Keep Your Unvaccinated Kid Away From my Child!

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Flickr photo by alvi2047
A measles outbreak in San Diego has parents who decided not to vaccinate their child as a toddler to credit (or should that be blame?).

An article in the upcoming issue of Pediatrics that took an in-depth look at the infectious disease outbreak back in 2008 estimates 839 people were exposed to measles because a boy's parents purposely opted not to vaccinate.

He contracted the disease in Europe, then brought it back to the US.

Of the 800 people, at least 11 were unvaccinated children who got sick. A number were simply too young to yet be taken to the pediatrician for their shots. One of the youngest, an infant, was hospitalized for three days and suffered a 106-degree fever.

Measles, is of course, one of the components of the controversial MMR vaccine, the one that one in every four parents still believes is linked to autism, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

Traditionally administered to toddlers in two doses, the regimen should be complete by the time toddlers are ready for big kid school. But this boy was 7, and he was attending a charter school where 11 percent of the kids were unvaccinated.

With the importance of what they call herd immunity -- essentially a safety in numbers produced by more and more kids getting their vaccines -- the risk of infection in that school building became greater with each child whose parents opted against the shots. Likewise younger kids -- be they babies who were too young for their first shot or toddlers who had yet to receive the second dosage -- and the immuno-compromised were put at a heightened risk by this set of parents' selfish decision.

Why selfish? Because as the study's authors are quoted in Business Week, "It's ... a reminder that people who choose not to vaccinate don't just put themselves and their children at risk, but also their communities, which includes infants who are too young to immunize."

Based on the immense amount of scientific evidence that vaccines are safer than no vaccines, parents need to think in the broad spectrum when they make their children's health decision. Because, frankly, if you don't want to vaccinate your kid, I don't want them sitting next to mine in kindergarten.

Do you worry about how the non-vax crowd might affect your family?

health, in the news, vaccines