This week I watched the most offensive television vaccination ad yet. The ad video story portrays a young mother taking her infant  to visit grandmother – but Grandma is actually a deadly Wolf disguised as a loving grandmother.

 

We all realize that there are threats facing each of us every day. Some community threats are associated to a measurable risk of mortality, I think of high risk statistics for driving through red street lights, addiction to alcohol or opioids, obesity, and drug trafficking are a few common ones. We know these behaviors  are  direct and preventable causation to real mortality happening every day on our streets.

The birth rate in the USA is 4M per year.  Death due to pertussis was measured at approximately 20 per year. The rate of mortal outcome is roughly 1 in 200,000.  If we assume each infant has a personal circle of 12 the issue could be said to directly impact 48M people who have personal relationships to new infants annually.

Should we proceed to enforcing a ‘vaccination or no contact’ preventative strategy for parents, siblings,  grandparents and family friends as is suggested in the ad?  If the vaccination  cost were $50 per retail dose, it suggests a NEW healthcare system cost of $2.4 Billion per year. I think my cost estimates are very  low.

How else might public policy spend $2.4B to save more community lives  if provided with new funding like this?

Keep in mind that Pertussis Vaccination doesn’t always work, and also remember that even if Grandma did get the vaccination, and even if it did work, the baby is likely to meet random neighbors on the street and in the park while out in the stroller.

Public policy needs sober thought that measures costs and benefit. I don’t believe divisive fear campaigns driven by profiteers are helpful.