As we near the Hallowe’en high fructose sugar celebration, I wanted to look back on how the zombie vaccine could have prevented the ensuing apocalypse that nearly destroyed the world. The anti-vaxxers are to blame for much of the outbreak, though they have now all become zombies thanks to their unwavering denial of the safety and effectiveness of that vaccine.
The new leader of the Great Lakes Federation, Governor Orac, asked me to briefly recount the events of the past 36 months since Day 0 when the CDC discovered the new pathogen. He specifically asked me to emphasize the settled science of the safety and effectiveness of the zombie vaccine, so that future generations won’t soon forget how it could have saved humanity.
All of the history that follows is from my own observations while trying to stop the anti-vaxxers from leading to humanity’s downfall. All of the opinions and statements are mine, with no undue influence from Governor Orac.
Developing the zombie vaccine
Day 0 – after several months of bewildering reports of people in rural northern Alabama who have died and become reanimated after being bitten by other such individuals, the CDC was ordered by President Elizabeth Warren to investigate whether it was just a myth or there was some pathogen involved. The investigation headed to the area, not far from CDC headquarters in Atlanta. The CDC Director, at the time, seemed to dismiss it as a “zombie apocalypse,” with numerous memes and posts on Facebook and Twitter mocking anyone who called it that.
Day 15 – from a small team of about 15 individuals, over 1200 scientists, physicians, nurses, and other public health experts descended on northern Alabama city of Decatur, which was close to the ground zero of the outbreak. The healthcare experts were from the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Public Health Service, and the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). In general, these organizations are the first at the frontlines of new disease outbreaks – their goal was to identify the cause of the new disease, to determine methods to prevent its spread, and to discover a potential treatment. As usual, these dedicated individuals put their own lives at risk – at the time, at least 12 of these researchers and healthcare workers had died from the disease.
Day 18 – in consultation with the scientists on the front lines of the outbreak, President Warren ordered the United States Army to quarantine the area in hopes of reducing the spread of the outbreak. Many sources within the first responders seem to indicate that it might have been too late, and the disease had spread.
Day 19 – a team of microbiologists at USAMRIID announced the discovery of the virus that was causing the reanimation of the apparently dead humans. The new pathogen was named Zombievirus coralensis in a nod to the popular The Walking Dead series.
The pathogen’s pathophysiology is unusual – it enters open wounds through the saliva of other infected humans, much like rabies (to which it seems to be somewhat related). As it spreads through all cells of the human host, the patient presents signs and symptoms that mimic a very serious case of influenza, eventually appearing to die. However, the patient actually enters a deep state of hibernation for 1-10 hours, before appearing to come back to life.
The “reanimated” individual seems to be driven by a desire to attack other humans, needing to consume their flesh before they die. Of course, Z. coralensis enters the new individual, spreading the pathogen.
Day 20 – Del Bigtree, noted pseudoscience-pushing anti-vaccine religious zealot, distributed a YouTube video (although Governor Orac is attempting to restore internet service to the Great Lakes Federation, we all hope he keeps YouTube from ever happening again) that claimed that new Zombievirus is a result of CDC experiments with the flu and measles vaccine. Numerous homeopaths, chiropractors, Natural News, and other quacks explained that they had treatments for the disease, selling them online to gullible individuals across the world.
Day 35 – as the outbreak spread from northern Alabama to neighboring areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia, scientists determined that Z. coralensis seemed to avoid the immune system because it had no surface antigens that seem to stimulate the immune system. But with hard work, the researchers seemed to find one surface antigen when bound to another glycoprotein could cause the immune system to recognize the virus and destroy it. This was amazing good luck that could lead to a new zombie vaccine, but it would take some time to determine if it could be mass-produced into a vaccine.
Day 75 – after nearly 5 weeks of 24 hours a day investigation, President Warren announced that the CDC, in partnership with several Big Pharma corporations, may have a vaccine available to the general public within 60-90 days.
Enter the new zombie vaccine
Day 76 – the CDC, WHO, and the US Food and Drug Administration, along with counterparts in nearly every country across the world that they would forgo clinical studies to get the vaccine on the market as quickly as possible as the outbreak had spread throughout the Southeastern USA. There were also unverified reports of the disease in Germany, France, and other nations.
Many states began to block movement into their states from anywhere with the outbreak. California, Oregon, and Washington jointly sealed their borders, although we would eventually discover that it was too late.
Day 77 – Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Del Bigtree purchased TV time from all major networks to state that the new vaccine was dangerous and that the CDC and FDA were conspiring with Big Pharma to push vaccines. There were reports, at the time, that Russia believed that the disease was caused by US Military testing and used social media to push the misinformation from the anti-vaccine crowd.
Day 95 – the US Congress, after watching several of their anti-science members become zombified after visiting outbreak areas, voted unanimously to mandate the new vaccine for all residents and visitors to the USA, once it became available. Numerous states also followed suit by mandating all vaccines to all of its residents, despite violent protests by anti-vaccine radicals.
The CDC, which monitors all infectious disease outbreaks, announced that nearly 1 million Americans were infected by the virus in fifteen states. They also posted a preparedness guide on their website to help protect ourselves from the disease.
Day 97 – although it was well known for several weeks, the CDC finally published guidelines to deal with the zombie outbreak. One important point was that the only way to kill a zombie was to destroy higher brain activity by destroying the brain. Although many families were reluctant to kill loved ones, the virus was spreading so quickly that it became the only option available, although many families attempted to isolated these infected family members in barns, fenced areas, or basements.
The zombie vaccine for the public
Day 140 – the first new lots of the zombie vaccine were distributed to affected areas. Although the vaccine underwent a speedy review and approval process by the FDA, it still met all of the standards of manufacturing that the FDA demanded of the vaccine manufacturers. Unfortunately, because the vaccine needed to induce a very powerful immune response to attack the virus, many individuals would contract what could be described as severe flu.
As this became well known, a lot of people started to refuse the vaccine, instead preferring to lock themselves into well-armed homes.
The anti-vaccine zealots, like the cunning fraud Andrew Wakefield, demanded double-blind clinical trials before anyone should take the vaccine. CDC administrators, barely stifling outrage and anger, stated that most of the world would be dead before a clinical trial could be finished.
Numerous online testimonials, anecdotes, and post hoc fallacies showed children turning into zombies in a few hours after receiving the vaccinations. The CDC believed that many of those individuals received the vaccine were already infected. Their analysis showed that no one became a zombie after the vaccination, but they continued to monitor the situation.
Other anti-vaccine quacks are claiming that it’s better to be bitten by a zombie to get a “natural lifetime immunity.” Ironically, they also claim that anyone dies from it just has a weak immune system from eating too many GMO and gluten-containing foods.
Interestingly, not a single CDC employee, all of whom received the initial doses of the vaccine, became a zombie. Of course, this led to further claims that it was a manufactured outbreak.
Day 145 – a truck carrying over 100,000 doses of the new zombie vaccine was attacked and destroyed outside of Columbus, OH. The attackers went on Facebook to state that Big Pharma was trying to make money from the fake vaccine and fake disease. With the vaccine already in short supply, and the infrastructure of the country (and the world) beginning to fracture, CDC officials were concerned that it was too little and too late.
Day 180 – the CDC estimated that around 100 million Americans and at least twice that many outside of the USA had succumbed to the virus. As anti-vaccine radicals protested around vaccine manufacturing locations across the world, blaming Americans for causing it and Big Pharma from profiting from it, along with difficulties in getting supplies, like syringes and vials for the vaccine, production was falling far short of needs.
By this time, only around 10 million doses of vaccines were available worldwide, which resulted in a black market for it where wealthy individuals would host parties for their wealthy friends to get the vaccine.
Michigan, prompted by several physicians like Orac, decided to take control of one vaccine manufacturing site in Ann Arbor to make sure its citizens got the vaccine.
Day 205 – the US government collapsed, no longer able to functionally manage the country. Many other states, sometimes in collaboration with others, seized control of vaccine production and vaccinated as many uninfected individuals as possible. Anyone suspected of being infected with the pathogen was isolated until such time their symptoms passed. Sadly, many healthy individuals were exposed to reanimated individuals and contracted the disease.
Day 247 – the CDC announced that it would become an “independent governmental unit” to serve humanity against all diseases, especially the new Zombievirus. They invited all scientists who were not infected (of course) to join them in their territory in Georgia. Many people traveled across the devastated country to reach the facility to either join or to receive the vaccine since they were able to produce it in limited quantities.
All of the new governments throughout the world, except for one, recognized the CDC as a “country.” Unfortunately, the one country that did not recognize them, Russia, had refused the vaccine, and as far as we can tell at this time, Russia does not exist.
Day 290 – a zombie outbreak near Del Bigtree’s anti-vaccine compound in Nevada overran his group. Bigtree is presumed to have been reanimated after being bitten during a live stream with a naturopath claiming to have “proof” that the zombie vaccine was nothing but water and “chemicals.”
Day 292 – Robert F Kennedy Jr received the zombie vaccine after seeing what happened to his buddy Bigtree. Other Kennedy family members welcomed him to their Massachusetts compound as a result.
Day 365 – the CDC announced by telegraph that nearly 80% of the world’s population was probably dead or reanimated as a result of the epidemic after a year. They also stated that only about 100 million people were vaccinated. The California-Oregon-Washington Confederation, which took over vaccine manufacturing early on, vaccinated about 50% of its citizens. Their early embracing of mandatory vaccinations probably helped.
Sadly, the CDC also estimated that early in the outbreak, nearly 75% of Americans expressed vaccine hesitancy towards the zombie vaccine. By the time many of those realized it was their only protection, it was too late.
At the end of the second year since Day 0, the Zombievirus outbreak continued to ravish the unvaccinated population of the world. In areas with over 95% vaccination, like most of California, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the herd effect seemed to keep localized outbreaks very small and very manageable by public health response teams throughout the smaller countries that have evolved in this post-apocalyptic world.
The CDC and these local governments have established powerful mandatory vaccination programs because many of these vaccine-preventable diseases have similar early symptoms as the zombie infection. In an interesting irony, natural selection seems to have ended the anti-vaccine movement, although humans have short memories about mass epidemics.
At the end of the third year, the CDC estimated that only about 150 million humans are left on the planet. Most of those still alive seems to be centered around areas with strong biomedical and general scientific institutions that are able to protect their citizens and keeping technology moving. Although my iPhone 14 hasn’t been replaced in over three years, I’m still able to make calls to friends in California. And I’m immune to the Zombievirus.
The CDC recently announced an improved zombie vaccine that will protect us for a lifetime.
As I used to say before the zombie apocalypse, “vaccines save lives.” In this world, that’s a fact.
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