As medical professionals, we feel strongly that vaccinating children on schedule with currently available vaccines is absolutely the right thing to do for all children and young adults.
The overwhelming majority of current infections of vaccine preventable diseases occur in unimmunized people, although 10% of the cases of recent measles occurred in vaccinated individuals. Briefly, there are two ways vaccines fail; 1 - 2% of people who get the vaccine remain unprotected due to antibodies not being created in adequate numbers to provide protection. Since this happens in such a small percentage of the population, we use vaccines in the same way we use seat belts. Seat belts don’t prevent death 100% of the time, the way life jackets don’t prevent drowning 100% of the time, but they do reduce the risk of death, which is why we use vaccines – for risk reduction, not risk elimination. Waning immunity over time also contributes to a lack of complete risk elimination.
Until recently, this small percentage of inadequately protected individuals was not a major concern – this is because the US had high levels of herd-immunity, meaning so many people were vaccinated that a disease had trouble spreading. There were few unprotected people left to pass it along. Herd-immunity meant that even the measles cases introduced into the US from abroad wouldn’t travel far. But now, recent strings of outbreaks span the country and they will continue if immunization levels remain low enough to let the disease spread.
The vaccine campaign is truly a victim of its own success. It is precisely because vaccines are so effective at preventing illness that we are even discussing whether or not they should be given. Because of vaccines, many of you have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis, or even chickenpox, or known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases.
By allowing unimmunized children into our practice, we are putting all of our patients and our community at risk. We believe, as we always have, that not vaccinating for the following serious communicable diseases- Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Polio, HB (Haemophilus Type B), Pneumococcus, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), and Varicella (Chicken Pox), puts a child at unnecessary risk for life-threatening illness and disability, and even death. Thus we expect all of our patients to be vaccinated to these illnesses as recommended by the AAP and the CDC.
- We firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives.
- We firmly believe in the safety of our vaccines.
- We firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- We firmly believe, based on all available literature, evidence, and current studies, that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.
- We firmly believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health-promoting intervention we perform as health care providers, and that you can perform as parents/caregivers. The vaccines and the advised schedule at which they are administered are the results of years and years of scientific study and data gathered on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.
Although you as parents have the ultimate responsibility for what you believe is best for your child, and although you may have a personal or religious objection to having your child vaccinated, as your child’s health care advisors, we feel that it is critical to your child’s health and safety that he/she receive vaccines as recommended by the AAP and the CDC.