At Halifax Health - Children's Medical Center, we recognize that many parents have concerns about vaccinations and understand that the information portrayed in the media can be alarming and confusing. The vaccine campaign is truly a victim of its own success.
It is precisely because vaccines are so effective at preventing illness that we are even discussing whether or not they should be given. Because of vaccines, many of you have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis or even chickenpox. Nor have you known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases.
Such success can make us complacent or even lazy about vaccinating. Such an attitude, if it becomes widespread, can only lead to tragic results.
Provisional cases of selected diseases in the United States from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2014 report the following:
- 593 reported cases of Measles (187 cases in 2013)
- 1,916 new cases of Hepatitis B
- 9,322 of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (12,038 cases in 2013)
- 1,006 cases of Mumps (483 cases in 2013)
- 19,783 cases of Pertussis/Whooping Cough (18,904 cases in 2013)
- 6,051 cases of Varicella/Chicken Pox
- 33,160 (estimated cases of HPV related cancers per year)
These are reported cases in the United States, however, there are far more cases of vaccine preventable diseases in other countries. Diseases may be brought into the United States by those who travel abroad or from people visiting areas with current disease outbreaks.
Remember we live only an hour away from Walt Disney World; Travel and Leisure estimates there are 16,972,000 visitors to Walt Disney World yearly!
By not vaccinating your child you are taking advantage of thousands of others who do vaccinate their children, which decreases the likelihood that your child will be exposed to and therefore contract one of these diseases (herd immunity).
Unvaccinated children are not protected from the virus or bacteria, but when a high percentage of the population is protected through vaccination, it is difficult for the disease to spread because there are so few susceptible people left to infect. Those who are too young or too sick to be vaccinated depend on 'the herd' to keep disease away from them, as these diseases begin to re-emerge, their risks increase.
We are making you aware of these facts not to scare you or coerce you, but to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child. We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one for some parents. In some cases, we may alter the schedule to accommodate parental concerns or reservations. Please be advised however, that delaying or “breaking up the vaccines” to give one or two at a time over two or more visits goes against expert recommendations.
The Institute of Medicine report: vaccine schedule safe (2013) states they have found no evidence of major safety concerns associated with adherence to the childhood immunization schedule. The committee’s review did not reveal evidence suggesting that the U.S. childhood immunization schedule is linked to autoimmune diseases, asthma, hypersensitivity, seizures, child developmental disorders, learning/developmental disorders, or attention deficit/disruptive disorders.
Vaccine safety monitoring is maintained by the CDC and approved by the FDA (there are three major surveillance systems). The FDA and CDC are the two major players that approve, monitor, and regulate all of our medications, baby formulas, and food – not just vaccines.
In summary, we believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health promoting intervention we perform as health care providers, and that you can perform as parents/caregivers.
The recommended vaccines and schedule are the results of years and years of scientific study and data gathering on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.
We believe, based on all available literature, evidence and current studies, that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities. We believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
We believe in the safety of our vaccines. We believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives.