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The inconvenient truth of vaccine refusal

Follow me at @drClaire When I talk to parents who are hesitant about vaccines, what they most want to talk to me about are possible side effects of the vaccine. They worry about everything from fevers and soreness to additives to possible links to autism. They rarely worry about the diseases that vaccines prevent—and that’s what worries me most of all. It is the inconvenient truth of vaccine refusal: when you don’t get vaccinated against an illness, you are more likely to catch it. A study just released in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) makes this very clear. Researchers looked at information about recent measles and pertussis outbreaks. They found that unvaccinated people made up the majority of those who caught measles and a large proportion of those who caught pertussis (waning immunity from the pertussis vaccine plays a role in those outbreaks). Some weren’t old enough to be vaccinated—but of those who were old enough, most came from families who had chosen not to vaccinate. We developed vaccines for a reason: to stop children from getting sick and dying. This was not a money-making stunt by drug companies, as some claim. Here in the United States, vaccines have done such a great job that we have literally forgotten about the ravages of measles, polio, pertussis, diphtheria, and the many other illnesses that we can now prevent. They truly were ravages. Who even remembers diphtheria? Between 1936 and 1945, there were ab...
Source: New Harvard Health Information - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Children's Health Infectious diseases Parenting Prevention Vaccines Source Type: news

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