www.whyville.net May 22, 2005 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

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This week, 10,000 lucky citizens each received a WhyPox vial, a dose of the new vaccination for WhyPox. I bet most of these lucky citizens quickly ingested their vials, hoping for immediate protection from the dreaded WhyPox.

But there's a catch! City Worker Mark said it takes THREE vials to assure complete immunity.

So what happens if a person only takes one vial? That's where I am EXTREMELY CONCERNED.

I'm wondering if these magical "vials" are really antibiotics, which fight bacteria that cause the WhyPox disease. If they are antibiotics, then just taking ONE vial, not the full dose, could cause citizens to become RESISTANT to the vaccination.

What does that mean? If citizens just take one vial of the new WhyPox vaccine, the WhyPox might learn to fight off those antibiotics. When the citizens who have taken one dose manage to get their hands on more vials, the vaccination won't do any good. And those citizens will remain susceptible to the Whypox bacteria -- IF it is indeed bacteria that causes it.

When bacteria are faced with a dose of antibiotics that isn't strong enough to kill all of them, the strong ones survive -- and they evolve. The strong ones make more strong ones. The next time they face that antibiotic, they know how to "outsmart" it.

This is a major problem not just in Whyville, but all around the world! As more and more people take antibiotics, the bacteria inside them are becoming more resistant. A type of medicine that used to cure a disease 50 years ago may not work anymore!

The problem grows when people who have viruses demand antibiotics from their doctors. Antibiotics can't fight viruses! But doctors feel a lot of pressure to give people something, so half the time they prescribe antibiotics that won't even help.

Also, many people don't take their entire dose of antibiotics because they feel better halfway through. You may feel better, but that doesn't mean all the bacteria are dead. In addition to that, in poor nations around the world, people often can't afford the entire dose of antibiotics and will only take as much as they can buy. In the end, this just hurts them. They will become resistant and never be fully cured.

Will this happen in Whyville? Will people end up paying tens of thousands of clams for vaccines that won't even work? Not if we don't let it!

Of course, whether this will affect our online town is really all speculation. I don't know what really causes WhyPox. But there's one way to be safe -- don't ingest a WhyPox vial until you have all three. Don't give those bacteria a chance to fight back!

Not doing her homework,


Editor's Note: Now that is acting in the Whyville Way! Asking why do the vaccines work... why should we assume they'll magically cure the Pox... why do vaccines work in the real world! Great stuff, JasmineK.

Readers, what do you know about vaccines? What can you learn? And why should you bother, in the first place?


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