Tag Archives: polio

I Volunteered For The COVID-19 Vaccine Testing Trial.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

I followed the CNN recommendation:

Click to access CNN article with link …

I have NO problem or concerns being a guinea pig for the COVID-19 vaccine. Does not scare I. I don’t think it will kill me & I am sure I can deal with any other symptoms. These could be famous last words.

I have previously taken part in a polio vaccine trial (unbeknownst) & in the 1970s I did volunteer & v. successfully take part in an asthma prevention drug trial (i.e. Intal). So, I am not new to this.

Related posts:
Search on ‘COVID’.

by Anura Guruge

I Have Never Had A Tetanus Vaccination — And I Was Told, In My 40s, That I Probably Didn’t Need One.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE. Google. Lots of stories about this poor boy.

Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetanus_vaccine

Growing up in third-world Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) 1950 — 1967 we did not get many vaccination. The only one I know, for sure, that I got was the oral (i.e., in a sugar cube) polio vaccine c. 1962. As I have chronicled many times on this blog, we, the brown kids of Ceylon, unbeknownst to us were used to try out the vaccine. Well, we did fine (thank you). My maternal uncle was the then Director of Health for Ceylon and this probably was his doing. He was far thinking. I, alas, never got to talk to him about this.

As I child I caught and suffered through measles & mumps — and, quite memorably, typhoid from drinking some unboiled water before my adoptive mother could stop me. I caught chicken pox from my elder kids when I was in my late 30s — and nobody told me that it is pretty serious in adults. All I knew was that my doctor did not want me to come in!

Now to tetanus. Never was vaccinated for it in Ceylon — and as a raggamuffin who played a lot of street cricket I got plenty of cuts and scratches. I probably had some exposed injury every day. Vaccinations also were not big in the U.K. in the 1970 – 1980. I don’t recall anybody asking me whether I had had a tetanus vaccination in the UK.

The question as to my tetanus shot only started to come up in the U.S. — particularly after the mid-1990s. I would get asked at my physical. I would decline.

Eventually, over the years, I had two conversations with U.S. doctors — who were friends of mine at the time. They both said that it was probably pointless for me to get a tetanus shot post-40. According to them my body probably had built up enough antibodies to tetanus over the years. “If you haven’t had tetanus by now, and you grew up in a tropical country … you are probably safe by now.” That made sense to I.

So, I am just sharing this for the record.

Also, for the record, I have nothing against vaccinations. All the kids have had all the required vaccinations and a FEW optional ones. Yes, I have said no to a few that seemed superfluous. And for the last 6 or 7 years, I and the two youngest kids, have also got the flu shot every year — without fail. Last year, upon turning 65, I even got a pneumonia shot. So, do not accuse me of anything. Just stating the facts about tetanus.

Related Posts:
Search ‘polio‘.

by Anura Guruge

Sri Lanka To Be First To Try Out Google’s Balloon-Based Internet — And Ungrateful Locals Are Worried Of Spying!

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail.
by Anura Guruge

projectloon22Related posts:
>> Google’s Balloon-based Internet.

++++ Check Category ‘Sri Lanka’ or search ‘Ceylon’ for other posts >>>>

++++ Search on  ‘Google’ for other posts >>>>


Click to access original.


Click to learn more about Google’s Internet via balloon ‘Project Loon’.

Having tested the concept, successfully, in New Zealand and Brazil earlier this year, Google has signed a contract with the Sri Lankan government to provide Internet via balloon.

This makes sense. The country is small but populous, with very high literacy and most people not averse to technology. Nonetheless only 1 in 5 have ready access to the Internet. So Google in reality is doing the Sri Lankans a huge favor and honor.

Though only a handful will know this Sri Lanka in 1992 became the first country to officially sign-up for Al Gore’sInformation Superhighway“! I kid you not. At the time I used to joke that Sri Lanka must have managed to get a connection with the single 128Kbps dial-up link they had. I know this because the person who made this happen, as the then Sri Lankan Ambassador in D.C. was my adoptive father — who once a month had breakfast with Al Gore, his ‘neighbor’ in D.C.

But it appears that some Sri Lankans are far from grateful, let alone happy.

They fear that Google will spy on them and on Sri Lanka.

‘Spy’ is such an emotive and strong word. But, I can see where they are going.

I am 100% sure that Google will ‘data mine’ anything and everything that they can get their hands on in the data that passes through them. That happens worldwide. It is happening right now. I take it for granted.

Will Google ‘share’ this data with the U.S. government — which has a cursory interest in Sri Lanka in the overall context of the war against terrorism — or for that matter with other governments? I am sure India, Pakistan and some Gulf States probably would like to get some hands-on, G2 on Sri Lanka. Even if they don’t share it, Google probably might be amenable to selling some or all of the data. So the Sri Lankans are justified in their paranoia.

I just take Internet snooping, especially by Google and Amazon, for granted. But then again I don’t do anything that I shouldn’t do on the Internet. So I have nothing to hide.

But it amuses me to see the Sri Lankans getting so worked up about this.

Many of them that are ranting are too young to KNOW that Sri Lankans of my age were used, unbeknownst to them, as the guinea pigs for the new oral (sugar cube) polio vaccine, by the U.S., in the late 1950s. Yes, I was given the vaccine, multiple times, and I had no idea that I was being used as an easily dispensable, non-white test subject. Luckily for all of us the vaccine worked and we did get, successfully, immunized against polio. Consequently I have seen more polio in the U.S. than I ever did in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon).

Well being ‘spied on’ by Google is as far as I am concerned not as risky as having been unwitting test subjects for what could have been a dangerous vaccine that could have killed us!

Got My 2014 – 2015 Flu Shot, Trivalent IIV From Novartis At The Alton, N.H., Hannaford Pharmacy By Senate Hopeful Richard Leonard.

flueshotAnura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


by Anura Guruge

HannafordlogoRelated posts:
>> 2013 flu shot from Hanaford
>> Nov. 26, 2013.
>> 2012 flu shot, at Hannaford

>>Sep. 29, 2012.
>> Free flu shots for NH kids
>> — Oct. 15, 2013.

I got my flu shot, for this winter, on Saturday, October 18, 2014, at the Hannaford Pharmacy. It was a spur of the moment decision, pretty typical of me. Yes, I was going to get a flu shot this year, as I had for the last 3 years, but I hadn’t really thought about when I would get it. Saturday afternoon around 3pm I was at Hannaford with Devanee. I just picked her up after she got back to school from a NH State cross-country meet. We needed some odds and ends. Our friend Richard Leonard, of ‘Miller Farms‘ and hopefully soon a NH Senator, was on duty. They, for a change, were not mobbed. I did need to talk to Richard. Plus we needed a couple of his “Elect Richard Leonard” signs for our yard to keep the Ray Howard signs company. While talking to Richard it occurred to me that I might as well get my flu shot and get it over with.

Richard, as ever, always trying to be helpful, was happy to oblige.norvatis11

For the 3rd time in a row I got my flu shot at Hannafords, in Alton — for the 2nd time Richard Leonard. It really was painless on all fronts.

The last two years I had to pay because I had the stupid, NH Health Plan. This year Anthem, to their credit, paid for it all. Zero cost to me. I am impressed. I have started to have a grudging respect for Anthem. I might even stay with them in 2015.

Getting ‘the shot’ is a BIG change of heart for me. Prior to 2011 I refused to get the shot and have the kids get it. But then in November 2010 I nearly died though much of that had to do with some cavalier treatment I got from Dartmouth-Hitchcock (Concord). [Ironically this afternoon I helped Deanna file a formal complaint about them, to the NH Board of Medicine, about them. I also JUST found that THOUGH they call themselves Dartmouth-Hitchcock they are not really that affiliated with the mothership in Lebanon! Some deception going on here. But that is another story, another post down the road.] I, at the urging of many, a few of them doctors, agreed to get the flu shot after that — plus i am getting up there.

As with last year what I was inoculated with was the Trivalent IIV vaccine. Today I went looking to see what it was all about. See below [click to ENLARGE. From the CDC.] Fingers crossed. Hope this post helps.



I Got My 2014 Flu Shot, ‘Flulaval’ (a.k.a. ‘Trivalent IIV) At The Alton, N.H., Hannaford Pharmacy, Yesterday.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> 2012 flu shot, at Hannaford —

>>Sep. 29, 2012.
>> Free flu shots for NH kids
>> — Oct. 15, 2013.

flushothereThree years ago, Thanksgiving Day, I nearly died because of the cavalier mistreatment I had received from Dartmouth Hitchcock (Concord) a few days earlier. I chronicled that sad story here. I was coughing so much I broke a rib! Since then I have been grudgingly getting the flu vaccine — especially now that I am considered old and decrepit. I am not a great believer in vaccinations. That I was used as a ‘brown’ guinea pig for testing out the oral polio vaccine in the 1950s, without us being told that we were the guinea pigs, sometimes riles me up. Luckily the vaccine was good and all of us in Ceylon lucked out. Read here.

So yesterday morning I woke up and realized that Thanksgiving was this week! I hadn’t had THE SHOT. I decided then and there that I was going to get the shot — that day itself.

Both Deanna and I got our flu shots, last year, at Hannaford Alton. It was ultra convenient and quite slick.

So at 2pm yesterday we trotted down to Hannaford’s — a place that I seem to visit 4 times a week! 2:00 to 2:30 pm is the pharmacist’s lunch break — but that was no big deal since we had to fill in the 3 pages of paperwork. Deanna might already have the flu. So they wouldn’t give to her. I claimed to be totally healthy, which is a JOKE since ‘good health’ is not in my genes. I just muddle through.

Our friend, Richard Leonard was the pharmacist on duty. That was a bonus. We, obviously, like Richard — and his delightful ‘Miller Farm’. Richard, as ever, did a great job. Injections don’t bother me. Neither does giving blood. So I don’t even flinch. It really was painless.

I was fine afterwards. So, I am glad.

According to Richard it will take 10 days for the vaccine to kick-in (if it does). Bummer.

According to the paperwork what I was injected was Glaxo Smith 0.5 Flulaval 2,013-14 INJ — also listed on another sheet as Influenza: Trivalent IIV.

I do NOT trust Glaxo Smith or for that matter pharmacies in general — though I do respect and trust individual pharmacists like Richard or the very nice guy who used to be at Walmart Gilford.

As far as I know, that little vial could have contained nothing other than sugar water!

Yes, I am a cynic.

My bloody insurance company, the blood sucking scam artists, New Hampshire Health Plan, YET AGAIN refused to pay for the shot — though I had called them up 20 minutes earlier and they confirmed that the flue shot would be covered 100%. That is par for the course for those crooks. They have NEVER paid a cent for anything in the 3 or 4 years I have had coverage with them @ ~$560/month! They have an excuse for everything.

My only consolation was that sitting on the front seat of the van, waiting to be mailed, CERTIFIED, was an ADDITIONAL CANCELLATION notice for these rogues, telling them NOT to extend my coverage into 2014 — now that they told me that they will cancel me at the end of 2013. This insurance was such a joke that I would rather go without BUT Deanna insists that I carry some insurance because I am old and frail.

I can’t wait for this bloody policy to expire. But, I am also quite certain that they will FRAUDULENTLY try to direct-debit $570 from my Fidelity account on January 2, 2104 despite my certified letter.

Hannaford, to their credit, only charged me $20. Thank YOU, Hannaford.

I am not going to bother trying to get this $20 back from those bastards. Waste of my time and postage.

IF I only got sugar water … $20 was probably still OK.

New Hampshire (NH) School Kids Have Access to FREE Flu Vaccine Right Now. That Is So Great.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> Flu shots from Hannafords in 2012 —
Sep. 29, 2012.

++++ Search on ‘Common Core for those posts >>>>

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Our school, Alton Central School (ACS), is offering this FREE flu vaccine program and this morning Deanna was filling in the approval and acceptance forms. She wanted me to publicize this program — which I am now doing, though I am a bit worried about doing so! Why, because the ‘Local Control‘ fanatics may jump on this, as they have about the innocuous ‘Common Core‘, and try and stop it! I am actually amazed that NH has this very enlightened and beneficial program. I am surprised that they haven’t been forced to scrap it on fears that the kids were being injected with mind-drugs from D.C. or even microchips to monitor their activity (à la the infamous ‘Common Core biometric bracelet’).

I will be fair. We are but recent converts to flu vaccination. I didn’t see a need for it, until I nearly died (or to be more precise was nearly killed) two years ago. Have been getting it since, plus I am now a senior. Since Teischan has my constitution and is prone to colds, coughs, wheezes, asthma, bronchitis etc. etc. we decided to get her the shot too. And with the three of us getting the shot, Devanee, who just hates needles, wasn’t going to escape — if nothing else to hear her SCREAM when she gets pricked. She brings the whole place to a momentary halt — her screech so dramatic.

Yes, we know that you can get the flu for FREE at many clinics. Yes, we once got it for free at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Lebanon when we were there for another appointment for Deanna’s back. Yes, we also know that most health insurances cover it.

But, it is best if this can be done at school for FREE. So we are very happy though I have a sinking feeling that this will be the next program voted out by our dysfunctional, misguided School Board. If they do, may they be beset with the pox.

Growing up in Ceylon, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, we used to get free, compulsory vaccinations at school. One of them was for polio — the sugarcube vaccine. It was a BIG government sponsored propaganda programs. Ceylon’s school children being vaccinated to eradicate polio. We were all told to wear our ‘Sunday’ best. They took pictures of us lined up to get the sugarcubes. There was black-and-white news footage. My adoptive uncle, a doctor, then the Director of Medicine for Ceylon was the mastermind behind this anti-polio drive. Many decades later, having met folks in the U.S., my age, with polio, I found out that we were the ‘they are wogs, so they don’t count’ human guinea pigs for the sugarcube polio vaccine. I don’t mind — I guess because none of us got hurt. Actually we did good. As I said, I have seen more polio in this country than I ever did in Ceylon. So it is OK that my adoptive uncle, quite a man, still one of my heroes, volunteered us (including his own sons) for this testing. I never got to ask him. So, I am not sure whether he fully knew that we were the guinea pigs. It is possible that it was presented to him as one of the MANY foreign aid benefits that we used to get in those days — since we were a leading non-aligned nation (meaning we gladly took aid from all sides).

We Got Our Flu Shots at the Hannaford, Alton pharmacy

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Click image to read article from ‘Fox News Latino’.

Deanna, Devanee and I got our 2012 – 2013 ‘flu shot’, influenza vaccination, at the Hannaford, Alton pharmacy. It, in all aspects, was ‘painless’ — though Devanee, as ever, complained (but did not scream as she is sometimes wont to do when getting a shot or having blood drawn).

It is the first time we have had a flu shot from a pharmacy, as opposed to a hospital. In terms of convenience and price, you can’t beat it. No lines and a minimum of waiting. Yes, there was a fair amount of paperwork to be done. But, overall it was quick. Basically, in and out.

The pharmacist who administered the injections was very nice. We had never seen her before. The Alton Hannaford pharmacy currently does not have a permanent pharmacist. For 2 years or more we had two really decent men, who we got to know quite well. We are supposed to be getting a new one within the month. Till then the pharmacy is served by floaters.

This pharmacist, very openly, admitted, even without us asking, that giving injections is not something she had expected to do when she was studying to be a pharmacist. It is very apparent that she was not taught to give injections at ‘school’. She had an interesting, but effective, technique. She didn’t inject per se; she jabbed, handling the syringe as if it were a dart. You could tell she has practiced on poor oranges. Told me that I am thin-skinned. Wow.

Though I am very happy to have got the shots, with the minimum of fuss, the whole process bothers me. First of all, I feel bad for the pharmacists! I have to assume that they don’t really have a choice in this matter — other than trying to find a job with somebody else. They should not be expected to give shots. That is not what they trained for. I wonder if Hannaford has any pharmacists who have refused to give shots. They should have a choice in this matter.

I checked the pharmacist, as I am wont to do with most professionals, on her knowledge on the subject, and she got it wrong. I asked her if this was a NEW vaccine for ‘this year’ and she glibly responded: ‘we get a new vaccine every year because the flu strains are different’. Wrong! There was no new vaccine last year. They used the same one as they had used the year before. How do I know; I checked with the CDC. Why did I do that; because Walmart started offering flu vaccine in early September (maybe even August) and I couldn’t fathom how they could have come up with a formula that early.

Yes, there is supposed to be a NEW vaccine, with protection against two new strains added, for 2012 – 2013. Not sure whether we got that. As far I know she could have injected water from the tap! Yes, I am a cynic. Yes, I saw her extract fluid from a small vial, but who knows. The drug company could be shipping duds. Yes, I am very cynical.

I have never been a fan of flu shots until of late. This is just the 3rd flu shot I have had. I am genetically prone to bronchitis. For the last 30 years, once in Spring and then in the fall, I get a real bad case of bronchitis. I would always end up having to take antibiotics, sometimes multiple courses. So I was finally persuaded to get the flu shot, especially as I get closer and closer to 60. The first year we happened to be at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon when they were having a free flu clinic. That was ultra convenient and the price was right. Last year we also got it from DHMC, but at Concord; our ‘Primaries’ being there. We didn’t make a special appointment or go to a scheduled clinic. Deanna had an appointment with her Primary and she asked for a shot while she was in there. I asked whether I could get one too, and since my Primary is also there it proved not to be an issue. They charged our insurance.

Hannaford yesterday told me that my shot was not covered by my insurance. They were wrong on that too. I called up my insurance, the NH State ‘NH Plan’, and they said I was 100% covered outside of my deductible. They claim that Hannaford most likely billed it wrong. So I now have to submit a claim. But, overall in terms of convenience and cost ($25) it was a good deal. By the way, I did call Huggins. They told me to try a pharmacy.

I have mixed feelings about vaccinations. Though I was a child growing up, 50 years ago, in a poor 3rd world country, I was lucky enough to get vaccinations against most things. Chicken pox vaccination was before my time and I got chicken pox when I was in my 40s. I never knew until much later what that could have done for me. Luckily I came out of that alive and with everything working. I have never had a tetanus shot, and as good, enlightened doctors will now point out … there is not much point getting one. That I haven’t got tetanus after all the cuts I have had indicates that my body has built up resistance on its own. A few years ago I worked out that c. 1960 I was one of the folks that received the then brand new ‘sugar cube’ polio vaccination as part of the patient trial process. Yes, they tested it out on brown kids in Ceylon. My uncle, who was a doctor, had a hand in arranging for this ‘free’ nationwide vaccination program, but since he is dead I have no way of finding out if he knew that this was a trial. All of us kids in Ceylon, including his then 3 sons, took it — by mouth. It was a big deal. Lots of media coverage. Lots of political publicity. We were told to wear our best to school for the occasion. We lined up. They put the sugar cubes in our mouth, a bit like the Eucharist. We survived and polio never really got a foothold in Ceylon. I have seen more people, in general, with polio in this country than I have in Ceylon. Some are my age. They did not get vaccinated. It was still being tried out on us. Funny how the cookie crumbles.

National immunization programs in Ceylon. Click if you want to read an article.