Vaccines save lives. They keep our children, our families and our neighbors healthier, even those who do not get vaccinated. So every time someone ignorantly speaks out in opposition to vaccinations, other people get harmed.
It’s called herd immunity. As pediatrician Dr. Steven Hirsh has expertly opined, the routine use of vaccines is arguably one of the greatest medical interventions of all time. Childhood disease and death rates have dramatically declined as a direct result of mass vaccinations. Parents, doctors and scientists alike should be proud of the tremendous contribution that vaccines have made to the health of our children and our community.
However, you may have read about the recent surge in ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated recently.
Anne Schuchat, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases has said that “in the United States, the number of people who choose not to be immunized for religious, philosophical or personal reasons has begun to become a public health problem.” Others are unaware of, or unable to get, vaccinations before they arrive in the United States. A small number of adults can lose their immunity over time and may need to be re-vaccinated.
Unfortunately, many adults chose not to vaccinate their children with the MMR (Mumps, Measles, Rubella) vaccine because of baseless fears that the vaccine was tied to the onset of Autism. It is understandable for parents to seek answers and to advocate for their children. But when celebrities or uninformed politicians use their soap box to spread falsehoods linking autism to a vaccination, this advocacy becomes dangerous. These theories, by the way, are not accepted by the medical community, have no reliable scientific evidentiary support and have been specifically rejected before the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Here are the facts:
1. Immunizations can save your child’s life. 2. Immunizations are very safe and effective. 3. Immunization protects others you care about. 4. Immunizations can save your family time and money. 5. Immunization protects future generations.
While injuries due to vaccines are rare, they do occur. In 1986, Congress created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in order to compensate those who have been injured as a result of a vaccination. However, the risks of not vaccinating are almost immeasurably greater than the risk of incurring a vaccine-related injury.
Reactions are reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) Children and adults alike should be receiving all of their mandatory vaccinations. However, it’s important to talk to your health care practitioner about the risks.
There is nothing inherently wrong with any particular vaccine but the fact remains that each person is different and reacts differently to each vaccination. That is why it’s essential that the public be aware of a Program intended to compensate them if they do, in fact, have a reaction.
Injured parties have three (3) years from the onset of the injury (or two years from date of death) to file a claim in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
The Program is not used as much as it could be because the American public is just not aware of it. We all need to do a better job in getting the word out to the public that the Program exists, but first and foremost….get yourself and your children vaccinated, today.