Recommending Vaccines To Parents
April 24, 2012

Anti-Vaccine Parents Urged To Rethink Their Decisions

Connie K. Ho for

With the school year close to ending, two physicians are preparing for the vaccinations that will take place before students enter the classrooms the next academic year. To educate parents who may be hesitant about vaccinations, there is a guide that will help doctors convince parents to vaccinate their children in this month´s issue of the medical journal Human Immunology. It is written by a Mayo Clinic vaccine expert and a pediatrician who refute three common myths of child vaccinations. The article, “The Clinician's Guide to the Anti-Vaccinationists' Galaxy,” coincides with National Infant Immunization Week.

The Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization that focuses on medical care, research, and education. Dr. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic vaccinologist, and Dr. Robert Jackson, a pediatrician, reviewed three myths related to immunizations. These misconceptions stated that vaccines could cause autoimmune diseases, that natural immunity was better, and that babies´ bodies aren´t ready for the number of vaccinations. These ideas made parents question the vaccinations, but Poland believes that there´s no need for parents to feel unsure about the immunizations.

"Thousands of children are at increased risk because of under-vaccination, and outbreaks of highly transmissible diseases have occurred,” remarked lead author Poland in a prepared statement. "Primary care physicians have less time than most to explain the scientific case for vaccination. This article gives them the background and tools to debunk some of the major myths."

In the article, Poland features information regarding the anti-vaccine movement and how it has spread inaccurate information. The two explain that the numbers of active molecules in infant vaccines are less than before, which means that children are receiving a smaller portion of the antigen compared to kids in the past. The article also refers to a review of 1,200 articles by the Institute of Medicine that concluded that there were no autoimmune side effects to a vaccination. Lastly, they state that, while natural immunity protects, the chance of danger associated with illness and death is higher than having an immunization.

"We want to offer a user-friendly guide for doctors, but also issue a call to action,” commented Poland in the statement. "We can now show that children have died because of under-vaccination and that diseases have spread needlessly because of this trend."

Poland believes that children who are not immunized are at risk getting diseases that are avoidable. These illnesses include measles and whooping cough. He highlighted that the risk of the vaccination was greater for those who didn´t receive the immunizations (three out of 1,000) compared to those who did receive the immunizations (zero out of 1,000). In a recent press release by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was noted that measles was at an all-time high and that outbreaks could have been prevented with vaccinations. The CDC understands that, in order for there to be an increase in vaccinations, parents and guardians need to accept the importance of routine immunization.

To find out more about vaccinations for school age children, visit the CDC online. Vaccinations vary by state. The National Infant Immunization Week will be observed until April 28 and is a collaborative effort at the local, state, and national level.