The CNN headline reads "Measles outbreaks may be linked to vaccine fears". It sounds like there's a correlation between children being home-schooled and un-vaccinated. Public schools require some vaccinations, but there are "pockets" of children who are home-schooled, un-vaccinated, and thus at risk. In one pocket some 30 people were infected with measles when one of their number traveled to Italy.
The MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine is one of the few that I would actually recommend that parents get for their children...and there are a few more. Not everyone needs every vaccine... but vaccines have changed human health drastically for the better in the last century. How soon we forget.
Managing public health is a process of lowering risk for the entire "herd". Vaccination is an easy way to do that. For the more risky diseases, like the ones that cause birth defects, suffering in old age, and death, the risk of the vaccine might be worth it. Yes, the ingredients in vaccines are suspect. As this article says, people are avoiding vaccines these days because they think they could cause autism. Well, maybe they do contribute. There are lots of other things that contribute to autism. If all you do for your kid is avoid vaccines, you might as well give them a gun to play with. There are lots of ways that parents can protect and teach their children that are not being addressed. Whooping cough can kill, but so can soda pop.
Some diseases, like smallpox, are said to have been eradicated using vaccines. But most (or maybe all) diseases still exist somewhere in the world. There is even the threat that smallpox might still be used as a weapon. If we stop vaccinating our population, we will soon have them endemic here too. So where is the line between individual desires to avoid the risk of an injection, with group desires to live in a population that has less disease in general? The line is shifting.
The role of a doctor in my view is to help people find where that line is for them and their family, not to support the pharmaceuticals in saying that everybody needs all the shots all the time. Heck, I don't believe your dog needs a rabies shot every year either. It's up to you, and a little education goes a long way.( Collapse )