A shot at vaccinations (5×8 – 3/9/11)

Why is Minnesota’s vaccination rate falling, understanding CPB, winter marches on, sexting, and musical Pi.


1) MINNESOTA’S RELUCTANCE TO VACCINATE

Minnesota, which historically has ranked #1 or #2 among the states for health, is lagging when it comes to getting kids vaccinated, according to a study from Chidren’s Hospitals.

The state has dropped from seventh to 20th place among the states, the report says.

The decline is part of a worrisome trend that could pose a threat to the health of Minnesota children. The 2009 NIS indicates that in only two years, Minnesota’s childhood immunization rate slipped to 76.9 percent in 2009 from 80.5 percent in 2007.(2) Based on the state’s current population of 423,000 children ages 0 through 5 years, for every percentage point drop in the immunization rate, 4,230 young kids are exposed to vaccine-preventable disease.(3)

State officials say a reason the rate went down is a shortage of vaccine.

This e-mail that we got from a retired teacher in Chisholm today is a fairly typical one we get whenever the subject comes up:


At two months of age, my son had a severe screaming reaction to his first DPT shot. Do you know how scary it is to have a perfectly healthy 2 month old baby have a severe reaction to an immunization that was supposed to protect him?

My son is now 26 and has not been immunized since. Instead I searched out alternative care to strengthen his immune system in more natural ways.

Anyone witn a shred of common sense would realize that we are immunizing our children too young and too often. To immunize a newborn, as is being done now, is a national travesty. We have no idea of what this will do to our children in the long run, and it will be almost impossible to trace future problems back to something given on the lst day of life. For one thing, there will be no measure of that child’s initial true health for comparison.

It is claimed that vaccines are well tested. On animals? What exactly is that supposed to prove. Animals don’t even get these diseases. How sick is that?

The motto of the medical system is supposed to be “First, do no harm.” Breastfeeding is the number one best immunization we can give to our children.

If MPR has one more medical person come on and proclaim that vaccines are perfectly safe, I will stop contributing as a member. I just can’t support lies.

Discuss.

2) UNDERSTANDING CPB

Breaking: NPR’s president, Vivian Schiller, has been “resigned.”

Just about everyone in public radio is waiting for another shoe to drop in the secret filming of a now-fired NPR executive by a conservative filmmaker who’s made a name for himself with these sorts of things. Yesterday’s video was described as part one. Is there a part two?

NPR, it should be noted, did an excellent job of reporting on its sullied reputation, which — ironically — should say something about its reputation.

At the same time, the New York Times quotes the usual suspects saying this is proof the government shouldn’t be funding NPR, a reference to the attempt by Washington Republicans to eliminate support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

But the paper, the network, the politicians, and most of the public are missing an important distinction that is required for a fact-based discussion on the question of how public broadcasting should be structured. Funding for NPR and funding for the CPB are two separate issues, and yet the debate combines them as if they are one. They are not (The Christian Science Monitor, however, gets the structure correct today). Some funding of NPR comes from the CPB, but the majority of CPB funds are spent on individual public radio stations (NPR doesn’t operate radio stations) and on PBS and local public TV stations, none of whom were caught on camera saying stupid things.

3) WINTER MARCHES ON

Alright, so we’ve got a little more snow it looks like the winter is a never-ending season. Look closer. The Gunflint Trail blog, for example, documents the subtle changes already taking place:


It’s a little earlier for the telltale sign of spring in northern Minnesota: baby animals. That is, unless you’re the gray jay (also known as Canada jay or Whiskey Jack). These bird’s young are so well adapted for cold weather that they hatch in February and March. Other animals, moose, deer, wolves, foxes, coyotes, are all currently in their gestation periods. It’s an expectant time on the Gunflint Trail: lots to enjoy in the present and plenty to look forward to.

And Duluth’s Blogging the North Shore details a favorite of the late season: exploring the ice mounds of Lake Superior:


It’s super fun and a bit scary to explore out on these ice mounds. Everything is built out of shards of ice that have been piled up and frozen back together. Sometimes it’s just a field of shards, sometimes the shards build up to a ridge that drops precipitously down toward the lake side, where storm waves had tossed ice chunks up and over.

4) SEXTING

Forty percent of teens say they have received sexually explicit photographs and 20-percent of them have forwarded it on to someone else. That’s the nature of “sexting.” This PSA from Elk River was uploaded this morning:

The “alternate ending” is a bit more disturbing.

5) A MUSICAL PIECE OF PI

There’s some research that shows mastery of music encourages a mastery of math. This, perhaps, is a good example. It’s what Pi sounds like:

Bonus: Reports that Target Corp., would change its political donations policy to accommodate a deal with Lady Gaga have turned to be premature.

Last month, the singer told Billboard, ” “Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they’ve made in the past … our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they’ve made supporting those [antigay] groups.”

The Advocate reports the deal has fallen apart.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Gov. Mark Dayton says the teacher licensure bill was an example of bipartisan compromise for leaders to follow as they grapple with the budget and other issues. What compromises would you like to see this legislative session?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: In the latest conversation in MPR’s “Broadcast Journalist Series,” Midmorning’s Kerri Miller speaks with Ken Auletta about his career as a journalist, and the upheaval that the digital world is creating in the media industry.

Second hour: Advice columnist Amy Dickinson has had experiences with second chances in her own life, and now she wants to hear yours.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Second hour: Phil Angelides, head of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, speaking at the Commonwealth Club about the causes of the financial meltdown.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political talk with Ken Rudin.

Second hour: The effect of high gasoline prices.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Several thousand soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard are preparing for deployment to Kuwait this summer. It’ll be the second-largest deployment for the 34th Infantry Division “Red Bulls” since World War II. New research continues to come out about the long term impacts of PTSD and traumatic brain injury. MPR’s Jess Mador talks to veterans about how these combat-related conditions can complicate the return home.

University of Minnesota researchers are using salmonella to fight cancers of the gut in human clinical trials. Salmonella naturally finds its way to a person’s gut. So, it’s an effective method to deliver certain cancer-fighting treatments to that region. MPR’s health reporter, Lorna Benson, will have the story.