MemorialCare Urges Parents to Vaccinate and Protect Against Infectious Diseases
2014-10-01 · By Editor
With vaccination exemption rates on the rise among children in the region, the MemorialCare Pediatric Best Practice Team has issued a position statement urging parents to follow the recommended vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Vaccines are responsible for the control and elimination of many infectious diseases that were once common in the United States, and proper immunization of a child from infancy through childhood can help protect them from their effects. With new vaccines, combination vaccines, and the expansion of childhood, adolescent and adult immunization schedules, the capacity to prevent infectious diseases has markedly increased since 2002. However, viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease and death still exist and pose a risk for unvaccinated people.
“Many young parents haven’t seen these diseases,” said Divya Joshi, MD MMM, Chief Medical Officer, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “They’ve never seen a child die from measles or become paralyzed from polio. When you don’t see the tragedy, you worry less. But the real tragedy is that diseases the United States has been able to completely eradicate are making a resurgence because some parents don’t want to vaccinate their children.”
More than 16,000 California children entered kindergarten in 2013 without vaccinations because of parents’ personal beliefs, a more than 15% increase from 2012 and double the number of children from 2007, according to figures from the California Department of Public Health.
The CDC estimates that infections can spread quickly within a group when as few as 5 percent to 10 percent lack vaccination. And as was seen with 59 reported measles cases this year in California, outbreaks can still occur.
However some parents have raised concerns about the side effects of vaccinations, claiming that certain vaccinations can lead to serious medical conditions, like autism.
“There is no scientific evidence linking vaccinations and certain neurological diseases, such as autism,” said Lorna McFarland, MD, Pediatrician, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “Studies have shown these conditions are present in children prenatally, long before any vaccinations are given. However, once you get a certain kind of fear going in a community, the myths can become almost contagious.”
Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach has protections in place to make sure that immunization status should be known for every child. National immunization schedules now cover more than 20 diseases and primary care physicians are able to walk patients through the entire process and comprehensively manage any adverse vaccine events.
To learn more about vaccinations and Miller Children’s philosophy of family and patient-centered care, visit our website.