Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - GMC - 38

38

Fact or Fiction

THE TRUTH ABOUT

IMMUNIZATIONS PROTECT YOU AND
OTHERS FROM DEBILITATING DISEASES

BY KARI REDFIELD

Despite misinformation
campaigns targeting
vaccination, vaccines are
proven to protect individuals and
whole communities against many
dangerous communicable diseases
as well as unnecessary hospitalization, suffering, disability and death.
"When one looks at the advances
of medical care in the last 100
years, there are a couple of major
interventions that have saved millions of lives. One is sanitation,
and the other is immunizations,"
says Robert McLean, MD, president of the American College
of Physicians.
An example of the benefits of
widespread vaccination is the
nearly worldwide eradication of
polio, once one of the most feared
diseases. In 1952, at the peak of the
outbreak in the U.S., polio infected
more than 57,000 children, causing
permanent paralysis, disability
and death. By 1955, nationwide
polio vaccinations began, and by
the 1960s there were fewer than
50 reported cases annually.
Maintaining progress against preventable diseases means following
vaccine recommendations for both
children and adults, McLean says.
Here's what you need to know.

Vaccinations do not
cause autism.

FACT. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention says there

is no link between vaccines and
autism. Vaccine ingredients,
including thimerosal, a mercurybased preservative, do not cause
autism or autism spectrum disorder, also known as ASD. The CDC
has conducted or funded nine
studies on this since 2003, finding
"no link between thimerosalcontaining vaccines and ASD,
as well as no link between the
measles, mumps and rubella
(MMR) vaccine and ASD."

Before recent outbreaks,
measles was eliminated
in the U.S.

FACT. Measles was declared
eradicated in the U.S. in 2000 but
has resurged in the past decade,
with more than 1,280 cases
reported in 2019. "It was not eradicated throughout the world, just
in the U.S., so the virus is still out
there," McLean says. An outbreak
can occur in the U.S., the CDC
says, when someone is infected
with measles in another country
and comes back and exposes
people in communities who are
unvaccinated. "When measles is
imported into a community with
a highly vaccinated population,
outbreaks either don't happen or
are usually small," the CDC says.
"However, once measles is in an
undervaccinated community,
it becomes difficult to control the
spread of the disease."

A Lifetime
of Protection

To make sure your family is
receiving all vaccinations as
recommended, work closely
with your family doctor and your
child's pediatrician. Babies start
vaccines at birth and often continue through the first 18 months,
with additional doses at 4 to
6 years old and beyond.
Adults should receive the
annual flu shot and specific vaccines based on age and individual disease risk factors. Discuss
your needs with your doctor. For
example, the American College of
Physicians advocates for adding
a pertussis (whooping cough)
booster to the tetanus and diphtheria booster recommended
every 10 years by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
"The pertussis vaccine is being
added to the tetanus booster
because there have been a number of pertussis outbreaks in
infants. While it is still a part of
kids' normal vaccination series, it
can take a while to create immunity," explains Howard Ellis, MD,
a pediatrician with Northside's
Mason Pediatrics. "Many believe
we should boost adults, because
otherwise they could give
whooping cough to infants. It's
not because the adults are getting ill. This is an example of
getting a vaccine for the people
around you."

Listen to the
Local Experts

Measles is making a comeback as a
small but growing number of parents
decline vaccinations for their children. Hear what Atlanta experts have
to say on the Northside Hospital
Medical Moments podcast. Visit
podcast.northside.com/vaccines.

SUMMER 2020 VIM & VIGOR

FdVVSU2080_13-40_Commons.indd
38
FdVSU20_38-39_The_Truth_Vaccines.indd
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4/10/20
2/21/20 1:37
4:05 PM

ILLUSTRATION BY GERALDINE SY

Vaccines


http://podcast.northside.com/vaccines

Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - GMC

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