Tag Archives: vaccinations

If you don’t vaccinate your kids, should your kids be kept away from school, team sports, and youth groups? I vote “yes”!

I’ve told you in the past that when parents choose to not vaccinate their children, not only are their children at risk, but so are other children in the community. Here’s more proof of that. Continue reading

IOM: Vaccines safe and unrelated to autism

The print media devoted major coverage to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report showing that the benefits of vaccines far exceed their risks. In addition, the IOM assures professionals, researchers, policy makers, and, most importantly, parents, that vaccines are NOT associated with and DO NOT cause autism or autism spectrum disorders ASD). Continue reading

Pediatric society rejects ‘personal belief’ exemption for vaccination of kids

Research has shown that children who are exempted from vaccinations have a 35-fold higher risk for measles, a 23-fold higher risk for pertussis and a nine-fold higher risk for varicella than do vaccinated children. Continue reading

New Practice Guideline Takes Aim at Pain of Childhood Immunizations

Pain surrounding childhood immunizations can have long-term consequences, including preprocedural anxiety and needle fears in both the child and parent. Worse yet, these consequences can lead to avoiding immunizations altogether.

As a result, Dr. Anna Taddio, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the “Help Eliminate Pain in Kids” panel (the HELPinKIDS panel), an interdisciplinary panel of experts from Canada, have developed an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for reducing pain associated with childhood immunizations.

The panel believes that minimizing pain during childhood vaccination is important to help prevent these issues and there’s a need for clear guidance to address this “important public health issue.” So, they have published a summary of their guidelines in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). Here are the details from Reuters Health:

The HELPinKIDS panel evaluated 71 relevant studies including 8050 children and formulated a clinical practice guideline based on the “3-P” approach to pain management, including pharmacologic, physical and psychological strategies.

The scope of the guideline was limited to acute pain and distress at the time of vaccine injection in children 0 to 18 years old and is “generalizable to healthy children receiving immunization injections worldwide,” the authors say.

Several of the strategies found to be effective in relieving distress and pain of injections and recommended in the guideline can be implemented immediately, the authors say.

These include:

  • positioning the child upright when administering vaccines,
  • injecting the most painful vaccine last when multiple injections are being administered,
  • providing tactile stimulation, and
  • performing intramuscular injections rapidly without prior aspiration.

Dr Taddio and colleagues write that “about one-third of vaccinators do not perform aspiration, and there have been no documented harms caused by omitting this step.”

Other evidence-based pain-relieving strategies contained in the guideline may require some planning or additional resources, or both, on the part of healthcare providers and children and their families. These include:

  • breastfeeding or administering sugar water (for infants) and
  • applying a topical anesthetic and
  • psychological interventions such as distraction (for children of all ages).

The authors acknowledge in their report that “at present, the optimal pain-relieving regimen for nullifying pain, rather than simply diminishing pain, is unknown.” They say additional research is needed to determine which pain-relieving regimens reliably prevent pain in children of different ages.

New vaccine administration technologies such as microneedles and needle-free administration techniques, such as nasal sprays, hold promise for reducing pain associated with vaccination administration.

Misinformation About Vaccine Safety Puts Kids at Risk of Illness

Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism

Misinformation About Vaccine Safety Puts Kids at Risk of IllnessAbout one-third of U.S. parents surveyed had delayed or refused early childhood immunizations. As I’ve told you in previous blogs, this is a decision that can potentially harm your child and his or her friends. Here’s a report from HealthFinder that confirms my beliefs:

Physicians report that children who don’t receive recommended vaccine doses by the time they’re 2 years old are at risk of developing a variety of diseases. But some anti-vaccine activists contend that the shots can cause side effects, including autism, although health officials say repeated studies have failed to uncover such a link.

For this study, researchers analyzed the results of a 2008 national survey of parents and health-care providers and found that almost one-third of U.S. parents surveyed delayed vaccines for their very young children and 12 percent simply refused to have their children immunized, possibly making them more vulnerable to illness.

Thirty-one percent of parents with children aged 24 to 35 months reported that they’d delayed vaccine doses on purpose in 2008. In fact, the percentage of parents who either delayed or refused to immunize their children grew from 22 percent in 2003 to 39 percent in 2008.

Not all the non-vaccinating parents oppose immunization; 44 percent of the parents who didn’t vaccinate their children on schedule said their child was ill. In addition, 27 percent thought too many shots were recommended; 26 percent questioned whether vaccines were effective; 25 percent were concerned about autism; and 24 percent said they feared side effects or thought vaccines weren’t entirely safe.

The study was scheduled to be presented Tuesday at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, May 4, 2010)

Here are some of my other popular blogs on the topic:

Also, I did a popular series on VACCINE MYTHS. You can review the series starting with the first one:

Survey Shows Parents Still Worry Unnecessarily About Vaccines

Most parents believe vaccination is a good way to protect their children from potentially deadly diseases, but a study shows more than half still worry about the possibility of vaccine side effects. The study concludes: Although parents overwhelmingly share the belief that vaccines are a good way to protect their children from disease, these same parents express concerns regarding the potential adverse effects and especially seem to question the safety of newer vaccines. Although information is available to address many vaccine safety concerns, such information is not reaching many parents in an effective or convincing manner.

Here’s an article on the survey from WebMD:

The study shows 88% of parents follow the child immunization schedule recommended by their doctor, but 54% are concerned about serious vaccine side effects.

Researcher Gary L. Freed, MD, MPH of the department of pediatrics and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and his colleagues say parents who are concerned about vaccine side effects are less likely to vaccinate their children. In fact, the study showed one in every eight parents has refused at least one vaccine recommended by their child’s physician.

Newer vaccines, such as varicella, meningococcal conjugate, and HPV (human papillomavirus) were more likely to be refused than older vaccines like the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine).

In the study, researchers surveyed 1,552 parents about their attitudes regarding vaccines. Overall, 90% of parents said vaccines were a good way to protect their children from disease, and 88% said they generally do what their doctors say regarding vaccination.

However, the results show that despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting a link between autism and vaccinations, more than one in five parents continue to believe that some vaccines cause autism in healthy children.

Women were more likely than men to believe some vaccines cause autism, to be concerned about vaccine side effects, and to have ever refused a vaccine recommended for their children by a doctor.

The study also showed that Hispanic parents were more likely than white or African-American parents to say they followed their doctor’s recommended immunization schedule and less likely to have ever refused a vaccine. But Hispanic parents were also more likely to believe in a link between autism and vaccinations and be concerned about vaccine side effects.

“Although information is available to address many vaccine safety concerns, such information is not reaching parents in an effective or convincing manner,” write the researchers. “Continued high childhood immunization rates will be at risk if current safety concerns are not addressed effectively and increase in the future, resulting in more parents refusing vaccines.”

You can read more about vaccine myths in my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child.

Here are other blogs in this series you might find useful:

Using acetaminophen (Tylenol) following vaccination may reduce efficacy

When children and adults in my practice receive a vaccine, I recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce discomfort, inflammation, or low-grade fever. Now comes a study that will change my practice. Continue reading

More on the Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children

A past blog, that has been very popular, was on the topic of the Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children (Friday, 6 February 2009). In response to that blog, Kelly wrote, “Hello, I was just wondering if you could answer a question for me. I run a day care out of my home. I was recently inquired about watching a girl who is 2 and has never been vaccinated or seen a doctor. I was wondering if this was any risk to myself or the other children in my day care? Thank you for your time.” I thought you might be interested in my response to her.

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Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children

From 1958 to 1962, over a half a million cases of measles are reported each year. 432 measles-related deaths occur on average each year. But in 1963, the measles vaccine was licensed. By 2000, only 81 cases of measles are reported in all of the U.S.! And, most of those in the children of parents who chose not to immunize their kids. In fact, it has just been announced that measles cases in England and Wales have risen by more than 70 percent in 2008 from the previous year, mostly because of unvaccinated children.

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Vaccines: Separating fact from fiction

When it comes to the arguments about the safety of vaccines, what’s a worried mom to do? Between the scary claims about shots themselves and the scary news about what can happen without them, you might feel like you need a Ph.D. in immunology, toxicology, and biostatistics to make sense of it all. Never fear, Dr. Walt is here. The bottom line: No medical intervention is 100 percent risk-free, and no one but you can choose what’s right for your child. My job is to help that decision come a little easier, so here goes:

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