It’s time for those back-to-school shots!
It’s that time of year when the days shorten, stores advertise back-to-school clothes, and parents scramble to make appointments with their kids’ pediatricians for sport physicals and immunizations.
At least, I hope they do.
I am a fervent believer in vaccinations, even though I live in the state (Washington) with–sadly–the highest “opt out” rate in the country.
In 1998 a medical journal published a paper by (now debunked and disgraced) scientist Andrew Wakefield. He implied a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Since then, many parents have feared vaccinating their children. Wakefield’s evidence was found to be completely fraudulent, but the damage was already done.
Anti-vaxxers easily spread misinformation and fear about vaccines because—ironically—vaccines have worked so well!
Parents of the last two generations (myself included) haven’t experienced the paralyzing fear of a polio epidemic, or watched a child suffocate from diptheria. We don’t really understand how much we have benefited from immunizations.
For example, here’s a quote from a pediatrician:
Pre 1990, the number of kids that died of these two infections that we now prevent [streptococcoal pneumonia and H. influenza bacteria] would equal 40% of US cancer deaths in children. So if you had a vaccine and you eliminated 40% of all cancer deaths, you would be famous and win the Nobel Prize…!
For more of this interview, watch the video below.
I’ve written so many posts about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. In honor of National Immunization Month, here are links to a few of my most popular immunization posts.
- Nova: “Vaccines—Calling the Shots” The award-winning PBS show that explains the history of vaccination and the dangers of the current trend of “opting out.”
- Vaccination saves lives Links to websites, videos and books for more information and guidance on vaccines.
- A physician explains why vaccinations are necessary A pediatrician’s open letter to parents.
And here are links to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) immunization schedules for:
And don’t forget, adults need immunizations, too!