Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Missed vaccinations

I was just going to post on the Lancet story but Tate beat me to it. Hot news today. There have been a number of recent stories in the press about the alarming decline in vaccination rates. Here's one from a couple of weeks ago in USA today:
Missed vaccines weaken 'herd immunity' in children
It is very sad that this rumor about the measles vaccine and autism persists.
Parents such as Rebecca Estepp of San Diego decided not to vaccinate her younger son after his older brother was diagnosed with autism. When measles broke out in Southern California in 2008, "I had to decide, 'Would I rather have him get the measles or risk having him get autism like his brother did?' " says Estepp, national policy manager for Talk About Curing Autism. "My husband and I decided we'd rather he get measles."

The story also, sadly, illustrates one of the advantages of herd immunity - it protects young children before they get their shots:
Danielle Romaguera's daughter, Gabrielle, was only 7 weeks old when she died from whooping cough — one week before she would have received her first shot.

Click the illustration at the top for an amusing illustration of herd immunity from Britain's National Health Service.

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