Thursday, August 15, 2002

More wacky vaccine policy. There is a vaccine for West Nile Virus, but it is only approved for horses. Why just horses? According to Slate Explainer, "the USDA judged the virus to be a crisis, since horses are particularly susceptible—about a third of infected horses will perish, compared with around 10 percent of humans who exhibit symptoms." The vaccine has been tested to be safe, but has not been proved effective in humans. This reasoning suggests that a human life is worth only about the same as 3 horses.

The vaccine authorities seem to be locked in a mindset where they either want to mandate a vaccine for everyone, or limit the vaccine to just animals. Sen. Frist (the one MD in the US Senate) just wrote an article with the radical suggestion that people be allowed free choice about whether to get a smallpox. Shouldn't it be obvious to everyone that they should be able to make their own medical decisions?

I am assuming that Slate got it right. The previous Slate Explainer about Charleton Heston was completely wrong, as demonstrated by Volokh. It appears to be just a politically motivated hit piece. Even the acknowledgement seems to be faked. And Slate didn't even have the decency to put up a correction, after notified that the story was wrong.

At least the NY Times had the decency to correct a blatant anti-Bush snide remark, as Kausfiles explains.

Update: Apparently Slate is investigating whether it is wrong.

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