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Calling Their Own Shots: Parents Seek Vaccine Exemptions

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But doctorsinsist ongiving these vaccines on schedule:Hib (which prevents meningitis and pneumonia);pneumococcal immunization (which prevents pneumonia and ear infections) andDTaP (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?Asurvey published inPediatrics 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; onlyone 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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2:49PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Vaccines are not to be blindly trusted!
Do your research people!

8:52AM PST on Dec 8, 2011

There once was a girl named Ophelia,
who shunned shots for measles, mumps and diphtheria.
Her excuses were inane,
then measles attacked her brain,
and now she has permanent amnesia !

1:14AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Well, they propose nonsense, snake oil and/or unproven "remedies" or bizarrely, "good nutrition" to prevent illness. It's quite amazing the stupidity of it.

9:16PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

John D. It seems a lot of those screaming that vaccines and other drugs are solely money grabbing schemes of, "Big Pharma", are those most likely to financially gain from such bashing as they are the purveyors of homeopathic alternatives? One might say that its a conspiracy of, "Big Homo" !

3:53AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

As a child I remember how polio and TB were rife and immunisation mandatory. Also Measles and Whooping Cough were recommended and I was given them. This was in the 1940s. Despite the jabs I have no immunity to TB and still contracted Whooping Cough every time it came round until I was in my teens. Mumps and Chickenpox however, were not considered serious enough and parents were encouraged to let their children catch them naturally.

11:29PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

I think there was an Indian girl named Rahima, though, and there was a British lab technician who caught it in the lab, though.

11:27PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

By the time I was born in 1970, a doctor told my mom not to worry about the smallpox vaccine. The one in a million risk of dying of the shot was worse than the likelihood of getting smallpox without warning in the United States. He figured there would be time for vaccination if smallpox were found in the USA. Besides, the disease was eradicated in the wild hardly ten years later.

Reader's Digest reported that the last case was in Merke, Somalia in 1977.

2:06AM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Yes Christopher. But the loony conspiracy theorists will still say that "Big Pharma" and the rest just want to kill us all!

8:47PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

I think the disease is more dangerous than the vaccine. That is why we have vaccines. Doctors are not sadistic or idiots.

Why do you think my doctor for example had me take Avandia if it has a heart attack risk? Because the immediate risk of uncontrolled diabetes is worse.

Why do you think surgeons risked my life with surgery and radiologists risked my life with radiation in 1997?
Because the immediate risk of dying of testicular cancer was considerably stronger than the risks of surgery or radiation.

Now I had a roommate in 1990 born with 3/4 of his heart. Presumably that was a problem needing fixing. It took a lot of operations to fix and the last one killed him. Yes, medicine has risks. But doing nothing also has risks.

Medical science is about statistical odds. Most of the time you are safer following the doctors' advice than ignoring it.

Until gods practice medicine, there will always be risks in medicine because humans practice medicine scientifically with the best guess they have as humans. The human body is not an exact science. We can't save everyone. There are always people who die from drugs/medicines or vaccines.

I agree that vaccine preservatives are a bad idea.

But we have come a long way from when infectious disease and some diseases like cancer claimed life without mercy. We have saved millions, even billions, in the past century with vaccines and antibiotics/drugs, undoubtedly.

In the long run of the human race, we have undoubtedly w

2:01PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

Yes, measles does kill.... Gone With the Wind... I regret to inform you Charles Hamilton [bravely died of] measles Mrs. Hamilton, in a letter.

Army camp. Nice place to pick up a childhood illness if you spent all your life on a plantation.

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