Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fewer kids up to date on vaccinations

Alright, I think I should post this story because it contains interesting information, but I think it sounds a little one sided. It irks me that media around the country will run this story without getting the other side. While my kids are immunized, I think parents have a reason to question how many shots we are giving our kids and at what age.

The schedule of when to give kids each immunization is based on whatever the drug company decided to test. That is the schedule that doctors know works because it has been tested, not because it is the "best" schedule for your specific child. I am not saying you should or shouldn't get your kids immunized, I just don't like it when the media is used in this way.

Research shows if the immunization rate falls below a certain percentage, the disease will start to creep back into society. I don't think any of us want that, but a lot of parents want more of a guarantee that the immunizations can in no way harm our kids.

Here's the story from ABC News:

"1 in 4 American toddlers has not been vaccinated correctly, making them vulnerable to infectious diseases that are cropping up again in the United States. Measles, mumps, whooping cough - these once serious and sometimes deadly illnesses are mostly a memory for today's children. But the infectious diseases are staging a comeback, with recent measles and mumps outbreaks in the United States.

And American children may be more vulnerable than they appear to these new attacks, according to a study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They studied immunization records for more than 17,000 toddlers and found that 2 in 10 children had MISSED at least one dose of their vaccines.



When doctors added in children who had received vaccines at the INCORRECT dose or time, the number jumped to 3 in 10 children who lacked ideal protection. Studies show that even SMALL changes in vaccine dosing can have a big impact- kids who miss just ONE dose of the POLIO vaccine are often left with NO immunity.



Researchers say parents should make sure to get their kids in for their FULL vaccinations ON TIME because missing or delaying them can render the shots ineffective."



Source: published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by researchers from the CDC

What do you think about this new study from the CDC?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

4 comments:

Knight in Dragonland said...

"a lot of parents want more of a guarantee that the immunizations can in no way harm our kids"

I'm sorry ... that will never, ever happen. Any medical treatment or therapy carries risk. Anyone who offers you a risk-free treatment is selling snake oil.

Life is full of risks, and attempts to shield our children from EVERY risk do more harm than good. The benefits of vaccination clearly outweigh the risks. The drive to and from the doctor's office is a thousand times more dangerous than getting the vaccines. If we applied the same standards of safety to everyday life that some want to apply to vaccines, we'd never set foot outside our doors!

I certainly agree that we should do our best to minimize risk ... but risk will never, ever, ever be zero. That's life in the real world.

Also, the drug companies do not create the schedules they use to test vaccines out of thin air. Both laboratory scientists and physician experts are consulted at every step - highly intelligent and highly educated people who have made their careers out of studying microbes, vaccines and the immune system. To state that these schedules are somehow whimsically arbitrary is incorrect.

Finally ... do you want your physician experimenting on your child, or do you want them to use a vaccination regimen that is well tested? You can't have it both ways.

All these contrived vaccine regimens where children get one vaccine at a time with prolonged intervals between immunizations have never been tested for efficacy. Such regimens probably work, but there may be significant decreases in efficacy. We don't know, because they're not tested. What we know for certain is that such regimens result in delays in protection that endanger that child's life and the lives of other children in contact with them.

newsanchormom.com said...

Knight,
"Also, the drug companies do not create the schedules they use to test vaccines out of thin air. Both laboratory scientists and physician experts are consulted at every step - highly intelligent and highly educated people who have made their careers out of studying microbes, vaccines and the immune system. To state that these schedules are somehow whimsically arbitrary is incorrect."
I should have put in the post: the information about how the immunization schedules are chosen was taken directly from an interview I did with Dr. Stanford Shulman, a lead member of the National Network for Immunization Safety. That is how he explained the process to me. He said what do people expect the drug companies to do? They can't test every single schedule that is conjured up. He said they try the schedule they believe would be best based on the success of other immunizations.
So, I appreciate the info, but I don't think what I said was "incorrect." However, I should have cited Dr. Shulman. It's probably one of those topics where you get a slightly different spin depending on who you talk to. I know I can get completely different answers on the same topic depending on which expert I talk to.

Maria said...

Hmph. My son is one of them, because we started vaccinating in Germany, where they give a range of dates for each round of vaccinations and expect you to schedule during those dates. Because of the different start and range, we are not completely on time. Add in holidays and we are even further behind. I asked our ped if we should do a set earlier, and he said no.

The schedule is not optimized. It is the most educated assumptions and conclusions mixed in with minimal testing so that there is at least some data to gloss parents eyes with.

If starting over with a choice between doing one vaccination at a time in order to judge the reaction to that vaccination and minimize adverse reactions to the vaccination, I would chose that in a heartbeat over multi-vaccines at one time. So yes. I would be volunteering my son and I would do it for myself as well.

Knight in Dragonland said...

Avoiding or delaying vaccination because of "safety concerns" is like throwing your child in front of an oncoming freight train so they won't be stung by a bee.

Pertussis, Hib meningitis and pneumococcal meningitis are killers primarily of young infants. DTaP, Hib and Prevnar vaccines are given at 2, 4 and 6 months so that those infants can be protected as soon as possible.

Delaying complete vaccination by getting one vaccine at a time thus endangers the life of your child - clearly and unequivocally. By reducing herd immunity, unvaccinated and undervaccinated individuals endanger OTHER children who are either not yet old enough to be vaccinated or are one of the unlucky few who do not produce a protective immunologic response to a given vaccination.

 
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