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The Importance of Vaccinations

Infectious diseases are a dire and constant threat to the health of our communities.

Driving a car in our hurried lanes without a seat belt for ourselves or our children would be seen as reckless and an endangerment. Infectious diseases are even more a dire and constant threat to our health than the dangers of modern driving. The livelihood of our family and community depend on complete and timely vaccination. As in driving, we need to engage our “immunological seat belts” as soon as possible to ready us for the journey of living.

Vaccines are safe and scientifically based.

Vaccines are safe and scientifically based. All vaccines undergo a careful review by researchers, doctors and our federal health department to ensure they are safe and effective. Researchers are continually working to strengthen the power of our current vaccine arsenal.

Vaccinations work.

Vaccinations work. Immunizations can provide a protective robust response to many diseases even if the individual has had no contact with the disease. The lifesaving power of immunizations out paces any of medicines’ advancements. Since the pre-vaccine era, diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, and Hemophilus influenzae have plummeted to less than 3% of their prior prevalence. In the 1950s, there were 400,000 cases of measles in the United States; after the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, there was a precipitous decline in incidence with near eradication in 2000.

Not vaccinating is dangerous.

Until recently, many of the infectious foes of our immunizations were in retreat and became nearly forgotten. Unfortunately, we are now seeing a resurgence of these preventable diseases brought about largely by misinformation including the fabricated claim that the MMR vaccine is associated with autism. Numerous studies have revealed that this association is without factual support. Measles is seeing a reemergence fueled by pockets of under immunized in New York City and 19 other states. A decision to not vaccinate is dangerous for that individual as well as the people he or she interacts with. An unvaccinated individual is like kindling for the measles virus. The virus will seek out these holdouts in our community and threaten those who are more vulnerable. Now more than ever we must fasten the immunization belt for the sake of ourselves and our community.

About Stephen J. Wood, MD, FAAP

Dr. Wood joined CHCRR Pediatrics in 2001. He received his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He completed his residency at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Wood specializes in pediatric and adolescent medicine.

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