Immunizations! The ‘reality’ show

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The ‘real’ danger? The thought that immunizing your child makes it more likely that he or she will develop Autism should have been put to rest years ago. Unfortunately this has not been the case, despite reams of scientific reports.

Right at the outset, please take on board the simple fact that MMR vaccine does not produce Autism. I am only going to bore you this once on the subject, but there is plenty of evidence, so please read.

For example, “Although the Wakefield et al. (1998) case reports suggested that the MMR vaccine may be associated with autism, recent epidemiological research has provided strong evidence against any such connection. Kaye et al. (2001) conducted a time trend analysis on data taken from the UK general practice research database. As discussed earlier, they found that the yearly incidence of diagnosed autism increased dramatically over the last decade (0.3 per 10,000 persons in 1988 to 2.1 per 10,000 persons in 1999). However, the prevalence of MMR vaccination among children remained virtually constant during the analyzed time period (97% of the sample). If the MMR vaccine were the major cause of the increased reported incidence of autism, then the risk of being diagnosed with autism would be expected to stop rising shortly after the vaccine was instated at its current usage. However, this was clearly not the case in the Kaye study, and therefore no time correlation existed between MMR vaccination and the incidence of autism in each birth order cohort from 1998 to 1993.”

That was the UK. In the US it was a similar story. “Most recently, the U.S. governments Institute of Medicine, in a comprehensive report cosponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently concluded that there exists no good evidence linking the MMR vaccine and autism (Stratton, Gable, Shetty, & McCormick, 2001).”

And finally, in 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Immunization Safety Review Committee, an independent body of experts who have no conflict of interest with pharmaceutical companies or organizations that make vaccine recommendations, studied a possible MMR-autism link and found no evidence supporting such a connection. A panel of experts brought together by the AAP reached the same conclusion.

Are immunizations ‘dangerous’? Despite claims from some sections of the world’s more vocal communities, I was not at all worried when I took my children to have their “shots”. Sure, I know there are ‘risks’, but all medical interventions have a certain degree of risk attached to them. And when you stop to think about it – just “living” has inherent risks.

I came across some interesting Australian statistics when my son asked how dangerous was it to surf Down-Under. Prepare yourself for some chilling data!

Last year, two surfers were killed by sharks. So that means I’m never going in the water again. However, 300 Aussies drowned, 1,200 had accidental deaths, 2,700 died of cancer and 19,000 died from the results of smoking cigarettes. How are the relative ‘risks’ now? I will chance the water again, though my pool is probably the safest.

I shudder to think about the risks of crossing the road on foot, forget the zebra crossings, as we don’t have zebras in Pattaya, and let’s not talk about the road toll! Yes, the second highest road toll per capita in the world.

With immunization you have to consider the benefit versus risk, and for me, it really is a ‘no-brainer’. I did not want my children to get measles, a much more dangerous illness than most people imagine, for example. The benefit of immunization outweighs risk by far.

The following figures came from the US comparing the results of immunization, versus the situation before immunization campaigns. The first column shows reported diseases and the last column shows the reduction from immunization.

Disease Annual  cases Decrease
Measles 55 99.90%
Diphtheria 0 100%
Mumps 6,584 95.70%
Pertussis 15,632 89.40%
Smallpox 0 100%
Rubella 11 99.90%
Invasive (HiB) 29 99.90%
Polio 0 100%
Tetanus 41 96.90%

Those figures tell you that immunization is effective, and for me, the risks are almost negligible compared to the benefits.

Please consider immunization as a high priority for your children too!