Private School Kids Skip Their Vaccines; Do You Have Yours?

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When was the last time you were vaccinated?

Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that it has become increasingly popular for private school students in California to opt-out of immunizations.

According to the AP, 110 private schools in CA had more than half of their kindergartners skip some or all of their shots.

Parents choose not to immunize their kids for many reasons: religious beliefs, fear that the shots themselves make children sick and even the idea that vaccines are linked to autism.

Parents can do as they please, but the growing trend to not vaccinate children is now largely to blame for a rise in whooping cough. Simply put: the US is now experiencing its largest whooping cough outbreak in 50 years.

An unvaccinated population is a danger to everyone. A theory known as ‘herd immunity‘ states that contagious diseases won’t spread as easily if significant portions of the population are immunized.

That brings this blog post back to you and me.

If you believe in vaccines and try to stay up-to-date, do you have any idea which shots you might need right now?

No? You’re in luck.

Check out this really simple vaccine quiz from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

No matter your age, the quiz will tell you the vaccinations you need.

Then, compare your medical history to the quiz and ask yourself:

Is it time for a new round of vaccines?

My CDC quiz says I should have shots for MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), tetanus and influenza.

MMR and tetanus? Check.

A flu shot? Hmm, I can’t remember.

Better call my doctor.

Share this post with friends, and let’s all get the shots we need before the chilly fall weather sets in!

 © 2013, Danny Rubin

Comments

  1. Being a physician who cares for children, I see this scenario with some frequency (realize though that parents opting NOT to vaccinate their children is the exception to the rule). Parents, for whatever reason, have decided they do not want to vaccinate, they want to delay vaccinations, or they want to create their own schedule of vaccinations.

    I can understand the fear parents have. Organizations, celebrities, and a handful of websites put out frightening information — that vaccinations have mercury and thiomersal which lead to autism or other unknown maladies. A parent’s #1 goal is to protect their child, and when the above information gets into your head it’s only natural to question, “I know this probably isn’t true, but what if it is?” “What if my decision gives my child autism.”

    Realistically, the vast majority of parents who come to me saying, “I don’t want to vaccinate” have not heard the mountain (and yes I mean MOUNTAIN), of research studies suppoorting the efficacy and safety of vaccinations (and the research which disproved an earlier study published in the prestigious journal Lancet, linking vaccinations to autism”. Ultimately, the majority of parents agree to vaccinate when provided with fact-based research. You’re absolutely right, Heard Immunity is a critical principle of immunology and epidemiology. And when there is less immunity in the population, there is more opportunity for vaccine-preventable infectious disease to spread through our heard.

    And yes, vaccinations are not just for kids. Pertussis, Shingles, Mumps, Tetanus, Flu, and others are all diseases older folks can get. Vaccines can prevent or shorten the course and decrease the intensity of illness. The fall is a great time to re-evaluate your immunization status. You probably should get a flu shot, but what else are you due for?

    • NewsToLiveBy says:

      Great stuff, Dr. Mike. Seems like there’s so much information out there. Reminds me of this fake magazine cover from The Onion.

      My CDC report also said I should have Hep A shot for international travel (I’m going to Spain), but not if I’m headed to Western Europe. So I think I’m good.

      • That sounds correct. Hep A is prevalent in many parts of the world — and not just the developing world (I had to get a Hep A shot for recent work in Northern Arizona).

        And yes. the internet is a powerful tool. It’s often quite difficulty to sort good science from junk science. My advice…question everything and ask for the evidence.

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