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Archive for February, 2018

Vaccinations

vaccinations

I recently tuned in to a local radio station talk show where the host and a “non medical doctor” were criticizing vaccinations by citing false information and providing their personal bias.  I would like to offer my view of vaccinations.

Most vaccines contain parts of a germ or toxin that have been made so weak that they can no longer cause illness, but will stimulate one’s immune system to make antibodies against that specific disease.  Therefore in the future when they are exposed to that particular germ, the antibodies should prevent one from getting sick.

Since vaccines were first developed in the late 1700’s, millions of lives have been saved. Smallpox which wiped out entire civilizations has actually been totally eliminated from the face of the earth because of the smallpox vaccine.  I watched friends come down with polio in the 1950’s and become permanently paralyzed. This was a fearful disease until the polio vaccine banished it from the U.S.

We have effectively controlled outbreaks of common diseases such as measles, mumps, diphtheria and chicken pox. Before the chicken pox vaccine became available, over 11,000 Americans were hospitalized and over 100 died each year from chicken pox. It is estimated that measles, one of the most contagious diseases in the world, could cause almost 3 million deaths worldwide, if vaccinations were stopped.

Commonly asked questions: Are vaccines safe? I believe they are. Thousands of people take part in clinical trials before a vaccine is approved. Millions of people are vaccinated every year. Some people may get local reactions of pain, swelling and redness at the vaccination site, but this lasts only a few days.

  • Can vaccines cause autism? I know this is an extremely controversial issue but there is no scientific evidence to directly link vaccine and autism. Common pediatric vaccines with the exception of some flu shots, no longer contain mercury or thimerosal, chemicals often implicated with vaccine side effects.
  • Are infants getting too many shots at once? In general, infants tolerate these vaccines very well. Every day infants come into contact with millions of bacteria, viruses and pollen which impact their immune systems. Delaying shots can leave a child unprotected against certain diseases, many of which can have dangerous complications such as seizures, brain damage, blindness and even death.
  • If everyone gets vaccinated will my child still need them? It is true that an unimmunized child has less of a chance of catching a disease if everyone else is immunized, but if a larger number of children are not immunized then there will be a greater chance of highly contagious diseases spreading through the population.
  • How long does immunity last after getting a vaccine? Many vaccines such as measles and hepatitis B cause lifetime immunity.  Others such as tetanus, last for many years but require booster shots.

The bottom line is that vaccinations have saved millions of lives, significantly lessened, and in cases, eliminated certain killer diseases, and have played a very significant role in the increased life span of humans over the past several generations.  There are many well intentioned individuals and groups who advocate against vaccinations.  I hear what they are saying but scientific evidence and multiple studies have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations. Talk to your doctor about the vaccinations that you or your child may need.

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