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Vaccines are the most effective prevention tools available to doctors. However the success of a vaccination program depends on it being highly accepted.
More and more Americans are refusing vaccines, and their children are at an increased risk for measles and pertussis. How can parental decision-making be changed? Most parents get their information from health providers, and are not satisfied. Some doctors even discontinue their relationship with patients who refuse vaccines for their children.
High immunization has resulted in great declines in preventable diseases. The public thinks that since a disease is no longer severe, their child is not susceptible to it. At the same time, the public is very concerned about the harmful effects associated with vaccines. This has resulted in an increase in number of people refusing vaccines, or delaying vaccinations for their children.
A LITTLE HISTORY
The first US law to require a smallpox vaccination was passed in 1809 (to prevent frequent smallpox outbreaks). In 1850 there were many challenges to vaccinations, and the use of smallpox vaccinations declined dramatically.
Many states then started enforcing their existing laws. This resulted in increased opposition vaccinations. Compulsory vaccination laws were repealed in states as California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In 1905 the US Supreme Court endorsed the rights of states to pass and enforce compulsory vaccination laws. In 1922 they also found school immunization requirements to be constitutional.
When measles was difficult to control in 1969, 17 states required children to be vaccinated against measles before entering school. 12 states legally mandated requirements for vaccination against all six-childhood diseases.
Children, who did not comply with immunization requirements during measles outbreaks, were excluded from school. Since there was no backlash, vaccination immunization requirements for all vaccines were more vigorously enforced. By the beginning of the 1980s, all 50 states had school immunization requirements.
Each state differs in terms of the vaccines included, their authority to introduce new vaccines, the reasons for exemption, and the procedures for granting these exemptions.
As of March 2008, all states permit medical exemptions from school immunization requirements. Forty eight states allowed religious exemptions, and 21 states allowed exemptions based on personal beliefs. In states that allowed exemptions for personal beliefs, the exemption rate increased from 1% to 2 1/2% between 1991 and 2004.
Instead of refusing vaccines, some parents delay vaccination, or skip the administration of some vaccinations for their child. Many parents follow their own vaccination schedules, instead of that of their pediatrician or immunization provider. Between 1987 through 1998, children with exemptions were 22 times as likely to have measles, and six times as likely to get pertussis. Interestingly, in Colorado, Eleven percent of the nonexempt children who acquired measles were not affected through contact with an exempt child,
The unvaccinated children were more likely to be white males belonging to high-income households, having a married mother with a college education, and living with four other children. These families intentionally refuse vaccines.
Some of the parents of exempt children thought their children had a low susceptibility to diseases and the severity of the diseases was low. They also worried about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine itself.
They were more likely to find doctors who offered complementary or alternative healthcare. They obtained information from the Internet and groups opposed to immunization. Seventy percent of the parents thought the vaccine might cause harm, believed that children receive too many vaccine.
Primary care providers caring for their vaccinated child were less likely to have confidence in vaccine safety. Many health providers have a positive effect on the decision-making regarding vaccination of their children. Some doctors have discontinued their provider relationships with families who refuse vaccination.
In a national pediatric survey, 40% of doctors said they would not provide care to a family that refused all vaccines, and 28% said they would not provide care of a family that refused some vaccines.
High exemption rates occur now because immunization requirements and policies vary greatly among states. School immunization requirements ensure vaccinations are completed by the time the child enters school, but do not influence the kind of vaccinations preschoolers get.
Vaccine refusal may increase the individual risks of disease, but also increase the risk for the entire community. Since doctors influence parental decision-making, and understand the benefits and risks of vaccine, they should anticipate questions that parents may ask about safety.
There is still a lot of fear that vaccines cause autism, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and demyelinating polyneuropathy, and transverse myelitis.
Most of us take vaccinating our child for granted. When we bring him in for a well baby visits, we expect the child to be vaccinated. We assume that vaccinations are safe, effective and also mandatory.
Yet, the safety of vaccines is questionable. its effectiveness varies, and vaccinations are not mandatory.
This is the only medical treatment where you don't have to sign a consent, and you don't have the right to make a truly informed decision about what is injected into your child.
You deserve the right to make an informed decision, since you will have to live with the consequences. Many children do reactive vaccines, and sustain brain damage, a reversible injuries, seizures, allergic reactions, and even death. Yet, doctors generally dismiss reactions to vaccines. Fortunately these reactions are rare and a small price to pay for the protection vaccines offers your child. However, when a severe reaction happens to your child, the risks are 100%.
Very little research is done to find out why some children are injured by vaccines. Out of the current CDC vaccine budgets of $1 billion 99.5% is spent on vaccine purchases and promotion, and 0.5% is spent on vaccine research. Why we don't evaluate the rate of complications in those unvaccinated bewilders me.
Because of the lack and the will to conduct research, links to severe central nervous system diseases and autoimmune diseases as arthritis, Guillain-Barré syndrome and thrombocytopenia, have never been disproved. Long-term studies of vaccinations (usually only done for four months), concentrate on the vaccine’s efficacy and not its safety.
There are no double-blind placebo-controlled studies found involving childhood vaccines.in Less than 10% of doctors report the adverse effects from vaccines that they give.
Parents are concerned that many vaccines are cultured on animal tissue or other animal cells (most often from monkeys, pigs, cows and chickens). Cross species transfer of viruses, results also in transfer of animal RNA and DNA to the vaccines themselves (which may alter our genetic makeup). Some vaccines are cultured on embryonic lung cells or human type blood cells taken from aborted fetal tissue. Any human tissue or any blood product transfer carries contamination risks.
Patients ask themselves if it's wise to inject vaccines in their children if they contain known carcinogens and toxins, (including mercury, formaldehyde, and aluminum). We may be trading one set of diseases for another one that is chronic and debilitating to our children.
The effectiveness of vaccines vary, depending on the vaccine, how it's stored, as well as on the recipient's immune system. Some vaccines have a very high efficacy rate at first, but over time, boosters are required. There have been outbreaks of diseases as measles in fully vaccinated populations.
What information does the parents get regarding the legitimate safety and efficacy of vaccinations? Usually a 1 to 2-page handout is given, frequently containing misinformation and half-truths, along with scare tactics.
You, the parent, should be able to read about the safety issues involved with vaccinations, and review the studies, product inserts, and reports on the vaccine's effectiveness.
This would let you determine what vaccine they want their children to have, and when they want their child to get it. They should not have to search dinner Internet for this information.
Doctors must respectfully listen to parental concerns, explained the risks of non-immunization, and discuss the specific vaccines that concern the parents. Their refusal, after adequate discussion, should be respected.
You must do as much as possible to make informed decisions that fit your belief system and your family situation. You must be comfortable with your decisions since you are the one who has to live with them.
Insist on making an informed vaccination decision, and it will motivate you to exert pressure on vaccine manufactures and on the government to develop safer vaccines not just more vaccines. Your child deserves it.
Why not run a double-blind study of kids who are not getting vaccines and those who are getting all the vaccines? In a couple of years we have all the answers of whether those receiving the vaccines have been increased autism rate than those who do not.
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