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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

Hudson.7-12 (391x480)A wise professor of mine queried me in medical school:  Of all the advances in medicine over the centuries, which breakthrough was the single most important one that has saved more lives than any other?

My mind was spinning….what could it be…surgery, medications like antibiotics, anti-virals, heart medications, blood pressure medications, cancer drugs, HMOs…..no, definitely not HMOs.

Answer:  Vaccines!    The single most important advance in medicine to save millions of lives is immunizations.

The Influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed more than 50 million people   It affected more than 1/5 of the world’s population.  In comparison, 16 million people were killed in WWI. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/influenza-epidemic/

What about chicken pox, a nuisance or deadly virus?  Since the chicken pox vaccine has been used, deaths in the U.S. have declined from 145 per year to 65 per year.  The decline in deaths was especially noted in children age 1 to 4 years old. http://www.immunizationinfo.org/science/decline-chickenpox-deaths

What about autism and Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine?   In 1998, Wakefield presented a case series of 12 individuals who developed pervasive developmental delay after receiving the MMR vaccine.  This caused widespread concern over the vaccine safety.  Twelve studies since then addressed this issue and none of them suggest an association between MMR vaccine and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). http://www.immunizationinfo.org/science/no-evidence-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism

Prevention is always the single most important practice to save lives.  Prevention can mean clean water, clean air, healthy food, and taking precautions to protect those we love.  Children depend on the choices made by their parents…  Choose wisely.

This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. 

  1. Erin McLaughlin SuttererErin McLaughlin Sutterer09-18-2012

    Thanks for the Blog! I think it is crucial to immunize our children… Parents are (typically) THE people in a child’s life who keep the child safe from so many things, burning hot water, fast moving vehicles, cold weather. But we can’t protect a child from a disease without the right tools, which is vaccines. Thank you for your insight and sharing this with all of us! 🙂

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