With so many vaccines on the immunization schedule, parents often have lots of questions about the safety and efficacy of those vaccines. Rightly so, as protecting your child is every parent’s greatest goal.
Some parents oppose vaccination out of concern for potential toxins thought to be found in various vaccines, and, unfortunately, some parents believe measles disease is not that serious. Before the measles vaccine became widely used in the USA, measles killed more than 1 million persons globally and permanently injured 400 in the USA every year. Did you know that measles can cause pneumonia and encephalitis (otherwise known as brain inflammation)? Also, it is often not readily known that some children, who contract measles, may become develop permanent hearing loss.
Measles cases are hitting a record high in Europe this year, already doubling the 2017 total. More than 41,000 adults and children in Europe were infected with measles in the first 6 months of 2018, exceeding all 12 month totals in a decade, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Infants younger than 12 months of age face the greatest danger, with a seven-fold increased risk of death, compared to children 2 and older. Children younger than age 2 are more likely to develop complications including pneumonia and encephalitis. Measles is not just a nuisance illness of childhood, and already 13 children in Europe have died from measles.
Babies, toddlers and pregnant women suffer the most serious effects of measles. The vaccine is much safer than actually contracting the virus, although pregnant women should wait until after pregnancy to receive the vaccination that would protect them from the measles disease. With a serious adverse effect of less than ONE per billion vaccinations administered, the vaccine has been proven to be extremely safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used databases going back to the 1980s and analyzed tens of millions of vaccine records and found no hint of increased risk of serious adverse events.
Protect those you care about, and be sure your child is immunized against measles. If you would like to discuss the vaccine schedule please call for an appointment and we can discuss the immunizations in more detail. Our practice prides itself in working with parents to develop a course of primary prevention that puts your mind at ease, while protecting your child from serious, potentially debilitating illnesses.
Kenneth Toff, DO, FAAP, IBCLC, FABM