The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report seemingly to promote that vaccines really do work and parents shouldn’t be skipping them.
“Vaccines given to infants and young children over the past two decades will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccines also will have saved $295 billion in direct costs, such as medical expenses, and a total of more than $1.3 trillion in societal costs over that time, because children who were spared from sometimes-devastating illnesses will be able to contribute to society, the report shows. These calculations may underestimate the full impact of vaccines, the study notes, because authors considered only the early 14 routine childhood immunizations typically required for school entry. Authors didn’t include flu shots or adolescent vaccines given at ages 11 or 12….
Doubts about vaccines safety – and fading memories of vaccine-preventable diseases — have contributed to a resurgence of nearly forgotten diseases such as measles, which was officially declared eradicated in the USA in 2000. Numerous studies have debunked the notion that vaccines cause autism or other chronic diseases, says William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
“We have roomfuls of evidence” showing that vaccines are some of the safest medications available, Schaffner says, “but rumors and conspiracy theories still spread. Young parents today haven’t seen these disease, and they don’t respect and fear them.”
The USA Today story goes on to look at how measles, which were declared eradicated in the United States in 2000, have reappeared. The CDC reports that 129 people have come down with the measles in the U.S. in 13 outbreaks. It also looks at the outbreak of whooping cough across the U.S. with 5,634 patients infected.
In Arizona if the doctor even thinks you might have the whooping cough they have to report it, and the child is out of school for a week. Our pediatrician thought Lilina had it last year despite being vaccinated for it and she missed a week of school. She didn’t have it but Walsh did catch the whooping cough when we lived in Georgia. Our very old pediatrician knew instantly because he had heard the cough before when he was a new doctor and it was common. The story points out that a lot of pediatricians have never even seen a case of the measles or mumps because they have been gone for so long.
The CDC also points out how the federal Vaccines for Children program has eliminated racial and ethnic disparities among vaccines.
“…Today, the bulk of the unvaccinated children come from wealthy, educated families where parents intentionally choose not to immunize them, due to concerns about vaccine safety. These relatively wealthy children can then spread measles after returning from vacations in Europe, which has had large outbreaks for several years, Schaffner says.”
So what do you think: Should the CDC be doing more to promote the efficacy of vaccines? Should it take on the burden of proving to parents that vaccines are safe? Should there be a campaign to remind parents how awful it is for a child to have measles, whooping cough or polio? What should the CDC’s role be in convincing parents to vaccinate?