Friday, January 28, 2011

When Noise Trumps Knowledge, someone's going to get hurt

In November of 2010 there was a signifcant showing that vaccination rates for children, who have insurance, have been falling. This drop seems to be prompted by fears about a "link" between vaccines and autism.

When a child gets vaccinated and soon after develops autism symptoms, this supposed cuase-and-effect is a coincidence of the calendar and childhood development rather than a true link between the two.

According to the NCQA (The National Committee for Quality Assurance) the share of children who recieved the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, MPR, fell from 93.5% in 2008 to 90.6% in 2009. This subsecquent drop is also seen in many other vaccines such as tetanus and whooping cough. Eventhough the drop in vaccination rates may seem small, viruses are "opportunistic things and it takes only a few holes in the immunity net for diesease to slip thorugh and range free".

A surprising result of the study done by the NCQA showed that public programs that provide vacicines at low or no cost have contributed about the spike in vaccine rates among lower-income families on Medicad. On the other hand wealthier families are getting information not from their doctors but rather from talkshows and the rumor mill spreading false vaccine scare stories.

The spread of these rumors is dangerous because vaccines save lives. The question is whether the decrease of vaccination rate will continue to truly dangerous level?

No comments: