Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Does One Sassy Doctor Think About Vaccinations?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and I (Dr. Jen) do not recommend any modification of the current immunization schedule. In light of significant buzz about potential vaccine connections to autism and other medical and developmental issues, I want to share some important facts which support why the current schedule is best for your little ones.

There is no scientific evidence that suggests altering the schedule has any medical or developmental benefits for babies and children.
  1. You should wait at least a month between the schedule vaccine doses, so be sure to tell your doctor if your child receives a vaccine elsewhere. This is accounted for on the current AAP schedule.
  2. Side effects are no greater with multiple vaccines are given together vs. immunizations are given individually.
  3. There is another myth linking the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine with unexpected infant death (SIDS). Because the first vaccine against these diseases coincides with the peak of SIDS related deaths (2 months), it is most statistically probable for some SIDS deaths to occur in this age group. There is no scientific evidence linking the DTP vaccine with SIDS.
  4. There is concern that thimerosal-containing vaccines are the cause of a number of neurologic and developmental disorders. Since the end of 2001, most of the vaccines recommended by the AAP are available in thimerosal-free formulations and some vaccines, such as the MMR, polio, and chickenpox vaccines, have never contained thimerosal.
  5. There is no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between multiple immunizations and a greater risk of infections, immune disorders or developmental delays.
  6. A panel of experts convened by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2000 concluded in its report that "separate administration of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines to children provides no benefit over administration of the combination MMR vaccine and would result in delayed or missed immunizations.”.
All of the diseases children are vaccinated against have serious consequences, and are absolutely still present in communities creating vulnerability for children. Vaccinations can prevent these diseases.
  1. Haemophilus influenzae type b is a severe bacterial infection, occurring primarily in infants and children under 5 years. It can cause meningitis, pneumonia, sepsis, epiglotittis (a severe throat infection), skin infections, and arthritis and is most serious in children under age 1.
  2. One measles epidemic (1989-90) led to 55,000 cases of measles, 11,000 hospitalizations and 123 deaths. The majority of these cases were in unimmunized preschool children. Of every 1,000 people who get measles, 1 to 2 will die.
  3. Although Rubella (German measles) is usually a mild disease in children and young adults, it can causes devastating birth defects if contracted by a pregnant woman with at least 80% chance of damage to the fetus if a woman is infected early in pregnancy.
There is no scientific evidence linking vaccinations to autism.
  1. Regarding perceived increases in the rates of autism, there are two important facts to consider. First, some of the diagnostic parameters providers use to diagnose autism have changed over the past ten years to become more inclusive. For example, some children who used to be considered to have a learning disability may now be more correctly diagnosed with autism. Second, the medical community is more aware of autism and therefore more likely to pursue a diagnosis and treatment than in previous years past.
  2. A recent study in the British Medical Journal found no rise in incidence of autism in children who received MMR as compared to those who did not. There is no scientifically proven link between measles vaccination and autism. Of note, Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s research (that sparked the concern for the autism and vaccine connection) has been clearly and harshly criticized for fraudulent research methods and has been retracted from the journal that published the “research”. Increasing evidence indicates that autism is determined while the baby is still in the womb, early in the pregnancy.