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Opinion with Christine Tongue: What’s so special about keeping schools open? | Isle of Thanet News.

[December 29, 2020]


Christine Tongue is a retired teacher.

I never thought I – as a retired teacher – would ever say DON’T SEND YOUR KIDS TO SCHOOL!

I believe in education, I believe in teaching a broad range of subjects and training young minds to ask endless questions, and gain the skills to find their own solutions.

But what we don’t need is schools becoming little factories for the virus to experiment with finding new ways of infecting all of us. It’s happened in Kent – what a feather in our caps to have a variant of a deadly disease named after our county! Or not…

I don’t want to play personal pandemic one-upmanship but here goes.

I missed a lot of school in the polio pandemic in the 1950s. I was in hospital for several months and then for years I had to go for treatment several times a week to the local hospital. Physiotherapy had not long been invented and we crippled (we were called that!) kids were getting the benefit of a free health service and free education – when we could get there.

I was kept home in icy weather or the least sign of any infection, just in case….

I was just seven when I went into hospital and seventeen when they decided I was fit for adult life with no more medical intervention.

I may have missed a lot of time in school but I never missed school itself. I could read, sew, knit, collect unfortunate creatures in the garden and the nearby park, watch unsuitable crime series on tv and knock about with a gang of neighbourhood kids.

I passed my eleven plus, went to university, did post grad research etc etc – free education all through my life and free health care.

What’s that little personal epic got to do with what’s happening now?

Well, first of all, I don’t believe the panic about kids going back to school is to anything to do with concern over their future life chances. Given the right circumstances kids will learn anywhere.

Given the wrong school environment lives can be blighted for ever. I used to teach adults returning to education in a poor part of south London. They had failed in school from poor teaching, or poverty that meant they worked to supplement the family income, look after younger siblings or even parents, or bunked off because nobody really cared if they were in school. When they got to my college they caught up in a year or two – as motivated adults – all the learning they’d lost in their school years.

But I don’t see the government investing in adult education in this way.

It seems to me the “get back to school” mantra – against the advice of the scientists and the teaching unions – is more to do with getting the parents back into work and propping up our weird economy than any concern for the children.

And what about poor children? The ones we hear live in terrible homes, not eating properly if they don’t get their free school dinners and not able to access the online learning the lucky kids with computers and supportive parents are doing?

Shouldn’t they be fed properly and have enough money to be properly equipped for learning anyhow?

Hasn’t it been a revelation that Boris Johnson has at last noticed them? And isn’t it a bit rich that the government is depending on schools to solve the appalling problems of overcrowded housing and poverty?

In affluent families there is no problem about keeping their kids at home.

Most of the cabinet went to expensive boarding schools so how can they understand the problems of poor kids in bad homes? Or of people who have to go to work – regardless of the covid risks – because otherwise they can’t feed their kids.

Before we start worrying about keeping kids home from school because of coronavirus perhaps we need to look at all the unfairness in schools, and in life as it is.

Why aren’t we demanding an end to child poverty, and end to bad housing. And an end to the endless hypocrisy of our rulers!

Christine Tongue is a Broadstairs resident and former Labour Party member. She now does not belong to a political party but does represent disability campaign group Access Thanet.


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Philippines: Re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases – Polio outbreak – Operation Update, DREF n° MDRPH032 (12-month update: 29 December 2020) | ReliefWeb.

[Situation Report] [Source: IFRC] [Posted: 29 Dec 2020] [Originally Published: 29 Dec 2020] [Origin: View original]

The emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the Philippines in March 2020 has to an extent, directed health system focus from vaccination campaigns for polio and measles, towards COVID-19 management. Consequently, some activities planned under the EPoA for Polio within the intended timeline had to deprioritized, as its not feasible to conduct those activities during the pandemic. Furthermore, incorporated COVID-19 safe operation to enhanced and facilitated deliverables under this Polio operation.

Changes includes provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect PRC staff and volunteers from COVID-19 infection in delivery of services in this operation. WASH activities, hygiene promotion and PGI activities were downscaled.

Furthermore, there is a major downscaling of activities under Health particularly on activities under Outcome 2 due to the low income of the emergency appeal.

Any unexpended funds at the close of the Emergency Appeal will be transferred to the 2021 Operational Plan of the Philippine Country Office and earmarked to the PRC vaccine preventable diseases activities. IFRC and PRC will continue to advocate for longer term support to the Expanded Program on Immunization programme to reduce the impact of outbreaks in the future, seeking support for this initiative through the IFRC 2021 Philippines Country Plan.

Description of the disaster.

On 19 September 2019, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the re-emergence of polio (vaccine-derived poliovirus-VDPV) in the Philippines and declared a national polio outbreak, in accordance with international health regulations. It was declared after environmental samples taken in Davao City and Metro Manila tested positive, and a human case of circulating VDPV polio was reported in Mindanao. This was quickly followed by a second case of human infection in Laguna province, south east of Manila. The re-emergence occurs almost 20 years after the Philippines was declared polio-free in 2000 and the last case of wild poliovirus was recorded in 1993.

The declaration of a polio outbreak followed a confirmed Vaccine Derived Poliovirus Type 2 (VDPV2) case in a threeyear old child in Lanao de Sur (Mindanao) reported on 16 September 2019. Subsequently, another VDPV2 case of polio was confirmed on 20 September, this time in a five-year-old boy who was immunocompromised from Laguna which is adjacent to Metro Manila.

As of June 2020, a total of 16 polio cases remain in the country including 13 cases of cVDPV2, one case with cVDPV1; one case with VDPV1; and one case with immunodeficiency related VDPV type 2 (iVDPV2). There have been no new polio cases reported after 15 February 2020.

The resurgence of polio in the Philippines came as the DOH and other partners were responding to dengue outbreaks and measles outbreaks. According to the Philippines Epidemiological Overview 2020, as of 8 February 2020, between 1 January to 8 February 2020, there was 25,502 cases of dengue and 38 deaths reported; as well as 1,433 cases of measles and 12 deaths40TP1FP40T An increasing number of cases of diphtheria are also being reported, the DOH confirming 167 cases and 40 deaths in 2019 compared to 122 cases and 30 deaths in 2018.

Since January 2020, the country, has been wrestling with the continuing spread of the COVID-19. The Philippines on 12 March 2020 raised the COVID-19 Alert System to Code Red sublevel 2 as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ITAF-EID). This has imposed stringent measures on the country among which measures of social distancing, enhanced community quarantines and limitation of movement within the country which have had significant impact on polio outbreak response activities. On 16 March 2020, the entire Luzon was put on enhanced community quarantine until 13 April 2020, which was later extended until 15 May 2020. The DOH rapid response vaccination in selected areas of Region 3 and the third round planned for Mindanao, originally scheduled to begin on 23 March 2020 has been postponed until further notice.

These health emergencies occur while the government and its partners are also responding to the recent following natural disasters in the country: the earthquakes in Mindanao (MDRPH036), the Typhoon Kammuri (MDRPH037) in November 2019, it was then followed by Typhoon Phanfone (MDRPH038) in December 2019, then the eruption of Taal Volcano (MDRPH039) in January 2020.


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Needleless Injectors for the Administration of Vaccines: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness | Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health | NCBI Bookshelf.

[Open Access] [Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2020 Jul 17.]

Excerpt.

A needleless or needle-free jet injector (NFJI) uses a high-pressure stream jet to puncture the skin surface without using a needle. NFJIs have been used for vaccine or drug administration worldwide for many decades., The scope of the use of NFJIs has been continuously widened. NFJIs can be used for intradermal, subcutaneous or intramuscular injection. In the literature, NFJIs are also termed as needleless injector, jet injector (JI), disposable syringe jet injector (DSJI) in different countries by different manufacturers. In this document, the terms of NFJI, needleless injector, JI, DSJI are interchangeable. The NFJI’s operating mechanisms, applications, efficacy and safety have been constantly evolving and improving over the years. The commonly used NFJIs are PharmaJet injector (PharmaJet, USA), Med-Jet H4 injector (the newest model of Med-Jet injector, MIT Canada), Biojector (Bioject Medical Technologies Inc. USA) and LectraJet (LectraJet, D’Antonio Consultants International, Inc., USA). NFJIs have been suggested to be the future of vaccine administration and therapeutic applications.

Comparing traditional (standard, conventional) needle and syringe (N-S) intramuscular injection, one of the advantages of using NFJI by intradermal injection is dose-sparing for vaccination. A typical example of the dose-sparing is that NFJIs for intradermal injection have been used, as dose-sparing strategies for the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in developing countries.,– In addition, NFJIs are preferred by individuals with an aversion to needles., Compared with N-S, other potential benefits by using NFJIs include reduced risks such as needle-stick injury and cross-contamination. However, the NFJIs are also reportedly associated with a higher frequency of local injection site reactions than the use of N-S.

Effective dose-sparing strategies for vaccine delivery may be useful for large scale vaccination programs or in situations of limited vaccine supply. One suggested strategy is to administer vaccines using NFJIs by intradermal route.

The purpose of this report is to review the comparative clinical effectiveness of vaccines administered using a NFJI with that using N-S for individuals of all ages.


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