|IMMUNIZATIONS/VACCINE SAFETY Why immunize?
||WHAT IT DOES
||Virus that causes acute paralysis and death.
||Prior to immunization, there were 13-20,000 cases annually; in 2000 there were none in US, but still active in >12 countries worldwide.
||Viral syndrome that can cause complications (including encephalitis with brain damage) in almost 10% of those infected.
||Cases are now very rare in the U.S. but still occur worldwide. If vaccination was suspended 2.7 million deaths would be expected worldwide.
|Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (HIB)
||Prior to immunization, the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, and epiglottitis.
||Prior to HIB vaccines, 600 pediatric deaths per year. Recent outbreak with deaths in Midwest, & occurs worldwide.
||Also known as Whooping Cough, this illness can lead to pneumonia, seizures and death particularly in young infants under age one year.
||Currently a resurgence; prior to immunization, 250,000 cases per year, 9000 deaths. 9 recent deaths in CA in unimmunized infants.
|Rubella (German measles)
||Mild viral disease in children, but in pregnant women, leads to heart defects, mental retardation, deafness.
||Before vaccination there were 20,000 babies born annually with birth defects.
|Varicella (Chicken Pox)
||Highly contagious viral illness. Can lead to complications such as pneumonia, bacterial skin infections, dehydration as well as significant school/ work absence.
||Prior to immunization there were 11,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths annually in the U.S. secondary to bacterial complications.
||Liver infection with risk of liver failure or cancer.
||Up to 25% of children who are infected may die from the infection.
||Severe throat infection which produces a toxin that causes heart and nerve problems.
||Death rate after infection was 20% of cases prior to immunization. Not seen in U.S., still occurs worldwide.
||Severe, often fatal disease leading to spasm and stiffness of the jaw and muscles.
||30% of infections cause death. Worldwide there are still >100,000 deaths from lack of immunization.
||Viral infection in the salivary glands; can cause deafness, swelling of the brain, nerves and spinal cord, and sterility in males.
||Before immunization there were 200,000 cases annually, now reduced to about 300.
||Leading cause of blood infection, bacterial meningitis, pneumonia and ear infections.
||Prior to vaccine, 6,100 annual deaths in US.
||Vomiting and watery diarrhea, often lasting 3-8 days or longer; may require hospitalization for dehydration.
||Globally, still 527,000 deaths per year. Prior to vaccine, 20-60 deaths in US per year; > 600,000 visits per year.
Will getting several immunizations at once overwhelm my child's immune system? Infants and children are exposed to numerous bacteria and viruses on a daily basis (examples: new foods, putting hands in mouth, etc.), all of which are common antigens to which their immune system must and does respond. A common cold exposes a child to 4-10 antigens per episode, and a case of strep to 25-50. In contrast, most vaccines expose a child to 1-10 antigens.
Can my child get sick from the vaccinations? Two different types of vaccinations are available: "live" or "killed". Live virus vaccines (e.g. MMR, Varicella) are weakened or partial strains of the virus which stimulate the immune system enough to develop protective antibodies but not enough to cause infection. Side effects of these vaccines may include rash and fever. Killed vaccines (all others) cannot transmit any infection but may cause transient fever and irritability.
Will mercury (thimerosal) in the vaccines cause my child to develop autism? Thimerosal is a mercury based preservative that has been used in vaccines since the 1930's. Since 2001, thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines that are given to infants. Multiple studies have shown conclusively that thimerosal has no causal relationship to the development of autism. There has been no decrease in cases of autism since thimerosal was removed from vaccines nearly ten years ago.
Will the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine cause my child to develop autism? Numerous scientific studies have shown that there is no link at all between the MMR vaccine and autism. The original British study which attempted to prove a cause and effect relationship has been retracted by nine of the ten authors. There is also no scientific evidence that separating the vaccine into three individual vaccinations has any benefit. What studies have shown is that when MMR vaccination has been suspended in countries outside the US, the incidence of measles, encephalitis and death increases dramatically.