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Don't delay vaccines for your family

4/15/2014

The Poughkeepsie Journal
by Dr. Michael Caldwell
April 12, 2014

“Vaccine hesitation” is a new term being used to describe the phenomenon of parents who are questioning whether they should give their children vaccines on the recommended schedule, if at all.

Why? There has been such great success reducing and virtually eliminating many infectious diseases of childhood that most of us have never experienced them. These illnesses don’t just cause temporary discomfort; they can be painful, miserable and even deadly. Most American doctors have never seen a case of measles, mumps, rubella or polio. The recent outbreaks of measles in Orange County, Calif., New York City as well as here in the Hudson Valley, represent a major setback for our country’s efforts to eliminate these vaccine-preventable diseases for good.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org) reports that 85 percent of health-care providers have had a parent refuse a vaccine for his or her child each year. “Unvaccinated children are more likely to be white, have parents with higher levels of education and higher salaries and have a mother who is married. As the vaccine schedule becomes more comprehensive and complex and has the ability to protect against more diseases in the first few years of life, some parent worry about the number of injections a child may receive at a single visit, and others are concerned that the immune system is ‘overloaded,’ a view that has been refuted scientifically.”

We are finding that some parents insist on spacing out their children’s vaccines although there is no scientific validation for this. On the contrary, it puts children and the rest of the community at greater risk. There is a greater likelihood that parents will not follow up as scheduled and it leaves children needlessly vulnerable to contracting a serious and possibly deadly vaccine-preventable disease.  To read more, click here.

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