Vaccine Safety by liarload

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									According to the CDC, there were over 16,000 cases of paralytic polio annually prior to 1955 when a universal vaccine became available. The number of cases in 1998 was zero. The annual rate of other diseases PRIOR to vaccines were; measles 503,202 mumps 152,209 rubella 47,745 influenza type B 20,000 Today the number of cases are respectively 89, 606, 345 and 54! The fact is that vaccines that, I admit, have occasional side effects have eradicated these monsters. But then so do cars, though I don't see any huge public outcry to ban them. The main point is that the benefits of vaccinations - just like cars - far, far outweigh the risks. According to the National Vaccine Information Center we are indeed seeing a crisis of gullibility. Armies of morons are listening more and more to a huge scaremongering industry comprised of aggressive health sluts who have had it way too easy. They take all of our victories over the monsters of old for granted. Imagine being a mother 50 years ago Moms had to worry about their child dying of smallpox, polio, or whooping cough. When l examine the entirely biased misinformation that people read on the subject of vaccines, it is no wonder that they fear them. These tend to be people who distrust the medical profession, yet they never question the motives of those who put out scaremongering literature. Vaccines do not cause autism or problems like that. Studies have blown that wacky belief out of the water and shown that it is not an issue at all. There are enough real things to be paranoid about as a parent. There's a lot of power and money to feed this paranoia. There is a lot that scaremongers can gain by getting you to distrust certain products. They can then get you to buy their so-called "alternative" products. I have never heard a single person thank science for ridding the world these things. This tells me that we really do have a pretty good life as compared with the past. Because of all the anxiety, U.S. immunization rates are beginning to plummet dangerously. In 2000, 76 percent of children between 19 and 35 months old were fully immunized, down 2 percent from the previous year. Worse yet, even a small falloff concerns public-health experts. Any drop in immunization rates only increases the chance of potentially deadly outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Researchers have analyzed health records from 1987 to 1998 and found that unvaccinated children are 22 times more likely to get measles and 6 times more likely to get whooping cough. Since no vaccine is 100 percent effective, kids who’ve been immunized are also vulnerable: Even when there’s a very slight drop in vaccination rates, immunized children suffer a higher incidence of these infectious diseases. The good news: Recent studies have examined the major concerns raised about vaccines, with reassuring

results. At the same time, new steps have been taken to make already incredibly safe vaccines even safer and to identify the minuscule subset of children—fewer than 1 in 10,000—who may be at risk of a more significant reaction. Small Shots, Big Fears Recent research has debunked many fears that vaccines can cause certain childhood disorders: Autism: In 1998 a British doctor urged a follow-up of his earlier observation that the MMR vaccine might, in rare cases, cause such behavioral problems as autism by triggering an intestinal disorder like Crohn’s disease. He had based his conjecture on a small group of cases -12 children! Since then, several large-scale investigations in the U.S., England, and Finland showed that neither Crohn’s disease nor autism occurs more often following immunization. Brain damage: In children 6 months to 5 years old, a fever can trigger brief seizures marked by jerking or stiffness. Two vaccines - the MMR and the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) - commonly cause fever and thus, in a small number of cases, seizures. These fever-related incidents occur in I in 3,000 children vaccinated against MMR and 1 in 1,700 kids inoculated with the old, whole-cell DTP vaccine. (The rate is markedly lower with the newer, “acellular” DTaP vaccine: 1 in 14,000 children.) In the overwhelming, vast majority of cases, convulsions caused by fever in young children are harmless, though they can be frightening to parents. In about 1 in a million cases, though, these seizures can be followed by epilepsy, coma, or mental impairment. In such instances, it turns out that the fever simply unmasked a pre-existing, underlying condition: If the vaccine-related fever hadn’t triggered the onset of the disorder, another fever would have done so. SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome): Anti-vaccine wackos also claim that whole-cell DTP increases the risk of SIDS, but large studies have found that immunized infants actually have a slightly lower risk. Multiple sclerosis: In 1998 France suspended hepatitis B immunization requirements among children following isolated reports that tied the vaccine to multiple sclerosis. Soon afterward several international studies found that no evidence was found to link the two. Allergies: In the 1990s one hypothesis explaining the rise in the rates of allergic diseases, such as hay fever, asthma, and eczema, was that better hygiene was shielding children from the germs they needed to “educate” their immune system to distinguish harmless substances like pollen and dust from more harmful bacteria and viruses. Some scientists wondered whether vaccines might contribute to that by preventing kids from contracting “normal” childhood diseases. A recent study of immunization rates at 91 medical centers in 38 countries put such concerns to rest, showing no association between vaccination and the incidence of allergic diseases in children ages 6 to 7. In a separate study of children ages 13 to 14, those with the highest immunization rates actually had lower rates of allergic conditions. Juvenile diabetes: In 1997 an immunologist theorized that the timing of the flu vaccine might have an influence on the occurrence of Type 1 diabetes. But a 2001 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that compared infants who developed diabetes with those who did not found no link between the time the vaccine was given and the disease.

Weakened immunity: One of the charges leveled most frequently by anti-vaccine activists is that too many immunizations can overwhelm a young child’s developing immune system. This theory is currently being investigated by the Immunization Safety Review Committee, created by the CDC and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science. But pediatric immunologist Richard Johnston, M.D., at the University of Colorado School of Medicine says that taken together, the purified antigens (compounds that stimulate an immune response, which protects against the real disease) in all of the recommended childhood vaccines represent a mere drop in the ocean compared to what small children are exposed to in their daily lives. And many studies have found that when several vaccines are combined into one shot —standard practice—no major adverse side effects have been detected. Working Toward Safer Shots Of course, we are always, always, always trying to upgrade the quality of vaccines. Even though scientists have dispelled many despicable rumors surrounding the dangers of childhood inoculations, there are still tiny, tiny percentage of risk (awesomely outweighed by the incredible benefits). Some recent changes aim to reduce them: Three years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised pediatricians to stop using the oral polio vaccine (which in unbelievably rare cases causes actual polio - 1 in 2.4 million doses) as well as the whole-cell DIP vaccine (which can cause side effects like fever, convulsions, and, in unbelievably rare cases, an extreme allergic reaction). Now, only inactivated polio vaccine is used. Doctors may still have the old, whole-cell DTP in stock; so ask for the DTaP one. Another concern has been a mercury containing preservative in the shot called thimerasol, which is used in tiny amounts as a preservative in vaccines. In 1999 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that with more baby shots, mercury levels in infants could rise above safe levels. Yes, there are better preservatives than thimerasol, so all major public-health organizations and the pharmaceuticals industry have moved to eliminate the metal from pediatric vaccines. All are now available in at least one mercury-free formulation, but you’ll need to specifically request it. The biggest change occurred with the rotavirus vaccine, which protected against serious infant diarrhea. It was only on the market for a year when CDC studies showed that children with a rare form of bowel obstruction (called intussusception) were more likely to have received the vaccine the week before. The risk was very, very small—it didn’t become apparent until 15 out of 1.5 million babies who received the shot got the condition. Researchers are now working on a new vaccine. Sharpening the Watchdog’s Teeth While American vaccines are safe for the vast majority of kids, incredibly rare side effects may still show up—after millions and millions of children have been safely treated. The challenge is to understand the one-in-ten-thousand or even one-in-a-million serious complication. To do so, doctors must diligently report any troublesome reaction to the CDC. To improve safety, the CDC is creating a network of Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment centers, where doctors can refer patients who may have experienced an adverse reaction. The centers not only will allow physician-researchers to study these reactions more closely but will also foster the development of specialists qualified to understand them. Unfortunately, the CDC has funding to open only four such centers so far. Congress may be called upon to fund more by using a small portion of the $1.6 billion now deposited with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, derived from a 75-cent tax on every vaccine. The result more information on vaccine safety - would be a win-win situation. Health Checklist

* Keep records: date, manufacturer, and “lot” of each shot; ask your pediatrician for a record card. This can help prevent unneeded shots if you move and can’t find records. * If your child has an allergy to neomycin, streptomycifl, or certain foods (gelatin, eggs, baker’s yeast), verify that the vaccines don’t contain them. * If your child has ever had a troublesome reaction to a vaccine (such as limb swelling following the DTP or DTaP), alert her doctor so she can be carefully monitored afterward. *Vaccines may be more effective when given to healthy kids; postpone shots if your child has a fever above 100°F or an illness more serious than an ear infection. What’s Required? All states mandate that children be up-to-date on certain vaccines before entering daycare or school, but there are some variations. Mandatory in all states; ~ DIP or DtaP ~ Polio ~ MMR ~ Hib (Haemophilus influenza b) (except Alaska) Recommended for all children; Pneumococcal Note: To minimize shortages, such chronic illnesses as

only three of the four doses are now given in the first two years; when supplies rise, the fourth will be rescheduled. Recommended in select areas; Hepatitis A (children 2 and older in high-prevalence cornmunities and 11 states, including California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington) Mandatory in most states; Hepatitis B Varicella (chicken pox) Recommended for certain children; Influenza/flu (annual shots now advised for kids with asthma) In order to find out ehat’s required in your state, check out an interactive map at

www.parenting.com/parenting/magazines/index.html. A child will get 23 doses of seven different vaccines all before age 6 Ouch-Free There are now more ways to minimize pain during an inoculation than ever before, including thinner needles and numbing creams, such as ethyl chloride or EMLA, that are applied first. Rehearsals help too. “Before giving a shot, I ask the child, what are you going to do if it hurts?” says Joseph Hagan, M.D., chairman of an AAP committee on pain. “Most kids just shrug. So I tell them to say ~Ouch!’ —that helps.” You can minimize discomfort with a relaxing mini-massage, cold compresses on the skin before the vaccine, breastfeeding beforehand, or having your child suck on a sugar-dipped pacifier during the shot.

When You’re Pregnant Ideally, a woman should check that she’s up-to-date on all her immunizations before getting pregnant. But the world isn’t ideal, and half of pregnancies are unplanned. If you’re pregnant and not sure of your immunization history, your doctor can order blood tests and, if needed, you can still receive several important vaccines, although you shouldn’t have any that are live-virus. If you’re already pregnant; Get a tetanus-diphtheria booster if you haven’t had one in the past ten years. (It protects you and your fetus.) It’s crucial because newborns can contract the disease through the healing umbilical cord in the first days of life. Consider a flu shot if you’ll be in your second or third trimester during flu season (October throuugh March). Get a pneumococcal vaccine, too, if you’re over 35, smoke, or have a chronic disease like high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease—each of which increases the risk of pulmonary infection during pregnancy. A side benefit: Each vaccine also protects the newborn from that illness. Get a hepatitis b shot if you’re immunized and at risk for contracting the disease. That includes women who work in health care, who have multiple sexual partners, or who are or have been IV drug users. Hepatitis B passes readily from mother to infant during childbirth, and it can be fatal to babies. Talk to your doctor if blood tests show that you’re not fully protected against chicken pox (vancella) or rubella (the °R” in MMR). Many adults now in their 20s and 30s missed getting an MMR booster. You won’t be vaccinated - both contain live viruses - but you may work to avoid contact with anyone who might be infected. You can also be immunized as soon as you deliver— neither vaccine interferes with breastfeeding. Source: Pediatrics


								
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