It drives me a little batty when people scoff at the “irrational” fears of American health programs by the citizens of other nations – especially if those citizens are brown. This especially comes up on the vaccinate/anti-vaxx battlegrounds. I’m pro-vaccine (except where medically hazardous because vaccines have RISKS and doctors/parents KNOW some kids cannot get the shots), because they – looking at the statistical analysis for myself and using all the freaking statistics skills I had to learn in grad school – save lives.
However, pro-vaxxers can also work my nerves when they act like all issues with vaccines are irrational, especially when people in developed nations refuse them. Pro-vaxxers love to cite/mock the fact that some parents in Pakistan are “concerned that [the polio vaccine] caused sterility in adulthood; others suspected the vaccine, developed and distributed by Westerners, was part of a larger conspiracy to sterilize children in Muslim nations”.
In this case, those fears are (so far as I know) wrong. Nevertheless, these concerns didn’t float in out of thin air. People in developing nations have learned the hard way that Western doctors aren’t ALWAYS in the “third world” because they looking out for the best interests of humankind. They looks for conspiracies now because there have been proven conspiracies in the past. Evil for the sake of “science” is still evil and in one example, “US government researchers and their Guatemalan colleagues experimented without consent on more than 5,000 Guatemalan soldiers, prisoners, people with psychiatric disorders, orphans and prostitutes. The investigators exposed 1,308 adults to syphilis, gonorrhoea or chancroid, in some cases using prostitutes to infect prisoners and soldiers. After the experiments were uncovered in 2010, Ramos and others sued the US government, and US President Barack Obama issued a formal apology.”
So-called scientists in America were doing this evil shit to their own citizens around this time period as well. It has happened more than most people realize. This includes cruel experiments on newborns, giving pregnant women radioactive ‘vitamin drinks’, and releasing diseased mosquitoes on the unsuspecting people of Georgia and Florida. In the recent past, “U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital.” The experiment most people have heard of is the Tuskegee Experiment, wherein poor, black, rural residents of Alabama were told they were receiving free health care from the US government and were instead studied as they died from untreated syphilis. Why? Because the Public Health Service wanted to see what untreated syphilis did to humans … while failing to acknowledge the humanity of the people they were killing.
But nothing like that could happen today right? Har. In 1997, “The most influential medical journal in the United States has assailed as unethical, US-funded medical experiments on HIV-infected women in the Third World. A blistering editorial in this week’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine compared ongoing experiments in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean with the notorious Tuskegee study, a government-funded project in which poor African-American men with syphilis were studied over four decades without being provided treatment … The specific focus of the Journal’s editorial was a series of experiments in 15 countries on the use of the anti-AIDS drug AZT in preventing the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from pregnant women to their infants. The U.S. government funded nine of the studies of more than 12,000 women through its National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 15 countries included in the study Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi, Thailand, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Kenya and the Dominican Republic.”
Sometimes unethical (evil) business practices tar all Americans with the same brush, even when there wasn’t government involvement. For instance, in the late 90’s Pfizer did illegal-in-America drug trials on sick kids in Nigeria. The “team from the US company moved into the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kano, directly adjacent to Doctors Without Borders. The parents of the sick children evidently believed that the Pfizer staff were members of the aid organization … a little girl, received 56 milligrams of Trovan on the first day of treatment. Although her condition rapidly deteriorated, the doctors maintained this dose. On the third day, the girl died. International guidelines for clinical studies specify that patients who do not react to a test drug should be immediately removed from the study — particularly since Rocephin, a reliable medicine, was available.” Lots of kids died. Lot’s more had severe and long lasting side effects. Now Pfizer is on the hot seat because, as the lawyer representing a class action law suit against them explains, “”Pfizer treated the Nigerians in Kano as if the life of a black child was worth less than the life of a white child … Suddenly the Americans realize that they are dealing with blacks in Nigeria who are intelligent — niggers with brains,” he says, and laughs.”
And we wonder why people in Nigeria resist accepting vaccinations from white American aid workers? You think their fears and suspicions are completely irrational and ungrounded?
Now, more children will die of preventable diseases because parents have been scared away by unethical medical care from Western doctors. It is an ever widening spiral of child death in developing nations, all for the sake of money — because Big Pharma is a trillion dollar industry.
Well, that was still almost 20 years ago! Okay, then how about the fact that in 2012 the CIA used the polio vaccination program as a cover to spy on people in Pakistan? “The CIA is not exclusively responsible for the problems we have in getting children vaccinated but it certainly didn’t make it anything easier,’ says Anthony Robbins, the co-editor of the Journal of Public Health Policy. Robbins wrote an editorial denouncing the CIA use of fake vaccination programs back in August of 2012. Even before bin Laden was killed in 2011, the Taliban had banned polio immunization in the parts of Pakistan it controls. The Taliban claimed the polio drops sterilize Pakistani children and vaccinators were American spies.” It turns out some of them WERE spying for the US; if that was true why should people axiomatically believe that the idea vaccines were a cover story to harm them was a complete fabrication? WHY should anyone trust us?
Then there is the fact that at the University of California Davis in 2014 “investigators for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded that hospital administrators repeatedly failed to rein in the activities of two UC Davis neurosurgeons, who performed untested treatments on three critically ill brain cancer patients. Additionally, medical staff were kept in the dark about the doctors’ work or failed to follow hospital policies and professional standards, the report stated. “These failures put all surgical patients at risk for injury and harm, including death,” the report stated.”
Is it any wonder that some people think Big Pharma would cheerfully kill kids to make a buck, and that American doctors would do it for “science”? Or that America/Europe would condone horrible things under the guise of ‘helping’ people? That’s not irrational; that’s reasonable to fear under the aegis that has happened before all too often.
Now, the death is escalating because health workers – people who were there to try and save the lives of children – are being murdered by radicals. At least 31 polio vaccination workers have been killed in Pakistan since July 2012. Some horrible anti-vaxxers think these murders delightful or justified, and I hope those asshats fall face fist into a sea of cowshit and lego. However, the death of those aid workers should also be on the conscience of the American establishment because without our historical (and not so historical) shenanigans vaccines wouldn’t = Western imperialistic plot in the eyes of the populace.
Excuse me while I rip out my hair in frustration.