There was a time when losing children to common childhood diseases was a normal, though sad, part of life. Tiny gravestones in the cemetery marked brief lives ended by whooping cough, measles, chicken pox, or rubella. Mumps left children deaf or suffering from encephalitis, a disease which also led to death in some cases.
Fortunately, few of us can remember those days. Most of our children grow to adulthood and lead healthy lives. The main reason for the change? Vaccinations.
When we vaccinate children, they are protected from those diseases that used to be common childhood diseases. Now, an unvaccinated child — say a baby too young to be vaccinated — can usually be safe, because they’re surrounded by vaccinated children.
That’s changing. When one parent chooses not to vaccinate one child, he or she is kept safe by the fact that most children have been vaccinated. But when the number of children who are not vaccinated increases, all unvaccinated children are in danger.
The recent measles outbreak has caused infants too young for vaccinations to be endangered by sick children in doctors’ waiting rooms. And, since measles has an incubation period of several weeks, kids in schools have also been endangered by unvaccinated children who went to school before they knew they were sick.
Because of the risk unvaccinated children bring to infants and immunocompromised patients, the Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Clinic does not provide ongoing care for unvaccinated children. We follow the American Academy of Pediatrics Vaccine Schedule.
Are vaccinations dangerous?
You should talk with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns. However, while unvaccinated children are clearly in danger from deadly diseases and a source of danger to other children if they are carrying those diseases, vaccinations are not dangerous.
Rob Ring, chief science officer at Autism Speaks, made an announcement following reports of the recent measles outbreak. He said quite simply, “Vaccines do not cause autism”.
Much research has been done on the subject, and it is now quite clear that there is no causal relationship between vaccination and autism. Much of the information to the contrary which you find online is based on a paper by Andrew Wakefield, who retracted his publications after his work was discredited. Please feel free to send a message through myMANA to your healthcare provider if you have concerns.