Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gathering the Facts - Vaccines

Without animal testing, many of the vaccines we have today might not exist.  Polio is a perfect example of these efforts:

In the 1950s, after 40 years of research using mice, rats and monkeys, polio vaccines were developed and used to treat the disease. Today, polio is virtually unknown in the United States and Europe and instances of polio have decreased significantly throughout developing  countries. The World Health Organisation launched a worldwide vaccination programme in 1988. By 2002, the number of worldwide cases was reported to have fallen to just 480 a year, compared with 350,000 in 1988. However, several hundred cases were reported in India in 2007. 1

In the third class period this week, students worked through four stations in small groups to gather information about vaccines.  The information they collected addressed the following issues:

Risk of getting the disease before the vaccine
Magnitude of harm caused by the disease, if contracted
Risk of suffering that harm
Magnitude of harm caused by the vaccine & risks of suffering that harm
Interpreting data about measles
Exemptions to State vaccination policies.

Tomorrow we will discuss Community Immunity & Epidemics.

Your only homework is to study for the final exam.

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