Why it is important to vaccinate your child: The reductions in vaccine-preventable diseases worldwide is arguably the greatest public health achievement in the 20th century. While vaccination programs have heralded the eradication of small pox and polio from the Western Hemisphere, vaccine-preventable diseases that seem long gone such as Polio and Measles are just a plane flight away and continue to represent a real threat to the health of our children.
In 2008, the U.S. experienced the largest measles outbreak since 1996. The source of the outbreak was an unvaccinated child who contracted the illness while traveling in Europe. 91% of affected individuals were also unvaccinated.
The pediatricians at Children’s Medical Center endorse the timely vaccination of all our patients according to the schedule set forth by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Please read information on what to do if you refuse to vaccinate as well as the information below. If it remains your decision to not vaccinate your child then please complete the Refusal to Vaccinate Form and present it to your pediatrician at the upcoming well visit.
Myths and Facts about Vaccines
Myth: Vaccines are not safe
Fact: Vaccinations continue to be one of the most thoroughly tested medications prior to licensure by the FDA, consisting of both phase 1 to phase 3 pre-licensure studies and ongoing post-licensure surveillance. As part of post marketing surveillance providers and parents may report any concern for an adverse event after vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
Myth: MMR vaccine causes Autism
Fact: On February 12, 2009, The Federal Vaccine Court rejected claims that MMR cause autism. On February 2, 2010, The Lancet formally retracted the 1998 study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield which purported an association between MMR vaccination and autism due to falsified data and violation of research ethics. Many population based studies fail to show an association between MMR vaccination and autism.
Myth: The ethylmercury containing preservative Thimerosal causes Autism
Fact: Thimerosal was completely removed from all childhood vaccines except influenza vaccine in 2001. A 2008 study in Pediatrics shows ethylmercury in thimerosal-containing vaccines rapidly eliminated from infant’s bodies. On March 12, 2010 the Federal Vaccine Court rejected claims that Thimerosal alone causes Autism. Autism rates have continued to rise even after thimerosal was removed from U.S. vaccines.
Myth: The current childhood vaccination schedule overloads my child’s immune system
Fact: During a typical day an infant’s immune system may respond to thousands of antigenic challenges simultaneously. Currently there are 14 vaccines which protect against 16 diseases yet consist of only 177 antigens spread out over 18 years. Contrast this to the 1980 vaccine schedule consisting of 3 vaccines that protected against 8 diseases yet represented 3,041 separate antigens.
Myth: Published alternative vaccine schedules are scientifically founded.
Fact: The only scientifically founded vaccination schedule is the one published by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Delaying timely vaccination prolongs the period that your child is vulnerable to that specific vaccine-preventable disease and forces an arbitrary prioritization of vaccine administration. There is no evidence of benefit for delaying or spreading out vaccines. Visit the link on Are Alternative Vaccine Schedules Safer?
Source: Pediatric Annals. Volume 39. Number 8
ACIP Vaccine Schedule
- Immunization Schedule for Children Birth through 6 years (English)
- Immunization Schedule for Children Birth through 6 years (Spanish)
- Immunization Schedule for Children from 7 through 18 years (English)
- Immunization Schedule for Children from 7 through 18 years (Spanish)
- Vaccine Information Sheets
Recommended Vaccine Websites for Parents
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center
- National Network for Immunization Information (NNii)
- Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases
- Vaccinate your Baby
- Voices for Vaccines
- Vacunalos por Su Bien (Spanish only)
- Board of Health Rules for School Vaccines 2013-2014 SY
Traveling Internationally With Your Child?
Please advise your Pediatrician if you plan to travel internationally with your child so we can help determine if your child has all the recommended vaccines prior to departure. See the link below on Modification of Standard Vaccine Schedule