The answer: NO!!!
In light of the recent measles outbreak affecting thousands of people, we at Westchester Health are more passionate than ever about the importance of vaccinating your children, and yourself, against vaccine-preventable diseases. To get the facts about vaccinations, we urge you to read this highly informative blog by Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP and Cindee J. Ivker, MD, FAAP, Lead Pediatric Physicians with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group (excerpted below).
The most common vaccine-preventable diseases
- Rubella (German measles)
- Hepatitis A
- For a complete list of vaccine-preventable diseases, click here.
Resistance to vaccinating usually stems from a FALSE BELIEF that the measles vaccine causes autism.
There is a lot of misinformation regarding vaccinations that has prompted some parents to decline vaccinating their child. Some specifically choose not to vaccinate against measles because they think there is a link between the measles vaccine and autism. Although this theory (known as the Wakefield study) has been disproven many times over, many parents still believe it.
A recent study by the Center for Disease Control supports research proving that vaccines do not cause autism.
In addition, a recently-published study of more than 600,000 children who were tracked for more than 10 years found no association between the measles vaccine and autism. The researchers stated in the Annals of Internal Medicine: “The study strongly supports that MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination.” For more details on this study, click here.
Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in multi-dose vials of vaccines, has not been linked to autism either. In fact, in 2001 thimerosal was removed or reduced to small amounts in all childhood vaccines except for multi-dose vials. According to the CDC, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines do not and never did contain thimerosal; varicella (chickenpox), inactivated polio and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have also never contained thimerosal; and influenza (flu) vaccines are currently available in both thimerosal-containing (for multi-dose vaccine vials) and thimerosal-free versions.
Are vaccinations safe? Yes. Research and extensive testing guarantee it.
Before being approved, all vaccines administered in the U.S. must be tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA will not allow a vaccine to be given unless it has been proven to be safe and to actually work. Then this data is reviewed again by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Family Physicians before a vaccine is officially permitted to be administered.
The FDA also monitors where and how vaccines are made. Laboratories manufacturing vaccines must be licensed and are regularly inspected. Plus, each vaccine lot is safety-tested.
Herd immunity benefits all of us. This is why we should all get vaccinated, adults and children, every year
Most vaccine-preventable diseases are spread from person to person. When an individual has been vaccinated for a particular disease, he/she is then immune to that disease and cannot infect others. The greater number of people who are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities there are for a disease to spread, and the entire community is less likely to get the disease, which is known as herd, or community, immunity.
When enough people are vaccinated, everyone — including those who are too young or too sick to be immunized — receives some protection from the spread of diseases, even those who are unvaccinated. That means that even people who don’t get vaccinated will have some protection from getting sick. Because of herd immunity, a disease can become rarer and rarer and sometimes, disappear altogether. And that, whenever it occurs, is a great thing. For a list of CDC recommended vaccines by age, click here.
What we’ve written on the subject of vaccinating
- Why We Believe So Strongly In Getting Vaccinated
- Why Immunizations Are Important
- How To Make Sure Your Child’s Vaccinations Are Up To Date
- Why Robert DeNiro Was Right to Pull Anti-Vaccine Documentary From Tribeca Film Festival
- Three Vaccines You Need to Know About
- Yes, You Really Should Still Get A Flu Shot
- White paper: Immunization: The Incredible Intervention That Continues to Save Millions of Lives
To learn more about the importance of immunizations:
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Immunization
- Food and Drug Administration
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccines and Immunizations
- National Network for Immunization Information
- S. Department of Health & Human Services
Want to know more about vaccines or have questions? Come see us.
Do have questions? We have answers. At Westchester Health, we’re happy to explain the importance of vaccinating, as well as the reasons why disease prevention is so important, so that you can make the best possible decision to keep your family happy and healthy. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.
To read Dr. Adler and Dr. Ivker’s blog in full, click here.