It was a big week, right? The Supreme Court was making declarations and in California the General Assembly was making some decisions of their own. We’ve got the mandate for childhood vaccines in California, World War II chemical weapons testing, and other stories you may have missed.
There will be no news round up next week, in honor of one of my favorite holidays, Independence Day! I’ll be wearing red, white, and blue, watching July 4th themed movies, and celebrating with all the American spirit I can muster. I wish all of you the same!
See you back here in July!
On Thursday, the California State Assembly passed SB 277, which mandates that children attending day care or public school must be vaccinated. The bill eliminated personal-belief and religious exemptions. Largely, this bill was in response to the outbreak of measles that began at Disneyland last year. Children who cannot receive vaccinations for medical reasons can still receive the vaccine exemption. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill into law.
Slate—“The New York Times quoted Christina Hildebrand, the founder of A Voice for Choice, a nonprofit organization that has lobbied against the bill, about her unsuccessful campaign to stop this legislation, “There are large numbers of parents who are very concerned about the fact that we’re going to have mandated medical treatment against a fundamental right to education. Parental freedom is being taken away by this, because the fear of contagion is trumping it.’”
According to documents declassified in the 1990s, the U.S. Army conducted secret chemical weapons tests on minority soldiers in order to determine the effect weapons had on non-white skin. African-American and Puerto Rican soldiers were tested upon to see if their darker pigment made them less susceptible to the weapons. Japanese-Americans were used to determine how the weapons would affect enemy Japanese soldiers. The soldiers were subjected to mustard gas and lewisite and volunteered for the assignment.
NPR—“All of the World War II experiments with mustard gas were done in secret and weren’t recorded on the subjects’ official military records. Most do not have proof of what they went through. They received no follow-up health care or monitoring of any kind. And they were sworn to secrecy about the tests under threat of dishonorable discharge and military prison time, leaving some unable to receive adequate medical treatment for their injuries, because they couldn’t tell doctors what happened to them.”
Stories You May Have Missed
- Following up from last week, Moscow is testing hypersonic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads and are less susceptible to U.S. anti-ballistic countermeasures.
- In response, Republican Representative Mac Thornberry (Texas) is calling for the U.S. to reconsider building new nuclear weapons.
- Meanwhile, NATO is re-evaluating its own nuclear weapons strategy in response to “growing tension with Russia over Ukraine.”
- And its not only the old gang getting involved with nuclear weapons, evidently NASA is looking at using nuclear weapons to destroy asteroids headed towards earth.
- Philanthropist extraordinaire Bill Gates believes that malaria and polio could be eradicated within the next 15 years, with polio gone as soon as 2019.
- Speaking of polio, allegations that the U.S. used doctors to help find Osama bin Laden is still negatively impacting polio vaccination campaigns in Pakistan.
- And speaking of malaria, there were reports this week that in West Africa, many more people died of the disease than usual during the Ebola outbreak. The diseases have similar symptoms and many avoided going to health clinics.
- As if Ebola and Malaria weren’t enough, avian influenza has now arrived in West Africa. Sigh, you know the expression, when it rains, it pours.
- There is a bit of good news though, as reports of an effective rapid Ebola diagnostic test appeared in The Lancet. The test uses a finger-prick blood test and takes only minutes to show a result.
Image Credit: David Monniaux