Thursday, August 07, 2003


A couple of news stories popped up recently regarding vaccinations, with my comments:

CDC Focuses on Late-Vaccinated Toddlers

The CDC reports that about 75% of all toddlers are vaccinated on time, and is making efforts to improve that number to 80% by the year 2010. The report opens with a story about a pregnant woman who was exposed to Pertussis (whooping cough) by an unvaccinated toddler. She was sick when she gave birth, and her newborn baby became seriously ill and spent several days in PICU as a result. On the surface, the anecdote seems to make a good case for vaccinating children. But wait – let’s dig a little deeper.

First, the Toddler in question was unvaccinated because his parents had objections (religious or philosophical) to all vaccinations. However, this is not the group that the CDC is focusing on according to the article. It is aiming to improve vax rates of children whose parents forget or neglect to complete the vaccination schedule. Presumably the CDC is not going after the 10% or so of parents for whom vaccination goes against their sincerely held beliefs. So why was this particular incident chosen to introduce this particular news story?

Second, the toddler in question had an obvious whooping cough. So why were his parents taking him to a playgroup with other children, let alone a pregnant woman? Part of the decision not to vax is the realization that you will have to stay at home for a week or more with your chicken-poxed child, etc., and will be careful about not exposing others.

Third, how did the pregnant woman get pertussis? Hadn’t she been vaccinated against it? And if she was, did the protection of the vaccination wear off? If she had been allowed to be exposed naturally to pertussis as a child, she would have been fully immunized against the disease for the rest of her life, and would have passed on some immunity to her unborn child. Not so with the vaccination.

Mothers lose MMR battle: Two mothers have lost their fight to stop their daughters being compulsorily vaccinated with the MMR jab

Somewhat disturbing, the BBC reports that two women in Britain have lost a court battle to prevent their daughters from getting the MMR vaccination against their wishes. In both cases, the fathers of the children brought suit to force the vaccinations.

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