Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vaccine safety

This post has been on my mind since the inception of this blog: vaccine safety. Vaccines have been around for over 200 years, starting with the smallpox vaccine in the late 18th century, continuing through influenza, polio, measles, and now the full schedule of recommended vaccinations. There has been speculation since the beginning about the safety of vaccines, and I'm here to tell you and give you information about how vaccines are safe and should absolutely, positively, 100% be given to children.

The links below have information that says it all. However, in a nutshell, those unvaccinated through exemptions are overwhelmingly more likely to contract a vaccine preventable disease. Disease incidence corresponds to exemption increases, according to Kris Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health as explained during the CSTE Annual Conference. "Saying 'no' to vaccines is saying 'yes' to disease," said Tina Tan, state epidemiologist of New Jersey.

Vaccine safety is monitored in several ways by the government through passive and active surveillance (VAERS, VSD, NVAC, etc.) Large issues with vaccines are overhyped by the media; however, most adverse events are minor and vaccination is far more safe than not.

Look for information about the safety of the forthcoming H1N1 vaccine. Stay tuned to this issue but know that there are several groups working together to ensure the safety of the vaccine. They are already working on the challenges associated with this vaccination campaign.

Don't forget that pediatricians are always willing to answer questions and provide information. They will give you trustworthy information about vaccines. Be wary of anti-vaccine websites that look legit. Your physician is the best source of medical information.

CDC - always a good source of public health information
Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) publications
Sound Advice audio interviews from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Vaccinate Your Baby
Pictures of vaccine preventable diseases - Many parents these days are too young to remember the days of measles, polio, and other vaccine preventable diseases. The likelihood of an adverse event is very, very low. The likelihood of your child contracting a vaccine preventable disease if she or he is unvaccinated is much, much higher. - a California campaign

1 comment:

  1. You state "...I'm here to tell you .. about how vaccines are safe and should absolutely, positively, 100% be given to children." How long have you worked on VPDs? Do you have children? How do you feel about the vaccine schedule? Did you know that newborns are expected to get vaccinated for HBV during the first week? How do you feel about that? Do you know how HBV is transmitted? Do you think it's necessary for a child to receive a vaccine if they are not at risk?