being impacted by an adverse event rather than either the “capacity to rebound” or “act of rebounding” from adversity.

    Therefore, resiliency and resilience appear to be assuming the meaning of fortitude, that is, “the strength or firmness of mind that enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage or to bear pain or adversity without despondency” as defined in the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.

    If so, we are coming full circle with science accepting a religious moral virtue – fortitude – as written in the Bible’s Book of Wisdom"

  • Faith Based Resources

    John Piper
    Jonathan Edwards
    Pink-Saving Faith
    Pink-Christian Ethics

    "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves"
    (2 Corinthians 13:5).

    Why Faith Groups Must Care

    When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper


    Be Not Afraid
    Overcoming the fear of Death
    by Johann Christoph Arnold

    While I am not a professional journalist, I do embrace the code of ethics put forth by the Society of Professional Journalists and the statement of purpose by the Association of Health Care Journalists and above all else I strive to "do no harm".

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  • Definitions

    from Wikipedia

    Pandemic Influenza

    An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of the influenza virus that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population.

    In contrast to the regular seasonal epidemics of influenza, these pandemics occur irregularly, with the 1918 Spanish flu the most serious pandemic in recent history.

    Pandemics can cause high levels of mortality, with the Spanish influenza being responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people.

    There have been about 3 influenza pandemics in each century for the last 300 years. The most recent ones were the Asian Flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.

    Seasonal Influenza

    Flu season is the portion of the year in which there is a regular outbreak in flu cases.

    It occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere.

    Flu activity can sometimes be predicted and even tracked geographically. While the beginning of major flu activity in each season varies by location, in any specific location these minor epidemics usually take about 3 weeks to peak and another 3 weeks to significantly diminish.

    Individual cases of the flu however, usually only last a few days. In some countries such as Japan and China, infected persons sometimes wear a surgical mask out of respect for others.

    Avian (Bird) Flu
    Avian influenza,

    sometimes Avian flu, and commonly Bird flu refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds."

    "Bird flu" is a phrase similar to "Swine flu", "Dog flu", "Horse flu", or "Human flu" in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.

    All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species: Influenza A virus.

    All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of Influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the Influenza A virus (note that the "A" does not stand for "avian").
    Adaptation is non-exclusive.

    Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species.

    In this way strains of influenza viruses are adapted to multiple species, though may be preferential towards a particular host.

    For example, viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds.

    Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish Flu virus shows it to have genes adapted to both birds and humans; with more of its genes from birds than less deadly later pandemic strains.

    H5N1 Strain

    Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species.

    A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1", is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu".

    It is enzootic in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia. One strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia.

    It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area), killing tens of millions of birds and spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread.

    Most references to "bird flu" and H5N1 in the popular media refer to this strain.

    As of the July 25, 2008 FAO Avian Influenza Disease Emergency Situation Update, H5N1 pathogenicity is continuing to gradually rise in wild birds in endemic areas but the avian influenza disease situation in farmed birds is being held in check by vaccination.

    Eleven outbreaks of H5N1 were reported worldwide in June 2008 in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam) compared to 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007.

    The "global HPAI situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008 [but] cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems".

    Pandemic Severity Index

    The Pandemic Severity Index (PSI) is a proposed classification scale for reporting the severity of influenza pandemics in the United States.

    The PSI was accompanied by a set of guidelines intended to help communicate appropriate actions for communities to follow in potential pandemic situations. [1]

    Released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 1, 2007, the PSI was designed to resemble the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

    From the Massachusetts Health and Human Services


    refers to separating people who are ill from other people to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.


    refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a communicable disease and are not yet ill.
  • Additional Information

    Creative Commons License
    Prepared Citizens by Catherine "Jackie" Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
    Based on a work at

    The posts on this site are subject to change. Mostly due to errors in spelling or grammar. I never said I am a professional journalist. I have new appreciation for the job that they do. Also, not all comments made by others will make it onto this site. Comments that advertise a commercial product do not get posted most of the time.

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  • standingfirm

Mandatory Flu Vaccines For Children

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 17, 2008

Mandatory vaccination, a touchy subject if there ever was one. The idea of the state forcing anything on our children makes us bristle. Yet, the “state” does compel some of our parenting decisions, more often than we care to admit. There are times that it is necessary for the state to step in an enforce what we as parents sometimes fail to do. The mandatory use of car seats is a good example of this.

Public and private school attendance requires proof of vaccination for a variety of illnesses from tetanus and diphtheria to mumps and rubella has been on the books for more years than I can remember. Parents could opt out but few did. Sports teams and camps require physicals to be done – they don’t just take our word as parents that we are looking after the health of our children. For a variety of good reasons, proof is required and if we want our children to be able to participate, we comply.

My parents knew the value and worth of vaccines. They could remember the days when there were few to be had. They could remember when polio devastated lives, and diseases like diphtheria and German measles were common place and devastating. When vaccines against these traditional childhood illnesses were first introduced they were like miracles to the parents who knew what life was like living in fear of paralytic polio. Louis Pasteur and Edward Jenner were the modern day conquistadors of infectious disease and their names invoked a special awe and deep gratitude among the vaccinated masses.

Not so today. The pendulum has swung backward for some parents.

It is hard for parents today to fully comprehend the real threat behind diseases like diphtheria, mumps and hepatitis B. Herd immunity and vaccination keep these diseases at bay so we have no experience to relate to them wreaking havoc in a community.

Herd immunity is the type of immunity that occurs when the vaccinated population breaks the chain of transmission or at least slows down the spread of infectious diseases allowing those who remain unvaccinated in a population to also be protected. If the numbers of unvaccinated people in a given population becomes too large then this “firebreak” is lost.

from wikipedia:

Estimated Herd Immunity thresholds for vaccine preventable diseases

Disease Transmission R0 Herd Immunity Threshold
Diphtheria Saliva 6-7 85%
Measles Airborne 12-18 83-94%
Mumps Airborne Droplet 4-7 75-86%
Pertussis Airborne Droplet 12-17 92-94%
Polio Fecal-Oral Route 5-7 80-86%
Rubella Airborne Droplet 5-7 80-85%
Smallpox Social Contact 6-7 83-85%

[R0 is the basic reproduction number, or the average number of secondary infectious cases that are produced by a single index case in completely susceptible population]

Table of Vaccines

and the date of their first introduction for use in humans


1885 Rabies
1897 Plague
1923 Diphtheria
1926 Pertussis
1927 Tuberculosis (BCG)
1927 Tetanus
1935 Yellow Fever
1955 Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV)
1962 Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)
1964 Measles
1967 Mumps
1970 Rubella
1981 Hepatitis B

When these vaccines were first introduced it was the “at risk” population and the affluent who most benefited from them. The poor, who could not afford vaccine, continued to be devastated by these illnesses.

The national vaccine campaign was born.

Vaccines target for use in a national immunization program

Diphtheria Toxoid
Tetanus Toxoid
These were not mandatory vaccines but with real world experience with the diseases themselves people embraced vaccines with open arms.
In 1956 the world united to attempt to eradicate smallpox. Through this effort it was realized that through the combination of containment and vaccination a dreaded disease could be eradicated. And they succeeded.
Onto the eradication of polio
As local campaigns to eradicate polio were realizing limited success the World Health Assembly set their sights on eradicating it from the world. By 1995, 146 countries were polio free due to containment and vaccination.
Vaccination and containment work and to this day remain the protocol that we rely on to eliminate the disease that once held us firmly in their grips.
Most people do not question the use of vaccines in children because they know the benefits outweigh the risks. Adverse reactions are rare but when they do happen they attract headlines. Even though the vast majority of studies, and the experience of most parents and children worldwide speak to the safety of vaccines, the tragic cases of a view, which may not even be attributable to the use of vaccines, leave some with a seed of doubt.
Conflicting studies sponsored by groups with agendas both pro and con have muddied the waters leaving a few parents fearful of both vaccinating and not vaccinating and leaving state officials and public health departments nationwide with few choices but to demand vaccination. If the threshold for herd immunity is not being met, diseases are allowed to run unchecked through communities. The public health must be safeguarded.
There are some children who cannot be vaccinated. With a low herd immunity they will be exposed and become ill. So it becomes a matter of whose rights should be protected, the individual or society as a whole.
This is then weighed against the possibility of the rare occurrence of side effects from the adjuvants within the vaccines themselves.
from Wikipedia: Adjuvants are pharmaceutical or immunological agents that enhance the efficacy of vaccines while having few direct side effects when given by themselves.
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health – Thimerosal Content in Some US Licensed Vaccines
These documents point out that these are trace amounts of ingredients. (I am sure that I have ingested a trace ingredient or two eating fish and probably in much heavier doses.)
So what is a parent to do?

How do we sort through myth, fact, the common good, the welfare of our children, and agendas on both sides of the issue….prayerfully and with diligence.

Because of attention devoted to the issue of vaccine safety by different parent groups and individuals, parents rightfully began to question the safety of vaccines. No fault can be found with becoming educated and asking questions.

But with no experiential memory of the severity of the diseases that we vaccinate against the pendulum is allowed to swing back and some are choosing to not vaccinate their children as an over-reaction, putting the general public health at risk.

Because voluntary vaccination with informed consent became the standard approach we had reached that balance where we have herd immunity. Now public opinion is being swayed once again. Unfortunately, many parents do not take the time to educate themselves about the pros and cons to vaccination. Along with herd immunity there is a herd mentality, and that does not have the same benefits. More education and awareness if the deadliness of the diseases themselves is needed.

There is an imbalance of power when those whom parents trust to give us good advice, doctors and government officials in particular, fail to educate and be transparent about the issues that effect us most, especially when these issues involve our children.

Yes, there is an agenda to eradicate diseases, childhood illnesses and HIV/AIDS in particular. Agendas are not always bad. It is a noble ideal to reduce pain and suffering. But failure to educate and inform our consent as parents leads to suspicion and the very situation that we have today where parents cannot properly weigh all of the pros and cons of vaccination. When given proper guidance and education forced vaccination would not be necessary. Parents themselves would see and understand the merit of vaccination. Forcing vaccination leads to more mistrust. More mistrust leads to non-compliance in other areas of public health and safety – all for the want of some information and a balanced approach to the guidance that parents receive.

As a parent I vaccinated my children and they did not suffer any side effects at all. One child had one reaction to pertussis vaccine and the vaccination protocol for that one particular infectious disease was abandoned. In her early teen years she became ill with pertussis and was very ill for a long time. She contracted pertussis from a non-vaccinated individual. I saw first hand how devastating these diseases can truly be and she at least had some immunity from the one vaccination attempt. To be honest, rightly or wrongly, I was a bit angry, perhaps misguidedly, at the unknown parent who chose not to vaccinate their child.

As parents we do a disservice to our children and to society when we choose to not vaccinate because of our fears alone. We must balance genetics and the likelihood of adverse reactions with the threat of these illnesses themselves and the benefit to society. No man is an island, what we do and don’t do has an impact on others.

However, in my very humble opinion, compelling vaccination must be reserved for dire threats to the health of the population as a whole. And we must be made aware of ALL if the adjuvants and ingredients in vaccines with the utmost transparency and candor. Which leads me to reason for this post.

It is worthwhile to read the following well written article in its entirety for other points which further elucidate the problem.

NJ flu-shot mandate for preschoolers draws outcry

Oct 16, 4:34 PM (ET)

As flu season approaches, many New Jersey parents are furious over a first-in-the-nation requirement that children get a flu shot in order to attend preschools and day-care centers. The decision should be the parents’, not the state’s, they contend.

Hundreds of parents and other activists rallied outside the New Jersey Statehouse on Thursday, decrying the policy and voicing support for a bill that would allow parents to opt out of mandatory vaccinations for their children.


The argument for:

“Vaccines not only protect the child being vaccinated but also the general community and the most vulnerable individuals within the community,” New Jersey’s Health Department said in a statement. It has depicted young children as “particularly efficient” in transmitting the flu to others.

The argument against:

“The right to informed consent is so basic,” she said in an interview. “Parents have a right to decide for their own children what is injected in their bodies.”

And the mis-education causing the problem:

“The flu is not a deadly disease,” said Barbara Majeski of Princeton, N.J., who does not want her two preschooler sons to get the vaccination.


“Mother Nature designed our bodies to be able to fight off infections through natural means – you need to be exposed and develop immunity,” Majeski said. “We’ve just gotten a little too overprotective with our children.”

Influenza is a deadly disease. The viral world is an ever-changing one. True seasonal influenza, and not the stomach bug that some mislabel as flu, can be and very often is deadly. The bacterial pneumonia that causes a secondary infection also is deadly and a direct result of influenza. This is especially true for the very young, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Pandemic Influenza, conversely, strikes those with robust immune systems – our children and the young adults in our population. The bacterial pneumonia that frequent occurs is also a deadly threat.

see: Seasonal flu vaccine may help in fight against H5N1

Admittedly this protection may be small or even non-existent because there may not be a pandemic vaccine for a very long time. But priming the immune system may help us when a pandemic vaccine is developed.

Seasonal influenza vaccine is effective and this years choice is a good match to fight H3N2 and H1N1, which have also changed into deadlier forms, as viruses do in order to survive.

Vaccination against the prevailing Influenza B virus is also included in the vaccine. Influenza B viruses are nothing to overlook. They cause widespread outbreaks causing attendance problems at school and work.

As for H5N1, the virus thought to be the prime candidate to cause the next pandemic, I would take any and all protective measures that I could get my hands on (with a thorough awareness of what is in the vaccine).

H5N1 is becoming more adapted to the human respiratory tract and this could be the year that a pandemic begins, although no one can know what the timetable of a virus is. It truly is impossible to know, although the changes may be tracked over time. We move closer and closer to the brink and many experts are quite worried. This year, next year or the next, a pandemic is coming. And there are other viruses out there that could cause a pandemic.

So what’s a parent to do?

What are public health officials to do?

When balancing the rights of the individual against the rights of society as a whole who wins out?

Or do we all win when herd immunity is achieved?

If one community is forcing vaccination and the neighboring community, state, country, is not, what has been achieved?

These are all questions which will become critical in the days ahead. Much more education is needed, not the strong arm of the government demanding compliance. Honest and transparent public debate that informs consent, and that will encourage compliance is what is needed. Assuming the public will panic at hard facts and information is selling the citizens short, selling parents short. Keeping the issues at hand from the public eye will encourage mistrust, something that will work against us during a pandemic.

I understand the heart of the public officials who are forcing vaccination in New Jersey. They truly seem to desire to reduce illness and to protect those who they are pledged to safeguard. Not an easy decision to make, I am sure.

Forcing vaccination of children rather than workers in the workplace, does not seem prudent and it certainly should not have been a first step. Massive education campaigns would have been the right approach. Allowing the public to reach its own conclusion about the necessity of vaccination and the positive effects would have been a positive and productive way to urge compliance.

There truly seems to be little difference between how children spread influenza and how adults out in public spread the disease. I have witnessed some pretty horrendous hygienic techniques among adults even as receptionists at doctors offices and in hospitals themselves.

More education and public debate is needed.

One Response to “Mandatory Flu Vaccines For Children”

  1. […] did a vaccine post here and mentioned pneumonia vaccine in a post about this report […]

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