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News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Monday, January 17, 2022

It's not Joe Biden's bad week. It's ours.

 American politics has sunk into a mire of pettiness and meanness.  A former managing editor I worked with would say it's time for a winnowing.  He would say in a situation like the past week, don't focus only on Joe Biden and what he was trying to accomplish; focus on the people who are obstructing him and what they are trying to accomplish.  It does not take a lot of political savvy to separate who is actually trying to do something uplifting for the nation from those with a different agenda.

The coronavirus pandemic has provided a winnowing experience.  It has separated those who want the best for the country from those who want the worst which serves their own failures of mind and character.  Dr. Fauci has become a touchstone in that process.  An 80-year-old man with almost 40 years experience under seven presidents in the science of disease control has become the target for hate by many Americans.  As a coronavirus that humankind knew nothing about invaded the biosphere, it was his job to lead and report on the research on it.  His observations and recommendations evolved along with the knowledge about covid-19. But in doing his job,  he ran into the biggest threat of intellectual morbidity that America has probably ever encountered in the White House:  Donald Trump.  The pandemic produced sound and effective measures for controlling and eventually defeating it, but it also revealed a viral mentality among us that is a menace to humanity that we thought could never occur in America.  Benign democracy is at risk.  The menace has identified itself over vaccines and Dr. Fauci.

Most Americans are well vaccinated.   Here are the vaccines that we routinely carry in our bodies to keep us healthy and alive.  Some we get right after birth.  Some we get to be admitted to school.

  • Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Adsorbed (DTaP)

  • Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Adsorbed (Tdap

  • Haemophilus b Conjugate Vaccine (Hib)

  • Hepatitis A Vaccine

  • Hepatitis B Vaccine

  • Influenza Vaccine (administered with a needle)

  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine

  • Meningococcal Vaccine

  • Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine

  • Poliovirus Vaccine

  • Rotavirus Vaccine

  • Varicella: Chickenpox

By law, states can prescribe a series of vaccines to control and eliminate communicable diseases.  Vaccine requirements are a necessity to keep schools from being vector points for crippling and deadly diseases.  You can look up the vaccines required for children entering school in the various states at this link. Here are the vaccine requirements for South Dakota:

South Dakota Codified Law 13-28-7.1 (Rev. 2016) requires that any pupil entering school or an early childhood program in this state shall, prior to admission, be required to present to school authorities certification from a licensed physician that the child has received, or is in the process of receiving, adequate immunization against poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, rubeola (measles), rubella, mumps, tetanus, meningitis and varicella (chickenpox), according to the recommendations of the State Department of Health.

This law applies to ALL children entering a South Dakota school district for the first time. This would include children in early intervention programs, preschool, as well as kindergarten through twelfth grade. Children under 4 need to be age-appropriately immunized.

Minimum immunization requirements for kindergarten through twelfth grade are defined as receiving at least:

  1. Four or more doses of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus containing vaccine, with at least one dose administered on or after age 4. Children 7 years or older needing the primary series only need three doses. Children receiving six doses before age 4 do not require any additional doses for kindergarten entry. The maximum a child should receive is six doses. If a child 7 years or older has an incomplete DTaP primary series, please contact the Department of Health for assistance. 

  2. Four or more doses of poliovirus vaccine, at least one dose on or after age 4. (Although not the recommended schedule - If a child has three doses of polio with the third dose administered on or after the age of 4 and at least 6 months after the second dose, no other doses are required.)

  3. Two doses of a measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR or MMRV). The minimum age for the first dose is 12 months. Administer the second dose routinely at age 4 through 6 years. The second dose may be administered prior to age 4 provided at least 28 days have elapsed since the first dose.

  4. Two doses of varicella vaccine (Varicella or MMRV). The minimum age for the first dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is 12 months. History of disease is acceptable with parent/guardian signature. Administer the second dose routinely at age 4 through 6 years. The second dose may be administered prior to age 4 provided the minimum interval between the two doses is 3 months.


  5. One dose of Tdap is required for 6th-grade entry IF the child is 11 years old. If the child is 10 years old when entering 6th-grade they have 45 days after their 11th birthday to receive the Tdap vaccination. If a child has a contraindication to Tdap, Td is acceptable. If a child aged 7 through 9 years receives a dose of Tdap as part of a catch-up series, an adolescent Tdap vaccine dose must be administered by the 45th day following the child’s 11th birthday. A dose given at age 10 will count for the 6th grade Tdap requirement. If a child 7 years or older has an incomplete DTaP primary series, please contact the Department of Health for assistance.

  6. One dose of meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) is required for 6th-grade entry IF the child is 11 years old. If the child is 10 years old when entering 6th grade they have 45 days after their 11th birthday to receive the meningococcal vaccine. If a child receives a dose at age 10 or after, the dose does not need to be repeated.

These requirements have long been recognized as essential to public health and the responsible operation of our schools, and they make safe community life possible.  In the face of 65 million cases of covid-19 in the nation resulting in 850,000 deaths, anyone arguing against vaccine mandates is effectually arguing in behalf of disabling disease and death.  With few exceptions, those who rail against a covid-19 vaccination are vaccinated against other diseases that can do them in.  They do not seem to suffer from their failures of intelligence, but the rest of the nation is.  
The attacks against Dr. Fauci reveal the malady that is the direst threat.  It is revealed in the opposition to vaccine mandates.  If one objects to mandates, can one propose anything as effective in getting control of the disease?  Or is one willing to submit to the disease?  And thus enable it?  A majority of people polled indicate that they do not think the country is doing well in handling the pandemic.  But they seem to ignore those who obstruct the measures that effectively prevent the spread of the disease.  

Similarly, in response to those who believe Trump's big lie, there are efforts to suppress voting rights and gain control of the tallying of votes.  These efforts are directed at commutes of color.  Their effect is to make some votes count for more than others or not count at all.  Disenfranchising the vote is a major step in revokng the democracy.

These obstructions violate the basic premise of the Constitution "to provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty..."   Blaming the White House for the obstructions by its political opposition is misdirection, a false diagnosis of the country's ills.  

Joe Biden may make attempts to offer solutions to our problems, but ultimately we are the owners of them.  Until we assign the cause of our failures to the actual sources, we will have to endure them.  

1 comment:

Donald said...

Absoulutely. This is what I have been thinking as the beltway press joined the rightwing "Biden failure" chorus. This is a failure of American culture. The selfishness, the whining, the subversion of health mandates for political advantage is killing us. Our institutions are not strong enough to work. The Senate has long been a failing institution, but we don't have the ability to reform it, because we can't let go of our selfishness long enough to save ourselves.

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