Parents who refuse vaccines put other people’s children in harm’s way

Children's Health, Parenting
For quite some time, I'd warned parents that not vaccinating their children is not only potentially harmful (or fatal) to their children, but also the children in your neighborhood or your children's school. Now, an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times backs up my contention. Pamela Nguyen, of UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital, points out that, according to CDC data, "there were 197,000 measles deaths worldwide" in 2007. And, virtually all of the cases were in unvaccinated children. The following year, Dr. Nguyen writes, "a seven-year-old unvaccinated child who was exposed to the virus while abroad" and ignited an outbreak in San Diego among mostly unvaccinated children. Still, she writes, "many parents continue not to vaccinate their children." Some believe certain "vaccine-preventable diseases" are "no longer a threat," while "parents in…
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Study indicates separate MMR, chickenpox shots may be safer

Children's Health, Parenting
I hope you're not getting too tired of all the vaccine-related blogs of today and Monday. Not to worry, on Friday I'll post several blogs for adults and parents about sunscreens. Anyway, the Los Angeles Times is reporting, "Children who receive a single vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox appear to have an increased risk of fever-related seizures in the days after the shot than do children who receive two separate vaccinations." The Times notes that "a combination vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (commonly known as chicken pox) was approved for use in 2005, providing an option for parents who wanted to stick one fewer needle in their small children." But, "a new analysis from the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center ... hows…
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Low immunization rates linked to epidemic spread of whooping cough

Children's Health, Parenting
Barb, my wife, reported to me that friends who are expecting a baby very soon, have informed those who may be visiting or caring for the baby, including grandparents, be immunized against whooping cough (pertussis). Barb asked me, "Is that reasonable?" "Absolutely," I replied. I believe it is the parents' responsibility to provide a bubble of protection around their newborn. The hospital requires nurses and doctors who care for babies to have a variety of immunizations. And, it's past time for parents to do the same (for themselves and care providers). We doctors certainly do the same thing each flu season. Since babies cannot get the flu shot until they are 6 months old, the only protection they have is for their care givers to be immunized. The same with…
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