Saturday, June 4, 2011

Vaccination Debate

I'm not going to lie.  All of my kids are up to date on all their vaccinations (except for the baby).  None of them have had an adverse reaction.  None of them are autistic.  No harm no foul ... right?

But forgive me for over thinking this but I'm wondering why?  What is the point of vaccines?  Is it to prevent children from diseases they would most likely come in contact with and die from or expirience complications from?  I think we all think so.  Here is the list of the top 5 vaccinations, risks of contracting the disease and risk of death from these diseases.

1. Pertussis: 2010 saw the largest outbreak of pertussis in 65 years in California.  There were a total of 9,477 cases and 10 infant deaths (if you read the case studies on this it looks as if at least one of the infants had recieved the vaccine)

so ... with the population of California at 37253956, total cases in California = 9,477 do the math.  The chance of getting pertussis in California in an outbreak year is .00254%.  The chance of dying from pertussis is so incredibly small it is irrelevant, also, 90% of the cases were in individuals that are Hispanic.  I think I can safely say that this risk is low.  (Numbers come from the CDC the analysis comes from me so if the math is wrong it is my fault)

2. Diptheria:
"Recent Outbreaks
Locally, in the United States, there is an average of only 0 – 5 cases per year now with a 5-10% fatality rate.According to PAHO (Pandemic American Health Organization), the only recent epidemic of this disease occurred in Haiti beginning on August 3 2009 in which 33 cases were reported with 15 fatalities resulting (2-3). In 2007, 4190 cases were reported world-wide to the WHO (World Health Organization). According to the WHO, Armenia, Estonia, Lithuania and Uzbekistan currently have a rate of infection of .5 to 1 in 100,000 people with a fatality rate of 6-10% while Russia and Tajikistan have a rate of infection of 27 – 32 in a 100,000 people with a fatality rate of 2 – 3%."

Risk factors = living outside the US.  Here the risks are so amazingly tiny I won't bother with the math.

3. Tetnus: According to the CDC website
The average annual number of tetanus cases during 1998--2000 was 43 --- 45 cases in 1998, 42 in 1999, and 43 in 2000. The lowest average annual number of cases for a 3-year period in the United States since tetanus became reportable in 1947 was 41 cases per year during 1995--1997 (1). The average annual incidence rate during 1998--2000 was 0.16 cases per million population, approximately the same as the average annual rate during 1995--1997 (0.15 cases per million population). The incidence rate during 1998--2000 was a 96% decrease from 3.9 cases per million population reported in 1947
I could not find data for the last 10 years.  Risk for getting tetnus seems amazingly low.

4. Rotavirus:
"Vaccinated and unvaccinated children may develop rotavirus disease more than once because there are many different types of rotavirus and because neither vaccine nor natural infection provides full immunity (protection) from future infections. Usually a person’s first infection with rotavirus causes the most severe symptoms."  According to the CDC, the vaccine isn't super effective and according to this website the need for a vaccine for this is pretty shaky. The author of the article got most of their info off the CDC's webpage.

5. H. influenzae type b (Hib)
In 2009 there were a whopping 79 cases in California reported.  That gives us a risk of .000212% I'm shaking in my boots.  The fear is getting to be  overwhelming.  Better go out and vaccinate my baby. 

I understand the need to "vaccinate the herd" and  I will eventually bring Charissa's vaccinations up to date to be a good sheep but I'm more comfortable with my decision to delay it for now.  I feel like I need to be armed with facts and figures after the tongue lashing I got last time I refused the silver needle.  I just want to protect her as long as I can.


The Art Fairy said...

This is where I'm at. The only reason they want to vaccinate little ones all at once the way they do is for fear the parents wouldn't do it otherwise- so they have to catch them while they are in the office. There is no rhyme or reason to the current vaccination time table. Currently little ones receive way more vaccinations than we ever did, much sooner than we ever had to. As far as I'm concerned, waiting is a good idea.

Lara said...

Yep. We didn't do any vaccinations for Grant until 4 months. Then I did DTP until he was old enough to survive Pertussis if he happened to get it. Now we just do the Td. As far as I'm aware the risk of brain damage from the Pertussis vaccine is higher than the risk of my kids dying from Pertussis (whooping cough). When Caedra was a baby there was an outbreak of whooping cough going around so we did the DTP at 2 months. I wish we didn't.
No Hep B vaccines til they need them. It's a disease that's spread through sex, drug needle sharing or exposure to blood in a medical office. My kids aren't at risk right now.
We did Hib, Td, and PCV at 4mo and on because the vaccines don't have side effects mainly and the diseases do have horrible concequences.
We are waiting til age 7 to do MMR because it's necessary, but brain damage from the vaccine is less likely to occur after age 7 according to my pediatrician. Plus if they get measles before age 7 it isn't that big of a deal. Later it can be. Same as Varicella. Getting chicken pox is so much more effective as an immunization, but if they don't get chicken pox I will vaccinate them at some point. I don't believe in the flu shot. I think it's a money making scam for healthy people to get it. I also think the RotoVirus one is dumb and new. So we didn't do it. And I'm not sure about HepA yet.

It's hard stuff. People are SO passionate on all sides of the debate.

But you're the mommy so you do what you know is best for your baby. Good luck!

Kasey said...

You should friend Dr Tenpenny on Vaccines on facebook and check out all her info on vaccines. John and I studied up and read stuff from both sides of the debate. We aren't vaccinating at all.

Berji's domain said...

We switched pediatricians over vaccinating Eirena (or rather, not vaccinating her for every single one!). We now just do a spaced out Dr. Sears-plan. And refuse ones that are STD related (eg. Hep B).
For the chicken pox vaccine, our ped. told me that it wasn't a concern about getting the disease actually, but getting MRSA (sp?) when the kids scratch the sores.

Jacquelyn said...

Lara, who is your doctor?! I left my pediatrician's office in tears last time I was in there because the doctor so forcefully argued with my decision.

Kotassium said...

sigh... the reason the incidence rates are so low is BECAUSE vaccination works...

I'm interested to know, why the worry and why the wait? What are you afraid of, with vaccinations?

Matto and Kafrum said...

The reason these diseases are so rare now is because of vaccinations. Nobody gets these diseases b/c so many are vaccinated and there is nobody in which to grow the disease. If we suddenly decide to stop vaccinating I think the incidence of disease will increase. Also, probably the reason that it is mostly hispanics getting Pertussis is b/c they were probably illegals who were never vaccinated. I will stick with the vaccinations. Maybe it is just the nurse in me talking, but still...

Jacquelyn said...

I'm not leaning toward no vaccinations at all (there are a few I will be skipping), I just don't see the need to vaccinate babies who are at low risk for these diseases. Why inject them with potentially harmful stuff while they are most vulnerable to complications? What's the hurry?

Nathan and Rachel Waldock said...

Here in India, we go for most of the vaccines, but we spread them out a lot. We are way "behind" in our vaccinations (India is greatly accelerated compared to the USA), but we will eventually get most of them simply because the chance of getting these diseases are MUCH greater here. (PS- we are opting out of the STD stuff, though we are going for hepB since it is also transmitted by blood.)

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