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Comments made by socal4me

More Parents Not Vaccinating Kids

Hey guys - I can't help but put a few cents in here. I have a background in immunology (no, I don't work for Pharm) and I see children and teens with infectious diseases daily. I encounter at least one family per day who does not vaccinate because they have "done their research" and come to that conclusion. I applaud them for taking an interest in their child's health. I then have a discussion (as long as time permits) about how vaccines work, what infections we are trying to prevent, how these infections are spread, and then we have a discussion about the most common concerns - autism, developmental disorders, "overwhelming" the immune system, etc. After having a rational discussion, a majority actually come to realize 1) our immune system is not perfect, and while practicing good sanitation helps, it by no means guarantees protection against disabling or deadly infection; 2) nearly all of the infections that we vaccinate against are spread through respiratory droplets just like a common cold - if you can catch a cold, you can catch pertussis, measles, invasive HiB, chickenpox, etc; 3) while the prevalence of these infections have dropped drastically since the introduction of the vaccines (HiB meningitis is down 95% since the introduction of the vaccine, the cases of H1N1 dropped drastically once widespread vaccination was instituted); these infections are still out there - pertussis is a prime example. All of the deaths in California from pertussis, with the exception of 1 (a premature infant), this year were in unvaccinated children. In no way do I force a family into the decision of vaccinating their child - it is their decision - just like there are people who refuse blood transfusions even though they have life-threatening bleeding. However, I do like for families to make **informed** decisions and understand both sides, not just the anti-vaccine side. And while there is good information about vaccines and infectious diseases available online, etc, there is 20 times more false / misleading (albeit perhaps compelling) information.

August 31, 2010 at 9:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )