Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
As a self-proclaimed pharmaceutical industry brat who grew up with parents and step-parents in the pharmaceutical industry and was involved in the clinical trials for the chicken pox vaccine when I was in kindergarten, I’m a huge proponent of vaccines and the good they can do. I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, particularly when there are children involved, but I also feel it’s important to take a step back and consider society at large and not just your little corner of the universe.
It’s alarming and more than a little frightening to me that one person in the massive crowd of 200,000 people at Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis exposed so many to the measles virus! As a Babycenter.com blog post reported, these days there are fewer than 100 reported measles cases in the U.S. per year – down from 450,000 cases per year before the vaccine was introduced in 1963. This is a miracle and, in large part, due to herd immunity. Herd immunity theory proposes that in contagious diseases that are transmitted from individual to individual, chains of infection are likely to be disrupted when large numbers of a population are immune or less susceptible to the disease. The greater the proportion of individuals resistant, the smaller the probability becomes that a susceptible individual will come into contact with an infectious individual.
The Tennessean reports on one pediatrician who this year began making parents sign a waiver every time they bring an unvaccinated child in for treatment. Other practices won’t even accept as patients children who haven’t had their shots. That’s because doctors are growing increasingly frustrated with what they characterize as misinformation linking childhood immunizations to autism, but many parents continue to be wary of vaccines. While parents research vaccine risks, their sources usually aren’t the medical journals that doctors read.
No matter your viewpoint, it’s important to look at credible, researched information and data, and really make an informed decision based on knowledge versus hearsay. I’m all for being careful and doing your homework – and by all means research alternatives to the current vaccine schedule – but please be responsible in your decision making and don’t put my children at risk.