Last week, Pediatrics published online a “special report” which turns out to be a one-sided fear-tactic approach to vaccination. It argues that books supporting alternative vaccination schedules are a threat to the population because they propagate an “anti-vaccine” message.
Rather than concern themselves with individual health histories or the potential health risks parents weigh for their individual children–lead author Paul A. Offit appears to argue that a more thoughtful approach to vaccination dangerously affects vaccines’ PR. In other words, if we “indulge” parents’ concerns about vaccines, we’ll risk bringing back epidemics of disease.
Deborah Kotz’ recent blog points out, however, that instead of publishing a pro and con debate on alternative vaccination schedules, Pediatrics‘ one sided angle further drives away skeptical parents worried about the epidemic of autism and other auto-immune disorders in our country. If doctors really want to persuade worried parents they would not dismiss the concerns or try to forbid a more cautious approach.
Some babies receive as many as six shots against 8 diseases in one visit. And then again a few months later. 38 shots against 15 diseases before kindergarten, compared with 11 shots against eight diseases 15 years ago. That certainly worries me.
Why? How many studies have looked at the long-term health impacts of receiving this many shots in such a short time at such a young age? (I haven’t found any, so if you know of some, please comment!) Given the exponential growth of vaccine administration, it seems to me that we haven’t given the vaccines long enough to know–it’s only been 15 years since we more than tripled the number of shots. And we certainly have not studied enough to know which children might be most vulnerable to vaccine injury–from autism to asthma.
But back to Pediatrics. For me, the icing on the cake is that that Offit actually holds a patent on one of the vaccines in the schedule. In other words, he loses money if people don’t follow the schedule and take his vaccine. I don’t need to be a doctor to conclude that it’s a bit of a conflict of interest.