Up until the 1980s, gastroenterologists believed stomach ulcers, a debilitating (and sometimes deadly) ailment that affected up to 10 percent of people, were caused by stress. Australian internist Barry Marshall believed differently; he thought they were caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori.
“Unable to make his case in studies with lab mice (because H. pylori affects only primates) and prohibited from experimenting on people, Marshall grew desperate,” Discover reported in a 2010 article. “Finally he ran an experiment on the only human patient he could ethically recruit: himself. He took some H. pylori from the gut of an ailing patient, stirred it into a broth, and drank it.”
He developed gastritis, began vomiting, became sick and exhausted and had breath that could kill a small animal at 10 paces. Then, he biopsied his own gut.
The culprit? H. pylori, something that proved “unequivocally that bacteria were the underlying cause of ulcers” and antibiotics could treat them.
Heroic as the story may be, it also proves that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity. Marshall was undeniably straddling it. But he managed to push science forward in the process.
It’s also illustrative of an important precedent: Don’t expect others to take up your treatment if you’re not willing to put your money where your mouth (or thigh) is.
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t developed any vaccine, although he’s looking to deploy it very widely. Earlier this month, he announced once COVID-19 vaccines receive full approval for 12- to 17-year-olds, all students will be forced to receive them.
“CA will require our kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine to come to school. This will go into effect following full FDA approval,” Newsom tweeted Oct. 1.
“Our schools already require vaccines for measles, mumps and more. Why? Because vaccines work.
“This is about keeping our kids safe & healthy.”
BREAKING: CA will require our kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine to come to school.
This will go into effect following full FDA approval.
Our schools already require vaccines for measles, mumps and more. Why? Because vaccines work.
This is about keeping our kids safe & healthy.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 1, 2021
Only one of Newsom’s children, a 12-year-old daughter, is old enough to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. So, has he had her vaccinated?
Well, uh, she’s got stuff to do first. She’ll get around to it.
In a piece in the Los Angeles Times, various experts in the People’s Technocracy of California discussed how to get as many jabs in as many pubescent arms as possible. This included adding “the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of school shots that qualify only for medical waivers or to craft a narrower exemption for personal beliefs, such as limiting them to religious objections.”
The Times was reporting on what’s become a grave concern for the nation’s vaccination hawks: the fear that people might be able to exempt themselves or their children from vaccine requirements because their trifling personal or religious beliefs might get in the way. The government will decide what you can do with your body, thank you very much. (Unless there’s an unborn child living in there, of course — then it’s your body, your choice.)
The concern, as the Times’ Melody Gutierrez wrote, is that when Newsom ordered the vaccine mandate, “a critical caveat was tucked within the nation-leading announcement: Parents can opt their children out of inoculation based on personal beliefs.”
“I think it’s likely we have to address this,” Democratic state Sen. Richard Pan said. “We don’t want schools closing down or classes in quarantine. If you have a loophole or gap that allows too many students to remain unvaccinated, then you won’t have a school that is safe where students can learn. We have already had enough disruptions.”
Whether this is going to lead to fewer disruptions is a matter of debate, but that’s not what we’re here for.
“The governor has said the state’s process offers an ‘accommodating’ personal belief exemption and will provide adequate time to hesitant parents to talk to their doctors and school nurses,” Gutierrez reported.
“He said his own daughter, who recently turned 12 years old and is eligible for the vaccine, has not yet received it because she has ‘a series of other shots’ to get first.”
Shenanigans have thusly been called.
California is the only state in America that plans to insist that 12- to 17-year-olds get vaccinated when the vaccines receive full Food and Drug Administration approval for that age group. It’s a problematic push when you consider that across the United States, roughly 500 individuals under the age of 18 have died due to the pandemic. There are concerns with younger patients that make the cost-benefit analysis a bit more skewed, particularly since long COVID isn’t as prevalent in the cohort.
But, no: Newsom and California Democrats are insisting school-age children get a COVID vaccine posthaste. As for the governor’s own daughter? Well, she has other shots and stuff to do. You know how kids are.
Gavin Newsom is the parent here. He decides what shots his children get and when. If this is both urgent and safe, that series of other shots can wait — particularly in the midst of a pandemic.
Yet Newsom, a governor who wants to force his state’s parents to inoculate their children against COVID-19, hasn’t gotten his daughter vaccinated yet.
Will this make a whit of difference in his daughter’s health? Probably not. But the same could be said for every aspect of this capricious and ineffectual order.
Through his actions as a parent — or rather, his inaction — Newsom has proved the point.
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