During the Republican debate this past Wednesday 9/ 16/15, false comments about linking vaccine to autism and the schedule of vaccines were made. This was much to the dismay of pediatricians and family practitioners, who are tirelessly working to vaccinate and prevent life threatening infectious diseases in children. Immediately American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults, issued this statement “The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made during the Republican presidential debate last night regarding vaccines. Claims that vaccines are linked to autism, or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule, have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature. It is dangerous to public health to suggest otherwise. “There is no ‘alternative’ immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a child at risk of disease for a longer period of time; it does not make vaccinating safer. “Vaccines work, plain and simple. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time. Pediatricians partner with parents to provide what is best for their child, and what is best is for children to be fully vaccinated.” Infact, vaccination is safe and one of the greatest health developments of the 20th century. Illnesses, including rubella, diphtheria, smallpox, polio, and whooping cough, are now prevented by vaccination and millions of children’s lives are saved. Following are more facts about vaccination.
- Vaccines can save precious lives of children from these preventable diseases. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 732,000 American children were saved from death and 322 million cases of childhood illnesses were prevented between 1994 and 2014 due to vaccination.
- The ingredients in vaccines are safe in the amounts used.
- Major medical organizations recommend vaccines and state that vaccines are safe. These organizations include: CDC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Institute of Medicine (IOM), American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), UNICEF, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
- Adverse reactions to vaccines are extremely rare.
- Vaccines provide “herd” immunity. Herd immunity means to immunize a certain percent of people of a population against a contagious disease, so that it is unlikely that an outbreak of the disease will occur.
- Vaccines protect future generations.
- Vaccines eradicated smallpox and have nearly eradicated polio.
- Vaccination is mandatory because vaccine-preventable diseases have not disappeared.
- Vaccines provide economic benefits for society. Vaccines save children and their parents’ time and money
- Vaccines are not linked to autism
CDC and AAP recommend that healthy children get vaccinated against 14 diseases by age 2 (with boosters later for some), along with an annual inoculation against the flu. In fact, the government supports vaccines so strongly that any uninsured child can walk into a clinic and get his or her shots for free. Immunizations are simply one of the greatest public-health achievements. Vaccinate your child and spread the awareness!!