Pediatric Vaccinations and the Naysayers

I urge parents who are concerned about vaccinations to review all the facts about vaccinations, rather than rely on a conversation or poor journalistic coverage that is not fair and balanced.  As a pediatrician, I ask all the parents in the practice to agree to routine vaccinations for their child(ren).  Failure to do so leads to an ever increasing incidence of Measles and other highly preventable infectious diseases that will continue to flourish in our communities, ultimately incapacitating or killing even innocent individuals.

Parents, if you have specific concerns, please discuss them with your pediatrician about why you have concerns, either of a specific vaccination, (ie MMR) or about a general aversion to the pediatric vaccination programs.  Nevertheless, failure to vaccinate your newborn or child may put innocent infants, child(ren), or adults in harms way from exposure to your underimmunized or not immunized child(ren).  Don’t be the “little blue person who turns red” as illustrated below.

I took an oath on graduation from medical school.  I owe it to every patient to “do no harm”.  I urge each and every parent to please follow standard vaccination practices and provide these life-saving vaccines to your child(ren).  Failure to do so ultimately places responsibility for unnecessary disease or death of innocent persons squarely on the shoulders of those who use the flawed “herd immunity” approach that naysayers know all about.


Illustration of Community Immunity (also known as “herd” immunity)

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.


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