But doctors insist on giving these vaccines on schedule: Hib (which prevents meningitis and pneumonia); pneumococcal immunization (which prevents pneumonia and ear infections) and DTaP (which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough).
What gives? The study authors suggest that doctors are engaged in a tricky balancing act. “Primary care physicians should be recognized for seeking to immunize their patients against common and devastating diseases of infancy while maintaining a therapeutic alliance with parents,” the authors [of the study] wrote.
In other words: We’ll bend a bit so we don’t alienate parents. But we’re going to make darned sure kids get their shots.
When it comes to their own kids, 96 percent of the surveyed pediatricians said they would stick to the recommended vaccination schedule.
Many of the parents seeking exemptions are convinced that the diseases their children could get from a vaccine are worse than the diseases the vaccines are protecting a child from. Sabrina Paulick of Ashland, Oregon, and the mother of a 4-year-old daughter, says, “I don’t think vaccines are what saved the world from disease”; she attributes advances in public health to “effective sewer systems, nutrition and hand-washing.” Claims of a “connection” between autism and the MMR made by the British doctor Andrew Wakefield in 1998 continue to influence parents, even though the medical journal, The Lancet, that originally published Wakefield’s study has retracted it; scientists have pointed out that his research was fraudulent; more and more evidence refutes a vaccine-autism link.
Childhood vaccinations are definitely a topic evoking a great deal of emotion. Parents who have chosen not to vaccinate have often invested significant time and energy in searching for information about vaccines and their potential dangers. It only takes one account of a child “injured” after receiving immunizations to make a parent wary.
Jennifer Margulis, a mother of four who also lives in Ashland, simply states that ”Many of the vaccines are unnecessary, and public health officials don’t honestly know” what the effects of giving all those vaccines are to small children. Parents who make such claims about “vaccine safety” have the upper hand over scientists talking about the technicalities of herd immunity (when a significant portion of a population is immunized against a disease and therefore provides protection for those who are not immunized). What parent isn’t worried about keeping their children safe? A survey published in Pediatrics in October found that 1 out of 10 parents say they have delayed or skipped some vaccines for their children.
But 10 infants died of whooping cough last year in California, which saw 2,100 cases of the disease; only one child had receive their first dose of the vaccine. Measles rates are also at their highest in 15 years in the US. Autism is not an infectious disease; is not life-threatening, like measles or whooping cough. Seeking to keep a child safe by postponing or opting out of vaccines may seem best, but is it?
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Read more: andrew wakefield, autism, cdc, childrens health, immunization, kids health, Measles, measles mumps rubella vaccine, medication exemption, mmr, pediatricians, philosophical exemption, religious exemption, vaccine, vaccines, Wakefield, washington
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