- Imagine you are the parent of a newborn who is too young for a Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination. A group in your community has decided not to immunize and an outbreak of Pertussis occurs and spreads rapidly throughout this group. Your infant is exposed (the library, grocery store, playground, etc…) and contracts this disease which could potentially be fatal. This has happened, and does happen, and infants as well as other immunocompromised individuals have died from this disease when it could have been prevented.
- In 1952 38,000 people contracted polio in America alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2012 there were fewer than 300 reported cases of polio in the entire world. With more and more parents choosing not to immunize, this number could begin to rise again.
- If you do not immunize and have never come face to face with a serious disease that is preventable by vaccine, you can thank the rest of your community for being immunized. The people who choose to immunize are the people who have kept these diseases from making a comeback in our communities. Again, with more and more people choosing not to immunize, the risk is becoming greater and greater.
- Vaccines can eradicate disease and prevent serious illness and death. Mandatory vaccination has eradicated diseases that once killed thousands of children, such as polio and smallpox. According to researchers at the Pediatric Academic Society, childhood vaccinations in the US prevent about 10.5 million cases of infectious illness and 33,000 deaths per year.
- The study that linked autism to childhood vaccines (specifically the MMR vaccine) was retracted and the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, stripped of his medical license due to fraud. Wakefield has been unable to reproduce his results in the face of criticism, and other researchers have been unable to match them.
- 75% – 94% of the population (depending on the disease) must be vaccinated to achieve “herd immunity” or “community immunity”. When herd immunity is achieved the number of immunized individuals is high enough to prevent the spread of disease through the population. This is important! In order to continue preventing the spread of serious disease that once killed thousands of people, everyone must participate as a community.
The information below is taken from http://www.vaccines.gov/basics/protection:
Community Immunity (“Herd Immunity”)
Vaccines can prevent outbreaks of disease and save lives.
When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines—such as infants, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals—get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained. This is known as “community immunity.”
In the illustration below, the top box depicts a community in which no one is immunized and an outbreak occurs. In the middle box, some of the population is immunized but not enough to confer community immunity. In the bottom box, a critical portion of the population is immunized, protecting most community members.
The principle of community immunity applies to control of a variety of contagious diseases, including influenza, measles, mumps, rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease.
Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. The side effects are almost always mild (such as redness and swelling where the shot was given) and go away within a few days. If your child experiences a reaction at the injection site, you can use a cool, wet cloth to reduce redness, soreness, and swelling.
Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare and doctors and clinic staff are trained to deal with them. Pay extra attention to your child for a few days after vaccination. If you see something that concerns you, call us.