Blair Pediatrician Busting Vaccine Myths
By Jill Reel, MD
MCH&HS Blair Clinic Pediatrician
Immunizations are an incredible innovation to prevent deaths.
I almost died from the measles when I was a baby before the vaccine was available. I had measles and developed pneumonia. Luckily, I survived because I had an excellent pediatrician who recognized the complications. There are still measles outbreaks and recently 17 children died from a measles outbreak. This can happen easily when vaccine rates go down. Annually, 1.5 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines are encouraged, but myths surrounding vaccine discourage parents from getting their children vaccinated. I practice scientifically proven and evidence-based medicine and I push hard for parents to get their children vaccinated on time because I know it could save their child's life.
During my pediatric intern year Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HIB) meningitis was an epidemic. We weren't vaccinating children until 15 months, at that time, but the majority of children getting HIB were under 15 months. We did spinal taps, several every night, in the winter months. The following year we started vaccinating at 2, 4, and 6 months and now we rarely see HIB meningitis. I also had a big beautiful 4 month old baby with Streptococcus Pneumonia Meningitis and he had pus pockets in his brain and was thought that he would be deaf, blind and mentally handicapped.
It is not a good idea to delay vaccines as many of the things that we vaccinate for are even more deadly to babies and younger children. Also, everyone should have a Tdap as an adult. The Tdap is a vaccine that prevents tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). We still have deaths every year from whooping cough, especially in babies. Lastly, everyone should get their Flu vaccine every year as soon as they come out, usually in September. Influenza kills 100-200 children a year and it can kill very healthy children and adults as well as the young and the old.
Here are five key facts about immunizations:
1) Immunization with vaccination is the safest way to prevent disease. (Vaccines produce immunity similar to natural infection without the serious risk of death or disability related to natural infection.)
2) It is always best to get vaccinated even if you think the risk of infection is low. (Deadly diseases that seem to have been eradicated have a way of coming back when vaccine rates drop.)
3) Combined vaccines are safe. (Giving vaccines in combination and several at the same time have been proven to boost the immunity to each component of the vaccine and reduce the number of shots and discomfort for the child.)
4) There is no link with vaccines and autism. (There is no scientific evidence to link the MMR vaccine and autism. This has been proved repeatedly in multiple studies.)
5) If we don't vaccinate, deadly diseases will return.
I strongly encourage vaccinations as they help save lives. It is a proven fact!
For further information: www.AAP.org or www.CDC.gov
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