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Vaccines work


With the approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the major tasks are now distribution and vaccination. Developing the vaccines has been a technological marvel, but until we get shots in the arms of 80% of the population the pandemic will not be aborted. History can give us a few examples to help with the rollout and a few personal notes from my vaccination history. 

In March 1947, New York City had an outbreak of smallpox. A smallpox vaccine had been developed in the 18th century, and much of the population, at the time of this outbreak, had been inoculated, but the city health commissioner decided on a mass inoculation effort. President Harry Truman and the mayor of New York City were inoculated, and in two weeks, 5 million New Yorkers rolled up their sleeves for the shot. 

I was 11 years old, living in New York, and I remember getting my inoculation. I did not get smallpox but still have the inoculation scar on my arm. In 1980 the World Health Organization reported that smallpox had been eradicated from the world. A victory for science against a disease that had ravaged the human population for centuries.

The disease my parents were concerned about was polio (aka infantile paralysis). In 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower announced the development of a polio vaccine that was safe and effective. A mass immunization was begun both in the United States and around the world. 

I received my polio vaccine and did not get the disease. Within a few years a scourge that crippled millions, including President Roosevelt, was eliminated from our planet. It was another success for science and vaccination. Leadership by the president matters.

I served in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1985 and received more immunization than any civilian could imagine. During those 22 years, I spent time in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia but missed out on Antarctica (no virus there). I never had a significant infection. I believe in vaccinations.

The Air Force brought me to Arizona as Commander USAF Hospital Luke. After retirement, I have had a multitude of health care-related positions and activities. They include chief medical officer, Mercy Care Plan; AHCCCS director; board of directors of Sun Health; PMH Health Resources; AzHHA; Arizona Town Hall; and Wickenburg Community Hospital. I’ve been president of AARP Arizona, a member of the State Medicaid Advisory Committee, a member of the National Advisory Council on Services for the Elderly and Disabled and a member of the Harvard University School of Public Health Leadership Council. I am a longtime member of the Arizona Medical Association, Arizona Perinatal Trust, Arizona Public Health Association and Maricopa Medical Society. 

In all those activities, preventive medicine and public health have been a key component of my professional life. Preventive medicine starts with immunizations, and science has given us the tools to prevent 25 different diseases.

This brings us to 2020-21. 

COVID-19 has ravaged the earth like no other infection since the Great Flu of 1918-19. The end is in sight if we, as the human race, can muster the will and fortitude to practice simple public health measures and bare our arms for “the shot.” In this day and age of instant communication, there is a plethora of misinformation and conspiracy theories flooding the internet. 

Ignore the noise and take “the shot” for you, your family and humanity.

 Leonard Kirschner

Litchfield Park

Election notes


Early in the morning on Nov. 4, President Trump announced he had won the election as the battleground states were trending in his favor. However, at around 1:30 a.m., voting tabulation stopped in four battleground states and there was a halt to the vote counting. Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky, a libertarian, tweeted on Nov. 29: “Trump margin of defeat in four states occurred in four data dumps between 1:34-6:31 a.m.” in which most of the votes were for Biden. Indeed, in one case, Sen. Paul noted, “An update in Michigan listed as of 6:31 a.m. EST on Nov. 4 which shows 141,258 votes for Biden and 5,968 votes for Trump,” nearly a 24 to 1 ratio. On Wednesday, Dec. 16, in the Senate Judiciary committee meeting on election fraud, Sen. Paul reiterated his belief that the “election was stolen.” 

In spite of these glaring cases of fraud, President Trump still received 74 million votes, nearly 12 million more than in 2016. Having an incumbent president gain that many votes in a second election cycle and still lose is unheard of and has never happened before in modern presidential elections. Instead, President Obama received 66 million votes in 2012, 4 million less than in 2008 and yet still won! Even better, Joe Biden received over 81 million votes without campaigning, nearly 15 million more votes than a popular President Obama in 2012, a 23% increase by staying home in his basement. Go figure.

Apparently Trump still “lost” because he was so unpopular and hated, except Trump always drew enormous, enthusiastic crowds, whereas Joe Biden could hardly draw crowds enough to fill a large McDonald’s. These kinds of significant voting anomalies usually occur in socialist countries where elections are rigged and outcomes predetermined.

Igor Shpudejko