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The Truth About Vaccines – an article by P.I.P Physicians and Nurse Practitioners

Recently we have become aware of the spread of many false and frankly, frightening claims of the potential harm caused by vaccines and therefore feel it is our responsibility to publicly share with the community the true facts about immunizations. We write this article not to force you as parents to give your children vaccines, but to make you aware of the harm that can come not just to the children, but also to the community at large, when diseases reemerge that have been controlled and even eradicated by the use of immunizations.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), a baby born in 1900 could expect to live an average lifespan of between 46-48 years, while a baby born in 2014 can live into his/her 80’s and beyond. One of the main reasons for this is the eradication, through vaccines, of most of the diseases that caused many deaths, particularly of infants and children. In 1900, there were 21,064 reported cases of Smallpox and of those, 894 deaths. The Smallpox vaccine has successfully eliminated this deadly disease and there has not been a case in the U.S. since 1949. In 1920, there were 147,991 cases of Diphtheria and more than 13,000 deaths. Since 2004, there has been only one documented case of Diphtheria in the U.S. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) caused more than 5,000 deaths in 1922, the vast majority of those occurred in babies and young children. Pertussis remains a major health problem among children in developing countries, with 195,000 deaths resulting from the disease in 2008 (World Health Organization estimate). In 2004 through 2008, a total of 111 deaths from Pertussis were reported to the CDC. Children three months of age or younger accounted for 92 (83%) of these deaths. Polio, a terrible disease that was epidemic in the early 1950’s was responsible for 16,316 cases of paralysis and 1879 deaths in the U.S. (National Network for Immunization Information). Thanks to the Polio vaccine, dedicated health care professionals and parents who vaccinate their children on schedule, Polio has been eliminated in this country for more than 30 years. The HIB vaccine (Hemophilus Influenza Type B) was licensed in 1985. Before the vaccine, H. Influenza was the leading cause of childhood bacterial meningitis and since that time, in immunized children, it has been nearly eradicated.

Before 1963, most children would eventually develop the Measles-in 1920 Measles caused 7500 deaths. In 1964-65 there was a German Measles (Rubella) epidemic with a reported 12.5 million cases in which 20,000 infants were born with congenital Rubella syndrome (MMWR). Of these, 11,600 were born deaf, 3580 were born blind, 1800 were born mentally retarded and there were 11,000 miscarriages (CDC). Mumps can be a very serious disease, particularly in a young boy who has reached puberty because there is a possibility it can cause infertility ( The MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine prevents those problems.

There has been an attempt by various sources to implicate the MMR vaccine as the reason for the rise in autism in young children. This began when Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a physician in England, devised a theory, since proven false and one that he himself retracted in 2010, of the link between MMR vaccine and autism. The argument that vaccines containing mercury cause autism is also untrue because thimerasol, the preservative of concern, has been removed from all vaccines since 2001 (American Academy of Pediatrics). The exception is one Flu vaccine and there is a thimerasol-free Flu vaccine available (which we offer in our office). There is as much mercury in a tuna fish sandwich as in any vaccine.

When we vaccinate our children, we are not only keeping them from becoming ill, but we are protecting the community at large. There are individuals with impaired immunity, whether from specific illnesses or treatment of other illnesses such as those receiving chemotherapy. This then becomes a public health issue. Parents who refuse vaccinations are placing those children in serious danger. Our society has become very relaxed regarding many of these terrible diseases, thinking there is no need to vaccinate our children because of the false conclusion that they are never going to be exposed to any of these illnesses. This is sadly untrue. At this moment there are over 59 cases of Polio in Pakistan and wild poliovirus has been found in sewage in several towns in the south of Israel since February 2013. A few years ago there was a Mumps outbreak in Brooklyn and Monsey and just this year there have been cases of Measles diagnosed in the Metropolitan area. We are not suggesting that vaccines are without potential side effects-thankfully the great majority of them are localized reactions with some redness and swelling at the injection site and fever lasting no more than 24-48 hours. The Pertussis vaccine was reformulated in the 1990’s to a version that reduces fever and the potential for febrile seizures. On a personal note, all of the children and grandchildren of the practitioners at Partners in Pediatrics have been immunized and in some cases we give the vaccines ourselves. Although we feel badly making them cry, we know we are keeping them healthy and free from many communicable diseases.

Our hope is that when you read the true facts, you will conclude that vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine.