Why I advocate every day for children to be vaccinated

The vaccination debate has been raging over the last several years.  As I write this, it is important to know I do not write this blog to creat debate or ill feelings from either side.  I wish only to provide one health care provider’s view of the issues surrounding vaccinations.  From a mother standpoint, I have friends who choose to vaccinate their children, and those who do not.  Our friendships do not hinge on this debate.

The Centers for Disease Control state that perhaps the greatest success story in public health is the reduction of infectious diseases resulting from the use of vaccines. Routine immunization has eradicated smallpox from the globe and led to the near elimination of wild polio virus. Vaccines have reduced some preventable infectious diseases to an all-time low, and now few people experience the devastating effects of measles, pertussis, and other illnesses. Prior to approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vaccines are tested extensively by scientists to ensure they are effective and safe. Vaccines are the best defense we have against infectious diseases; however, no vaccine is 100% safe or effective. Differences in the way individual immune systems react to a vaccine account for rare occasions when people are not protected following immunization or when they experience side effects.

Because we live in an era basically free of childhood disease,  thankfully we have not seen the devastating effects and deaths that occurred as a result of communicable disease – we have seemingly become immune to the idea that it was these vaccinations that have led the fight in the eradication.  Simply put, we have not watched as children suffered and, ultimately died from diseases like: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diptheria, tetanus, pertussis.  I am thankful for this, and thus the reason I advocate wholeheartedly for vaccinations.

In order for a vaccination to be placed on the market, studies are done in three phases.  It takes on average about 10 years for a vaccination to be released for public use.  Health care providers advocate their use not because they are getting a “kick-back” from vaccination companies, actually it is expensive and time-consuming to provide vaccinations in an office setting.  Health care providers advocate for vaccinations because they lead in the fight of keeping children healthy from communicable diseases.

It is important to note that numerous research has proven that vaccinations do not cause autism.  Autism typically becomes apparent around the age of 1-3, when children are beginning to talk and communicate.  It is around this age that the MMR vaccination (measles, mumps and rubella) is given.  Therefore, the linking had been associated between the two, but no valid research can support this.

Thimerosol is a mercury-containing additive that is placed in vaccination as a preservative for multi-dose vials.  Single dose vials, which are the only vaccinations I use in my clinic are, in fact, thimerosol-free.  This is a question that can be asked of your child’s health care provider.  Since 2001, no new vaccine licensed by the FDA for use in children has contained thimerosal as a preservative, and all vaccines routinely recommended by CDC for children younger than 6 years of age have been thimerosal–free.

As a parent, we strive to make the best possible choices in how are children are protected and cared for.  We would never allow our children to play in the street, or do anything we know could harm them.  Vaccination are safe, and I advocate every day for children to be vaccinated against communicable diseases that can ultimately can kill.

Brett B. Snodgrass is a nurse practitioner who blogs at The NP Mom.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FRHL4D7KD2N26WFAFFTSWABBYY Nobody Here

    I volunteer with adults with congenital rubella syndrome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_rubella_syndrome. I think that if more people who are choosing not to vaccinate were familiar with the devastating effects of this syndrome they might make better choices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=529170324 Anna Lauriente

    if I had a dollar for every time I had this conversation…i’d retire from nursing and go somewhere hot.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      Me too…..the misinformation keeps needing addressed…..bloody ridiculous! Ha!

  • http://twitter.com/nataliehodge natalie hodge

    Nice Post,   Of course with Kevin’s Audience of healthcare providers, you are preaching to the choir here. My involvement with http://www.healthtap.com ‘s new interactive health site has enabled me to answer parent questions about vaccination, ” agree” with other pediatricians answers about vaccines and hopefully we are building an influential body of content by curated docs that will CHANGE BEHAVIOR for some of these families that choose not to vaccinate. Interestingly, many users are West Coast early adopters, whose babies ironically have fallen victim to pertussis due to parents hoping to ride the herd immunity.

    Best, Natalie Hodge MD FAAP

    Blogging at http://www.healthergy.net
    Practice at http://www.personalmedicineofkentucky.com
    Advisor Healthtap.com
    Advisor Doximity.com

  • http://www.zdoggmd.com ZDoggMD

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: “I really wanna immunize, so frickin’ bad”–>http://zdoggmd.com/2011/02/immunize/
     
    Nice article Brett.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

    Sigh…..just ten minutes of research would show there is evidence to form a link between autism and the MMR.  A neurologist in Atlanta won his lawsuit (sad it took a neurologist’s child being damaged).  He sued…won…but won far more than a parent would get from the injury fund.  Quoting the CDC which suppresses so much info…..look at what they are saying about Gardisil….then check out investigative reports from The Washington Post, etc.  And VAERS.

    How much better it would be for doctors to fess up….get real….and admit why you hand out a waiver…it’s because there are going to be problems in a certain segment of kids who probably have a predisposed suseptibility to damage.  But denial serves no one.  My award-winning pediatrician didn’t bully patients….she actually understood and studied this…same as my award-winning research doctor whose line was really good.  I asked if my daughter being unimmunized before her cancer surgery was a problem.  Nope….he said he had no problem with that….he had a problem with ignorance.   Let us battle that within the medical community….stop the denials…admit some people will be harmed…forever…but no…like the CDC info is buried for the supposed, “Greater Good,”  and it is that suppression and bullying from doctors that causes moms to dig in their feet and say, “Bugger Off!”

    My daughter with cancer just recovered from the whooping cough….it was interesting….she caught it at the nursing home where five immunized workers got it (a nurse had been on a cruise and brought it back).  Because someone checked off my daughter had her shots (that didn’t come from me…I sent emails….told them….) the doctors were hesitant to diagnose it.  It took four different doctors and when the third one came in with a mask on and refused to shake our hands I knew it.  I had to diagnose it first.  She had three rounds of antibiotics, but they don’t report it if they think you were immunized.  Suppression of information is not something any doctor should endorse….it’s a slippery slope and doesn’t help your patients.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IIKZPK7ZKQOX26VUB54L7N3O5Y Dr Cuello

      Ten minutes? really?

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

        Well….actually….in less time than it took you to post you could have found the name Hannah Poling.  I won’t keep you by sharing more…I am sure you are eager to find the truth:)  And I am sure the author and others want to revise their future statements that there is no proof in the association.   Those crack research skills are really impressing patients who are questioning doctors…. who in truth, often know less than those they try to teach.   One wonders if medical school is a detriment to some, and a hindrance to others on both sides of the white coat… because in truth you learn little about the shots there….hence, the ten minutes online will be illuminating.

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

        In the time it took you to post that you would have found the name Hannah Poling.  Anyone who proclaims they studied the autism link isn’t being truthful if they don’t know that link.  It was proven in court the shot caused her form of autism.  So, when authors proclaim there is no link it’s a red flag….it’s a blanket statement that isn’t true.  More honest would be “There is little evidence.”  Or how about “Since mercury has been removed” or a myriad of more honest statements. 

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

    Rubella now comes in from immigrants.  It’s just about eradicated here and some say it has been…..just depends on what scare tactics each side chooses.  If you go to google and put in “rubella + eradicated” it’s informative.  The CDC and their pro-immunization stats show we don’t really need to worry about it.  I am not risking my kid’s health for something with minute odds.  

    • Melissa Schroeder

      Hey, now that’s good information!  So if I choose to not vaccinate my child all I need to do to keep her (and my possible future grandchildren) healthy is keep her away from all immigrants for the rest of her life and make sure that she never leaves this country.  Sounds like a good plan to me!

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

        Ah….um….actually learning how to use google and finding out the disease is said to be eradicated would do much better than hiding under the bed.   Amazing that people prefer to obey a doctor and offer up their child’s arm blindly without studying….for a disease that you could try to get and would have a hard time.  It is obvious you didn’t even look up the stats before posting, or the background.  

        I am always amazed that defenders of the shots have done such little research, they rarely know if the shot has mercury in it or not (I am assuming most reading this didn’t even know about the big conference last week calling for mercury to be removed from the shots….I will fill you in…..not gonna happen across the board), most don’t know where each shot is cultured, or even know what the waiver says…but they will get snide and try to bully, and demean other parents who want caution and the shots cleaned up and who know there are way too many shots and a delayed schedule is helpful.

        This is too important a topic to be bullied over with more misinformation.

        • Anonymous

          After reading all of your comments, it AMAZES me that someone, with what I am assuming is zero medical training, feels so empowered by Dr. Google to dispense medical advice. Do you have ANY idea how potentially damaging your advice is to people who are willing to listen? What happens if a parent follows your advice, doesn’t vaccinate, and has a devastating outcome? Are you held liable? This is why you need a medical degree and license to play this game. Like the OP stated, as a society we are so far removed from the horrors of vaccine-preventable diseases that people like you wallow in the convenience of your insulated bubble to find imperfections in the system. And imperfections there are, but show me one instance of something that’s perfect. As a whole, we are far better off for vaccinating and that is FACT….not opinion, “suppressed research,” or government conspiracy.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            Oh boy….more proof you aren’t reading well….but the more opportunity you give us to share the truth.  I have lots of experience in this area….but it’s obvious you didn’t study….if you had you would know the FACT that the diseases were on their way down BEFORE the shots.   Want the government charts on it from doctors who did actually study?

            Closed minds are rarely a good thing, and truly reading what someone is saying is extremely important.  I am not anti vac as you assume, I am for safe shots….as I shared I am anti ignorance.  Sometimes you gotta wonder…..some of the rabid pro vac’s think they are some vaccine researcher who has spent their whole nine minutes studying or a chapter in medical school studying this.  There are doctors who alert me to these posts, so I will come and share the truth because God knows their colleagues are pretty dense when it comes to just gobbling up the info that suits them without stopping and having a lightbulb moment and understanding some kids will be harmed.

            How about you get behind some research that will identify these children predisposed to harm, instead of blanket statements like you just gave in an effort to disqualify.  I can recommend some highly researched books from doctors that will enlighten.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            Please reread….I am for safer shots and full disclosure.  And I offered the government charts that show the shots were declining before the vaccines were available.  Anyone who had researched would know that.  So, the horrors you proclaim are scare tactics.  I am not a fan of the CDC because they won’t even admit mercury in shots is harmful, yet they say they are studying environmental causes.  It’s a sad indictment when moms spend more time at the CDC site than a doctor….she reads suppressed information….(I am reading Overdosed America….what a bill of goods we are being sold and doctors believe fraudulent research), then those same doctors bully moms for having a better informed opinion than there own.  Any honest doctor would admit they have spent little time on studying the shots. The CDC site tells you how many die a year from diseases…..it’s almost nil.

            I recommend Vaccine Epidemic….doctors and PhD’s were involved in the writing.  Very informative.

          • http://www.facebook.com/cyberdan Danielle René

            Even with full medical training a doctor can have no real scientific knowledge about the ingredients in vaccines…

            “we are far better off for vaccinating and that is FACT….not opinion” you say.  So this fact must have some basis in science.  Could you please show me just one clinical study that assesses the long term effects of repeated injections of mercury (yeah it is still in many shots) and aluminum derivatives on the immune system on children, well on anyone would do.  Since the scientific literature is littered with studies confirming that these compounds are individually toxic to the brain and/or the immune system, (except magically when they are in a vial written vaccine on it?) and we are witnessing an “epidemic” rise in developmental and immune disorders, it does seem logical to investigate clinically if there is a link between vaccines and these arising diseases.  As long as this is not known, there is no science to prove this “fact” and to properly evaluate if the benefits truly outweigh the risks.

            Considering most so-called VPDs mortality rates had all decreased by 80% or more in the few decades *before* mass vaccinations, from the considerable improvement in sanitary conditions and of varied foods availability, the question has never been truly answered:  do the benefits truly outweigh the risks? What is it exactly we have traded?  low mortality diseases in exchange for a host of chronic illnesses?  What you and most of the medical community take as a fact is nothing more than a perpetuated myth.  Just saying there are no serious risks to vaccination does not have the power to make it so.

  • http://twitter.com/moiraeve1 Moira S

    I am behind you, but I still have questions. Was there research done in early 1990′s? My kid is 22 and autistic. It seems as though there was a bubble of autism in the early 1990′s (many children born in early 1990′s who are on the spectrum). Your statement that “Since 2001, no new vaccine licensed by the FDA for use in children has contained thimerosal as a preservative”, makes me wonder, what about our children who were immunized prior to 2001? What does the research, if any, say?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1491588135 Claudia Kim Nichols

    You are preaching to the choir as far as I’m concerned, yet it’s extraordinarily difficult to regain trust after it’s been violated. Unfortunately, I think the most powerful persuasion will be in the form of a nasty pandemic. Homo sapiens just seems to be hard-wired to avoid proactive behavior until a disaster occurs. For instance, I live in California, and hardly any of the residents discuss earthquakes until we’ve had a significant shaker.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      California is so used to earthquakes they yawned and joked their way through the East coast’s overreaction.  The movie Contagion is quite interesting about exactly how a pandemic would be dealt with.  There are plans in place…but how do you prepare for an epidemic you can’t even classify?  They take what knowledge they have and work with it…although the movie glorifies CDC docs and WHO where a doctor runs back into the infected jungle, the CDC docs risk their lives (one dies).   The conspirator comes off like a pedophile…..but other than that it’s interesting….in the movie they find the source….food.  By some of the reasoning here maybe we should quit eating……..

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      I answered this and it was removed as were most of my comments.  Hmmm…..suppression of information and censorship…..now doesn’t that fit right in with suppression of information…..posters here can’t handle the truth and complain.  

      I didn’t break any posting guidelines, just proved that doctors are more interested in not being proven wrong.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cyberdan Danielle René

      How is it exactly that a “nasty pandemic” would fill the gaping hole in scientific literature about the long term effects of injecting ever growing amounts of neuro-toxins into children?  It only appeals to fear, the only efficient argument that can be used to sell vaccines since science can not support the safety assumptions or even their being responsible for decrease in these so-called VPDs, all declined 80% or more before mass vaccinations.  The nastiness of any illness has absolutely no bearing on the efficacy or safety of a drug or vaccine.   But do not reflect too much on this, it could cause you to question dogma and disturb the choir…

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

    Is there a reason why my comments are being flagged and removed?

  • Anonymous

    Right On! I’d rather have discomfort from a vaccination than contracting (and possibly dying from) the actual disease. As the mother of an adult daughter with Asperger’s, I NEVER once attributed her Asperger’s with her vaccinations.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

    Okay….I now know what happened.  There is a wain brain here who is flagging informative comments in an effort of suppression of the truth that shows that the author and doctors here did not do their research.  They practice a form of cyber lynching to suppress information that proves them wrong.  A practice that is more lethal than a shot….an effort to control posters.

    So….in order to stop their foolishness just save your posts and repost them.  This way the mob justice mentality of those who want government enforced shots will not reign.  I didn’t save my posts because I though the truth was more important than agendas….I honestly had no idea people stoop to such shallowness and flag posts three times knowing they get automatically deleted.  Some of them even make up three Disqus names or use different ISP’s to make sure they can flag three times in an effort to make sure anyone with better information than their own gets deleted.

    I have never flagged a post…..ever….I firmly believe in the First Amendment….I will go to the mat for those with differing opinions because clarity trumps agreement….but what we have seen here is whoever did this is into censoring the truth…..that is more problematic than vaccines…..it’s a really a travesty on society that they feel this need to promote blindness. 

    I will just save my posts and repost them next time.  Lesson learned.  They can flag this post three times, but it goes into the inbox of posters before than can do their flagging….so they are more impotent than they think.  Just sign into your Disqus account and keep copies of your posts.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

    Rubella is eradicated according to the CDC site.  They still promote the shots though,.

  • Anonymous

    Brett, I appreciate your article, however.  My beautiful 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. What I have learned in my research can be readily found in evidence-based medicine.  Ninety-five per cent of the children with autism carry polymorphisms on the MTHFR genes (677 and 1298), just like my son.  Had  I know this, I would not have vaccinated because these polymorphisms cause the body to retain metals such as mercury and aluminum found in vaccines.  My child cannot excrete heavy metals and also has retained lead, as well as other metals.  Researchers at Arkansas Children’s Hospital have written that neurodevelopmental problems begin at 4-6 months in these kids.  My son was hitting infancy milestones, but when older infant activities did not progress we began to explore the problems. I recently reviewed my parent-infant questionnaires from those early days in which I answered questions about the baby’s development and the pediatrician scored the results.  NOTE:  At 4 months of age his gross motor started dropping off ever so slightly, but consistently and subtly.  I see it now and with each vaccination the baby got sicker and sicker – it’s documented in the medical records.  So please do not boldly state that there is one sweeping right way to parent a child and by choosing not to allow further vaccinations lumps me into the idiot category.  If I knew then what I know now, I would not have vaccinated and I bet none of the parents in my shoes would have either despite articles and opinions like yours.

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