The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report yesterday discussing doctors, parents, and vaccinations. If you read through the summary, you'll find a few relevant facts:
- 11.7% of pediatricians today refuse to have non-vaccinated children as patients.
- More parents hesitate or refuse to vaccinate because of not thinking the vaccines are needed or because they don't want their child to be discomforted. i.e. The misconception of vaccines causing autism is going away.
- 87% of pediatricians encounter parents who either hesitate or refuse vaccines.
While I am more than happy that the myth about vaccines and autism is disappearing, I have to wonder about parents who believe that vaccines aren't necessary. Let's do a reality check. The only disease we've eradicated from the general population is smallpox (which we don't vaccinate for anymore). Otherwise, the other diseases we vaccinate for are still alive, well, and active in different parts of the world.
The irony of this situation is because of vaccines people don't realize how necessary they are. If we hadn't virtually eliminated polio, tuberculosis( Tb), mumps, measles, rubella, etc... from the U.S., then we would have grown up knowing someone who became paralyzed from polio, lost a lung to Tb, or simply died from one of these nasty diseases.
I don't think these people fully understand that we keep polio, Tb, mumps,... away from the U.S. through herd immunity. When someone from another country visits or when an American visits another country where these diseases still exist, the disease can't get a foothold here because so many people have immunity through vaccinations. But herd immunity only works if enough people are vaccinated.
By refusing vaccines for their children, these parents are putting all children at risk.
So if you know someone who doesn't want to vaccinate their kids, please discuss the ramifications with them. We don't need anymore children living in iron lungs, wheelchairs, or graves.