Patrick Nicholson was considering going that route with his son parker, but didn’t. “I think the scare was mercury in the shots, and apparently ah very little if any are in shots today, so we look at the benefits verses the risks and ah everything indicates that you should definitely vaccinate your child,” says Patrick.
The importance of vaccinating is highlighted most recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, in a paper describing a 2005 outbreak of measles in Indiana. 34 persons at a church gathering where an infected person was attending became infected themselves. 94 percent were unvaccinated.
“There’s not that much measles that are around in the United States, but it’s brought in from other countries, it’s brought in by people who take an airplane into the city who may have measles and may go to a church function or a school function and could spread it to anyone who isn’t adamantly immunized against measles,” says Dr. Saphir.
The same holds for all immunizations: hepatitis b, polio, diptheria, tetanus and pertussis, or the DTaP, and the chicken pox vaccines. “Throughout the world where they’re not receiving measles vaccine, they just don’t have it, there are on average about 40 million cases of measles,” Dr. Saphir states.
In addition to the current recommendations come two new ones for 2006: a second dose of the chickenpox vaccine for kids four to six years old; and a new vaccine against HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer in women. It should be given to girls when they are 11 or 12 years old.
“I don’t think there is any reason for children not to be vaccinated. Everyone should be vaccinated,” Dr. Saphir believes. Parents and caregivers must make sure that children are adequately vaccinated by age two. There is a program called the vaccines for children program or VFC. This program provides funding for all recommended vaccines for eligible children.