In 1998, Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet that falsely linked MMR vaccine to autism and bowel disease. Since then, dozens of studies have been done which disproved his claims. In 2010, the British General Medical Council conducted an investigation that discovered that Wakefield had falsified his study. The Lancet promptly retracted the article. Unfortunately, the damage had been done. Because of this, there has been an increasing amount of media attention and public concern about vaccine safety and side effects. The information presented is understandably concerning to families and has resulted in many questions regarding our vaccine policy.
We firmly believe in the effectiveness and safety of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives. We believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. We believe that vaccines are undeniably the most important public health intervention of the 20th century. They are also one of the most significant health promoting interventions we perform as health care providers, and that you can perform as parents or caregivers.
Because of the effectiveness of vaccines, many of the diseases that were once common are now rarely seen in our country. Unfortunately, because of poor vaccine rates around the world, we are seeing a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, meningitis, and even polio. The ease of worldwide travel makes these diseases a real threat to be imported to our country – we have already seen this in several recent disease outbreaks in our country.
We believe the recommended vaccines and their schedule are the result of years of scientific study and research, with data gathered on millions of children by thousands of the brightest scientists and physicians. Thanks to this research, we now know that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.
A doctor-patient relationship is built on trust: Trust that we have been trained well, that we follow the most up to date scientific evidence, and that we will recommend the best care for each child. When a family does not trust the physician’s judgment or recommendations, this vital relationship is jeopardized. Therefore, we feel that families who choose not to take our advice on such a crucial topic should consider a practice that shares their own views on caring for their children.
Please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with any one of the physicians of Pearland Pediatrics.
For those wanting more information we recommend the following websites:
- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/vaccines-calling-shots.html (PBS video on Vaccines)
- www.vaccinateyourbaby.org (Every Child by Two)
- www.cispimmunize.org or www.aap.org (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- www.cdc.gov/vaccines/default.htm (Centers for Disease Control)
- www.immunize.org (Immunization Action Coalition) and
- www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4012.pdf (Immunization Action Coalition)