Thursday, March 7, 2013


Last night I watched a TV program hosted by the actor Ewan McGregor.  It was about a Unicef program to vaccinate isolated village children in rural India.  The program was called Ewan McGregor: Cold Chain Mission which referred to the chain of freezer stations designed to keep the vaccines cold and viable as the vaccination team moved into isolated areas.   I was impressed to see villagers lining up for life saving vaccinations for their children.   In Australia there are parents who refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated citing the chances of nasty side effects.  Oh darlings, remember Polio? 

In 1962, Indonesian President Sukarno ordered the invasion of Dutch New Guinea, which was the western half of the island of Papua New Guinea and Netherlands New Guinea.  The Dutch had conceded their colony, Indonesia, earlier and gave up their New Guinea colony without too much argy-bargy.   At that time I was Teacher-in-Charge of Arehava PS in the Gulf of Papua.  The Australian administration of  The Territory of Papua New Guinea was concerned that the invaders may bring smallpox to the Dutch side and that it could jump the border into T.P. &.N.G.  Areas closer to the border ( Arehava is about 350km from the border)were to be contacted for a vaccination program and a team fronted up to my school to vaccinate pupils and villagers.  To show that it wasn’t going to hurt, I went first, but not one other person would have the shot as they believed that it was an Australian mark and if the Indonesians invaded their village, those with the Australian mark would be shot.   The Indos didn’t invade and smallpox was not a problem.  I still have the Australian mark on my shoulder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

kev, They probably wouldn't have the injection because you stacked on a show, holding on to your arm and screaming.......We should all have a flu shot this month according to the TV as we are going to have a very bad flu this year. It's coming from America. Their hospitals were full of flu victims during their winter, and I don't think our hospitals will have enough beds to handle it. Marg