A warning for all you parents in Jefferson County that have not immunized your children!
Romania is experiencing a massive outbreak of measles that began last year. As of March 21, at least 3,800 cases of measles, including 17 deaths, have been confirmed and rates in surrounding countries have risen. Measles vaccination is about 97% effective in preventing the disease. “Herd immunity” (prevention of widespread transmission) occurs when when coverage is 90%-95%, but the higher the better. Romanians became susceptible to epidemic spread because the rate of 2-dose immunization dropped from 96% in 2007 to 86% in 2015. The factors influencing the drop are poverty, neglect, and the spread of anti-vaccine sentiments. Romania is one of six nations in the European Union or European Economic Area judged by the World Health Organization to still have endemic transmission of the vaccine-preventable disease. The others are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland. The Respectful Insolence Blog has a detailed analysis of what happened in Romania.
Fighting for vaccinations. From Consumer Health Digest.
Led by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 350 national and state-based organizations that represent families, providers, researchers, patients, and consumers have sent a 28-page letter urging President Donald Trump to express their unequivocal support for vaccination. The letter appears to be a response to ignorant statements Trump made during the presidential campaign and his recent meetings with antivaccination advocates Andrew Wakefield and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The letter ended this way:
Claims that vaccines are unsafe when administered according to expert recommendations have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature, including a thorough review by the National Academy of Medicine. . . . Attached to this letter is a non-exhaustive list of studies demonstrating the safety of vaccines. Delaying vaccines only leaves our nation’s citizens at risk of disease, particularly children. As a nation we should redouble our efforts to make needed investments in patient and family education about the importance of vaccines in order to increase the rate of vaccination among all populations.
Put simply: Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives. Our organizations welcome the opportunity to meet with you to share the robust, extensive scientific evidence supporting vaccine safety and effectiveness.
Jefferson County has one of the highest rates of non-vaccinated children in Washington State. This dangerous situation leaves us vulnerable to possibly disastrous outbreaks of disease that could get out of hand much faster than our ability to save people when it happens. It is not unreasonable for pediatricians who’s primary job is to keep children healthy to not want to work with families who insist on not vaccinating their children.
The Washington Post has reported that pediatricians have become increasingly likely to dismiss families who refuse vaccination and that some families will only choose physicians who require other families to vaccinate. [Sun LH. Parents are insisting on doctors who insist on vaccinations. Washington Post, Nov 20, 2106] Dismissal “as a last resort” is supported by the Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, which recently concluded: “The decision to dismiss a family who continues to refuse immunization is not one that should be made lightly, nor should it be made without considering and respecting the reasons for the parents’ point of view. Nevertheless, the individual pediatrician may consider dismissal of families who refuse vaccination as an acceptable option.” [Edwards K, Hackel JM. Countering vaccine hesitancy, Pediatrics 138, 2016
Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via Visualhunt.com / No known copyright restrictions
Since we have a journal in Port Townsend that has supported the anti-vaccine movement, it’s worth touching on this interesting article. I cannot understand why chiropractors, who work hard to legitimize their practice, are supporting the leading advocate of anti-vaccinations. One of our key goals in Jefferson County according to the Public Health Department is to raise the levels of vaccinations, which have fallen precipitously over the last decade as people like Wakefield have put forward ideas that have been discredited by science.
Forbes has reported that Andrew Wakefield, who lost his medical license for unprofessional conduct related to vaccine research, was a keynote speaker at the International Chiropractors Association’s Annual Conference on Chiropractic and Pediatrics in Maui. [Lee BY. Are chiropractors backing the anti-vaccine movement? Forbes, Dec 10, 2016] Noting that Wakefield was unable to provide scientific evidence to support his anti-vaccination claims, the report’s author asks whether having him as a speaker is the best way for a professional association and a conference to gain scientific legitimacy. The article is also skeptical about chiropractors in general.