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Skip Vaccines and Your Child, and Someone Else’s, Could Get Whooping Cough

Skip Vaccines and Your Child, and Someone Else’s, Could Get Whooping Cough

The 9,120 people who contracted whooping cough three years ago in California should not have become sick. The whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine is one that children are supposed to receive first at the age of two months and then routinely until they reach adulthood. In recent years, due in part to unsubstantiated fears that vaccines could cause autism, many parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children or to give them vaccines at a slower rate than public health officials recommend.

A study published last Monday establishes that mistaken beliefs about vaccines have been deadly. The Pediatrics study found higher rates of whooping cough in areas where more people had sought to exempt their children from taking vaccines.

Health officials have long suspected that the 2010 whooping cough outbreak which took the lives of ten infants could be connected to some children not being vaccinated. The Pediatrics study presents evidence of an actual link. Scientists from Johns Hopkins University found that people living where a high number of parents had opted not to vaccinate their children were 2.5 times more likely to be in an area where there was a high rate of whooping cough cases.

It’s Really Easy to Catch Whooping Cough (If You’re Not Vaccinated)

Failing to vaccinate children and others can have dangerous consequences. Like measles, whooping cough is highly contagious. A person with the flu is likely to infect one to two unvaccinated individuals. But someone who has whooping cough can infect 13 to 15 people who are not vaccinated.

Infants and young children are especially susceptible to contracting whooping cough. While infants can be first vaccinated at two months, they are not fully protected from whooping cough until they are six months old. About half of the infants who are less than one year old who contract whooping cough need to be hospitalized; of those hospitalized, one or two out of 100 will die. Children and adults may be carriers for whooping cough without showing visible symptoms and a cough or a sneeze is enough to spread the disease.

After the 2010 outbreak, the state of California took concerted steps to prevent another outbreak: birthing centers began to offer the vaccine so parents could be sure that infants were protected against the disease. The California state legislature also passed a new law that will go into effect next year, under which it will be more difficult for parents to get non-medical vaccine exemptions for their children.

Other states could find themselves having to take similar measures. North Texas is currently experiencing what some are calling a whooping cough epidemic. Two deaths — both of infants too young to be immunized, as in California in 2010 — have been so far reported as have a total of 2,160 cases as of September 10. In 2012, a total of 2,218 cases (more than twice the amount in 2011) have occurred.

How Quickly People Forget How Dangerous a Disease Can Be

Jessica Atwell, lead author on the study and a Ph.D. candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, attributes the increases in California to people having lost their fear of highly contagious, and potentially fatal, diseases like whooping cough and measles. Parents simply do not “realize how fragile our control of diseases like this is,” she comments.

Not only are the unvaccinated more likely to become ill, but getting your vaccines can help others from becoming ill. When a high percentage of people in a community (between 93 and 95 percent) have been vaccinated, those who have not been immunized are also protected by “herd immunity.”

Azwell adds that many parents are “consciously deciding not to do [vaccinations].” She and other scientists, including UCLA medical school professor Nina Shapiro, point out a curious phenomenon, that lower rates of vaccinated children tend to be found in affluent areas (only 58 percent of kindergarteners in Malibu are up to date on their vaccinations). “Thanks” to the internet, well-meaning parents are now able to research an infinite amount of information about vaccines, autism and other health issues. But as we all know, the internet can as easily misinform as it can inform.

The Case For “Unvaccinated-free Zones”

Shapiro argues that, just as many preschools and elementary schools says they are nut-free or peanut-free, so should all schools be “unvaccinated-free zones”:

Private schools vary widely, but some have rates of less than 20%. Yes, that’s right: Parents are willingly paying up to $25,000 a year to schools at which fewer than 1 in 5 kindergartners has been immunized against the pathogens causing such life-threatening illnesses as measles, polio, meningitis and pertussis (more commonly known as whooping cough). In order for a school to be considered truly immunized, from a public health standpoint, its immunization rate needs to be 90% or higher.

I can already hear the objections from some that “forcing” all children to be vaccinated impinges on their personal rights (a similar argument made against Obamacare) and is counter to the religious and philosophical beliefs of some. Such beliefs are precisely those cited by parents seeking exemptions from vaccinating children. In some cases, parents have chosen to homeschool children — like those who belonged to a Texas megachurch and became infected with measles in August – instead of “subjecting” them to a school district’s immunization requirements.

To create herd immunity, a high percentage of members of a community must be vaccinated. Those who prefer not to are expressing their personal beliefs but also endangering all of us and, arguably, infringing on an entire community’s health. The new Pediatrics study provides vital evidence to what should be obvious: foregoing vaccines means you, and those around you, could become very, very ill with a preventable disease.

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79 comments

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5:28PM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

@ Sian: Nice Strawman and open ended comments posed as questions that have already been answered.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/04/08/3424020/baby-whooping-cough-vaccines/

Vaccines work. The reduction and near eradication of Polio, Diphtheria, Smallpox and more are a testament. The Testament of many people don't think is the resurgence of the diseases we thought we cured

4:47AM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

Would there also be jail time for children vaccinated with TB for example who pass it on to children who have not be vaccinated?

Vaccines do not mean you will not get the disease or be able to pass it on to someone else. Medicine is not magic - all drugs do not always do what it says it will on the packet (ever remember having antibiotics that did not clear up the infection?) and as it says on the packet they also can do harm.

If you want to start to understand this issue properly you could look at graph here:
http://avn.org.au/vaccination-information/dtp/meryl/
"The graph above shows deaths from whooping cough from 1870 to 1970 in Australia. As you can see, by the time mass vaccination commenced in 1953 with the lincencing of DPT vaccine, deaths from this disease had already declined by roughly 95%. One thing is clear: vaccination played little, if any, role in the decline in deaths from the disease. It simply wasn’t around for the vast bulk of that decline. "

So does vaccine work? Debatable. People do get it who have been vaccinated. Will vaccinating your child cause them any harm - some believe it ALWAYS harms, but for the facts - not how many people DIED yes DIED as a result of vaccination according to official figures (which are grossly under reported by factor of 10-100):

"According to the US VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System), as of the 1st of April, 2012, there had been 130,448 reactions reported to a vaccine containing either diphthe

5:43PM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

@ Jade G: "Had convulsions from vaccines". Sorry, I call Bovine Scat

To be completely honest, if anyone has a disease that a vaccine could prevent and they pass it on to another person, I'd like to see jail time for that inconsiderate louse of a human being

5:41PM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

@ Charlotte C: Nope, your granddaughter DID NOT GET Whooping Cough from the vaccine.

She got it from someone else who was inconsiderate enough to not have had the vaccines themselves.

As for the vaccince Charlotte C: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/default.htm & http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Pertussis/

Had you known the facts THE VACCINE IS NOT LIVE nor is it a VIRUS. From the site:

"The first dose is recommended when your baby is 2 months old. He will need 2 more doses after that, given at 4 months and 6 months, to build up high levels of protection."

If your grandchild only had the 2nd shot, they were not fully protected. Even with a flu shot it takes a minimum of 2 weeks for protection, up to a month for FULL protection.

I don't know if you just don't know so I'll be nice. But learn about what you're posting on

11:54AM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

ty

10:00AM PST on Mar 2, 2014

My 5 month old great granddaughter contracted whooping cough 10 days after getting the live whooping cough vaccine. Where do you think she got it??? Nearly died. Sorry, folks; I believe there's a lot better chance that these infants and children are getting whooping cough FROM the vaccine than getting it from their mothers. And I personally have never, in 66 years, known anyone who was damaged severely by measles. I HAVE known children severely damaged by vaccines!! Where is this propaganda coming from, folks? Could it be from all the companies making BILLIONS from the vaccines? Concerned parents won't buy food for our children before checking labels for harmful ingredients but allow them to to be injected with substances going directly into their bloodstream with no knowledge whatsoever of what is in the injections? Wake up, America!

6:21AM PST on Jan 25, 2014

The toll of the anti-vaccination movement, in one devastating graphic

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-antivaccination-movement-20140120,0,5576371.story#ixzz2rQ6fdRUR

5:45AM PST on Jan 25, 2014

I did look up Barbara Loe Fisher and found something very interesting:

http://www.skepdic.com/fisherbl.html

4:14PM PDT on Oct 21, 2013

I had convulsions as a child from vaccines, and was told that I cannot even get a tetanus shot, and my children's doctors always told me not to get them vaccinated either, because of this, and the fact that their uncle suffered retardation from vaccines, and their father showed signs of mental illness that was caused from vaccines. Their grandfather (my dad) got Polio from a vaccine and almost died and now suffers from it still. Our family is just too sensitive. Whooping cough is a God send compared to death and retardation any day.

2:34PM PDT on Oct 16, 2013

To the author of this article... how much were you paid by the pharmas to write this article? What a stupid fearmonger....

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