Vaccines have recently hit the local news for two reasons: first, there has been a small outbreak of measles in an adjacent county. All the children affected were unvaccinated. Secondly, nationally there are some pediatricians who are refusing to see children whose parents are not vaccinating them. The theory is that they don't want the immunocompromised children and babies in their waiting room exposed to these illnesses. Personally? If there was a pediatrician locally that was doing this, I would immediately switch to their practice.
I understand that my choice to not only vaccinate but to keep my child away from unvaccinated children-I actually will not allow him to be in a day care or church nursery if an unvaccinated child was present until he is old enough to have all of his own vaccines-is not popular. And that is fine. I would rather be un popular than deal with encephalitis from measels, brain damage from pertussis, paralysis from polio, seizures and death from Hib. All of these diseases, even polio, are making a comeback, primarily because the vaccination rate in many places is too low to provide group immunity. Parents, misled or not understanding the studies, have chosen not to vaccinate.
Why is that? To understand, we need to look at the history of vaccines, the studies and propaganda ,and one vaccination in particular-- pertussis.
This week I will be exploring the history and controversy surrounding the pertussis vaccine and explaining how the accusations against it have since been discredited. Check out these sites if you want to do your own research
Whooping cough and Unrecognized postperinatal mortality , archives of disease in Childhood 63(1988):41-47