Vaccines have changed medicine and drastically decreased the child death and disease rates. As pointed out by Dr. Paul Offit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, before we had vaccines, parents in this country could expect that every year:
- Polio would paralyze 10,000 to 20,000 children (source: CDC, and American Academy of Pediatrics Textbook of Pediatric Care, 2009).
- Rubella, the “German measles,” would cause birth defects and mental retardation in up to 20,000 babies (source: Plotkin, Orenstein and Offit, Vaccines, fifth edition, 2008).
- Measles would infect about 4 million children and kill about 3,000 (source: Plotkin, Orenstein and Offit, Vaccines, fifth edition, 2008).
- Diphtheria would be one of the most common causes of death of school age children, killing between 10,000 and 15,000 (source: CDC, and American Academy of Pediatrics Red Book, 28th edition, 2009).
- A bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) would cause meningitis in 15,000 children and kill about 600 of them, leaving the rest with permanent brain damage, but it would also cause about another 7,000 cases of other life-threatening infections, killing many of them (source: CDC).
- Pertussis, also called “whooping cough” would kill 5,000 to 10,000 infants (source: Cherry, in Clinical Infectious Diseases 1999;28 Supplement 2:S107-11).
- Chickenpox would kill 100 to 150 children (source: CDC, and American Academy of Pediatrics Red Book, 28th edition, 2009),
Routine childhood vaccinations, in addition to being so hugely successful, are extremely safe and effective, and the current vaccination schedule is based upon evidence derived from decades of rigorous research by experts. We feel so strongly about this that we believe that to deviate from the standard immunization schedule is putting children at risk and neglecting the child’s health and well being. Creating alternative vaccination schedules based on anything other than a valid medical condition does nothing but create opportunities for disasters.