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Vaccinations prevent deaths in children

3/13/2013

In deciding what to put in their child’s bodies, be it food, beverage or medicine, parents should have the best information available. Unfortunately, in the discussion regarding childhood immunizations (“Shot? Not?,” Feb. 7) many of the facts have become elusive. We know:                

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005, “from 1990 through 2001, 1,465 death records listed chicken pox as the cause or a contributing cause of death. Chicken pox-related deaths averaged 145 per year from 1990 through 1994 (before the vaccine was licensed) and declined to 66 per year from 1999 through 2001 (when the vaccine was being used).”                

If immunization rates in our schools or communities are low, outbreaks of these diseases (measles, mumps, Hib, etc.) are likely to occur. This is exactly what happened in the late 1980s and early 1990s when thousands of children were hospitalized with measles, and more than 120 died.” (The Facts About Childhood Vaccines, Q&A, Vol. 7, Fall 2012, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.)                

“Discontinuing the pertussis vaccine in countries like Japan and England led to a tenfold increase in hospitalizations and deaths from pertussis. Recently, a decline in the number of children receiving measles vaccine in the United Kingdom and the United States led to an increase in measles hospitalizations.” (The Facts About Childhood Vaccines, Q&A, Vol. 7, Fall 2012, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.)

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine reviewed more than 200 studies related to thimerosal and autism. They concluded that there was no relationship to cause concern.                

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“Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection, however, does not cause illness, but it does cause the immune system to produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies. Sometimes, after getting a vaccine, the imitation infection can cause minor symptoms, such as a fever. Such minor symptoms are normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)               

All vaccines can have possible side effects. Most are minor, but some can be severe. But, there are risks and potentially severe consequences from not getting vaccinated as well.

Rick Kozin
–Polk County Department of Public Health

 

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