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Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines – New York Times

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 21-03-2008

The New York Times covered an important topic today: Vaccinations. Specifically, a growing trend away from vaccinations due to two factors. First, most new parents weren’t alive whne millions of kids died each year due to childhood diseases such as Measles. Secondly, parent perceive a risk to their own child, unproven over autism or of proven side effects, coupled with a suspicion over the the knowledge of public health experts.We educated ourselves about the risks of all the vaccinations our kids had, and in all cases followed through with the recommendations of our pediatrician. We were old enough parents to have personally experienced German Measles and Chicken Pox, though we had avoided the Mumps, thanks to good luck and a late ’60 vaccine.

{democracy:2}

This debate is interesting given wider communication about public health and risks of side effects from common remedies, including many OTC and prescription drugs. The risks weigh against the very real public health dangers of a resurgence in non-eradicated diseases like measles, or even polio.Where do you stand. Do you get the shots and forget about it? Do you research them all and weigh risks and reward? Do you skip them entirely based on a belief that the cure is worse than the disease?Here’s an excerpt and link to the New York Times article. You can find more childhood health articles at GreatDad.com health articles

 While nationwide over 90 percent of children old enough to receive vaccines get them, the number of exemptions worries many health officials and experts. They say that vaccines have saved countless lives, and that personal-belief exemptions are potentially dangerous and bad public policy because they are not based on sound science. “If you have clusters of exemptions, you increase the risk of exposing everyone in the community,” said Dr. Omer, who has extensively studied disease outbreaks and vaccines. It is the absence, or close to it, of some illnesses in the United States that keep some parents from opting for the shots. Worldwide, 242,000 children a year die from measles, but it used to be near one million. The deaths have dropped because of vaccination, a 68 percent decrease from 2000 to 2006. “The very success of immunizations has turned out to be an Achilles’ heel,” said Dr. Mark Sawyer, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. “Most of these parents have never seen measles, and don’t realize it could be a bad disease so they turn their concerns to unfounded risks. They do not perceive risk of the disease but perceive risk of the vaccine.” Dr. Sawyer and the vast majority of pediatricians believe strongly that vaccinations are the cornerstone of sound public health. Many doctors view the so-called exempters as parasites, of a sort, benefiting from the otherwise inoculated majority.[From Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines – New York Times]