Vaccines – Some Perspective Please!

Recently there has been an increase in the number of crying mothers calling our office looking to transfer their children to our practice because of the unpleasant way they were treated by the doctors where they were taking their children for well child care. I am hearing reports of doctors telling parents their children will die if they do not get immunized and also claims that vaccines will protect their children from routine respiratory illness.

There was an editorial published in the Spring 2014 edition of South Carolina Family Physician    In this editorial, Dr. H. Griffin Cupstid, a family physician from Spartanburg, insulted the intelligence of those who questioned the benefit/safety value of vaccines, advocated for an increase in the police state and called for war against the dangerous parents who were not immunizing their children.

We are seeing ever increasingly strident physicians. We now have official editorials advocating for stomping on freedom, the abandonment of informed consent (a supposed bedrock of contemporary medical ethics) and the societal rejection of anyone who does not agree with the current official position on vaccines. (By the way, once you take that step, it is only a small step to the state taking non-vaccinated children away from parents “to protect the children.”)

Based on the increasingly hysterical attitudes and actions of the majority crowd towards the non vaccinating families, it seems there must be some kind of terrible thing occuring, that requires extreme measures to stop it. Is this what is happening? Let’s look at some statistics.

During the preschool years, children are routinely vaccinated against twelve different illnesses. Out of these twelve, over the last few years there has been an increase in the incidence of measles and pertussis (whooping cough) and that is what is being used to justify the increasingly strident position of the majority of the medical community. Here are the details.

First of all measles. After a recent record high in 2011, measles cases were down to just 54 in 2012, but were up again to at least 189 cases in 2013. There will be well over 200 cases in 2014. Of these, there have been several cases of encephalitis (a brain damaging complication), but no cases of death.

In the case of pertussis, after a low of 1,000 reported cases in 1976, it has steadily risen to 48,000 reported cases in 2012 and the real number was certainly much higher. Pertussis is certainly a frightening illness and I would immunize my children against it, but at this point, it is not killing people in significant numbers. There was a death of a six month old from pertussis in February 2014 and that was the first case of a death since 2010. Even one unnecessary death is tragic, but let’s have some perspective.

In comparison to these numbers are some other statistics. Every year, in the United States, there are over 1,000 children who die from drowning and almost 7,000 who die in motor vehicle accidents. On top of these are the many more who are seriously injured. If we look at all ages, each year there are over 10 million motor vehicle accidents and over 30,000 fatalities or 11 deaths per 100,000 population.

The incidence of measles and pertussis has gone up for multiple reasons. Factors contributing to this increase in disease include: worldwide fluctuation in the incidence of the disease, diminished efficacy of the vaccines being given, changes in the biology of the diseases and yes lowered rates of vaccination. Nevertheless, even if the increase in disease incidence were 100% a result of “ignorant” parents refusing to vaccinate their children, the numbers are still microscopic in comparison to drowning and car accidents.

If we are so concerned about the well being of children, why are there no calls for the outlawing of swimming pools and motor vehicles?   Far more children are injured and killed by abusive parents than children who get sick and die, because they have parents who do not immunize. Where is the medical community outrage over the courts returning children to seriously abusive parents?   While the decline in vaccine rates is a legitimate concern, it seems disingenuous to attack these parents and advocate the loss of freedom over an action whose consequences barely register in comparison to so many other risks. How is it ethical, when pediatricians refuse to care for children who are not immunized? Are you trying to tell me the doctors are refusing care out of concern for the well being of the child, by saying it is better that the child receive no care?

The parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children are not refusing out of neglect or ignorance. They are refusing out of fear for their children’s safety. You do not counteract that fear by bullying them, casting aspersions on them or threatening them. Giving them vague asssurances that vaccines have no risks is illogical, because everything we do has risks, so it does not help. Citing the CDC is not helpful, because the CDC is part of a government that lies to its citizens routinely and has a vested interest in maintaining immunization rates. Claiming current scientific theory is unchangeable truth is not going to work, because everyone knows scientific teaching changes constantly.

What will win the day is respectfully listening to their concerns. Calmly giving your viewpoint, when they want it. Avoid exaggerated claims of risks and benefits on both sides of the equation.   Allow them to immunize, when they feel safe, as a majority will eventually at least partially immunize. Most importantly, accept the fact that we do not all have to think and act the same. That is what used to be called America.

Advertisements
Previous Post
Leave a comment

32 Comments

  1. cdouce515

     /  July 1, 2014

    We miss having you as our daughter’s doctor. We have been getting her vaccinated, but slowly, and the doctors here in MN do not like it at all. She had a febrile seizure 8 days on the dot after having her MMR vaccine, and a second seizure two weeks later. That does not make us feel more confident in immunizing or our current doctor, especially as he immediately tried to convince us that it couldn’t possibly be the vaccine, and pushed us to have multiple vaccines the next time when we have repeatedly said we want to do them one at a time. It’s so frustrating.

    Reply
  2. Rachel French

     /  July 1, 2014

    Thank you for writing this! After losing a child in 2008 to a vaccine induced cytokine cascade in his lungs and countless hours of research I chose to stop vaccinating. I have two older, mostly vaccinated daughters (I am very grateful I made this choice before gardasil hit the scene) and four young non-vaccinated children. The school district and board of special needs have been wonderful. The hospital system (Anmed), have been horrible to us….from bullying, threats of dss involvement due to neglect, attempts to forcefully admit one child, giving a vaccination without consent, and local doctors refuse to treat my younger children. Thank you for writing this and for actually caring about the parents and children. Bravo!!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

       /  July 2, 2014

      Yes Anmed is horrible in regards to non-vaccinating. We were “let go,” refused care by the pediatrician with our 1st child 4yrs ago for not signing a paper that stated the we, the parents are in neglect of our child’s well care by refusing the vaccination schedule as recommended by the CDC. Our daughter was only 2 mths at that time & we were most concerned of her not gaining weight rather than worry about the vaccs. At that time, we were just planning on doing a selective schedule of certain vaccs & spacing apart. However, grateful that we were told to find another pediatrician for as we had time to further research all of the vaccs, I then discovered that I was allergic to a common ingredient in all & therefor decided not to do any. I do not have issues with anyone whom chooses to vacc or not to. We chose not to 4yrs ago & now have 3children all unvaccinated. We do not have any regrets. We do have to go through things such as being ostracized by family & friends including the worry from my own mother, school system but do have a notary sealed exempt form, as well as the shun from the medical community. We are very grateful for Dr. Stafford, not for his leniency but for his compassion for all of an individuals health. We did not have care for several months when our 1st was born due to being “fired” by the Anmed affiliated doctor & am truly grateful that it lead us to Dr. Stafford. We also had issues with Anmed Hospital after our 1st birth for not giving the eye ointment, HepB & Vitamin K. They had us stay for a total of 5 days & said it was due to the weight loss even though it never got at or passed the 10% amount. Needless to say, I am not a supporter of Anmed.

      Reply
      • Would also like to add that regardless of ones stance on vaccinations, It should be a right of Humans to have the ability to choose & make their own choices of their personal health care & well being. Especially without the fear of threat of loosing ones’ child for non compliance.

  3. Paige Greer

     /  July 1, 2014

    What a rarity for a doctor nowadays to think reasonably about these matters. Dr. Stafford, you are not allowed to stop being a doctor. Ever. ok?! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Carolyn

     /  July 1, 2014

    Can’t say I agree with you… you’re saying that more kids die in car accidents, drowning and abusive parenting than those from not being vaccinated. Well, duh. If we had a vaccine to stop those things from happening, your argument would be valid but since there isn’t I think it is rather nonsense. “Pertussis is certainly a frightening illness and I would immunize my children against it, but at this point, it is not killing people in significant numbers”… not sure what significant numbers are to you but if it was my baby, one would be pretty darn significant.

    Reply
    • Gail

       /  July 1, 2014

      Carolyn – exactly why some parents choose not to vaccinate. I know of two babies who died of SIDS within two days of receiving their vaccines, and three babies who were hospitalized for whooping cough within two days of being given pertussis. Each of those babies were “pretty darn significant” but extreme pro-vaccinators apparently don’t think deaths on the non-vaccined side of the fence are significant.

      Reply
    • Dan

       /  July 3, 2014

      I agree Carolyn. Swimming, parenting, driving in cars… they are all activities that have serve multiple purposes and we enjoy doing them with kids and take precautions. It is illogical to compare them to diseases. Bad logic there.
      Also, I hope the readers note that the Doctor is not recommending people to avoid vaccines. He is telling doctors to be more diplomatic and kind.
      Lastly, with all due respect, the Doctor comes off as a Libertarian looney to me: ” editorials advocating for stomping on freedom;” & ” the CDC is part of a government that lies to its citizens routinely;” & “advocate the loss of freedom over an action whose consequences barely register”.
      Vaccinate your children carefully, but vaccinate them. I know it is scary to do it to your child, but an entire planet of children need you to do so for their safety.

      Reply
  5. I appreciate your approach to medicine and caring for my children. Many parents, including myself, have come to a conclusion one way or another after a lot of thought, research, and prayer. If most physicians would actually tell the truth about risks on both ends I think less parents would be turning to the Internet to be more informed. Thank you for serving our community!!!!

    Reply
  6. Rachel French

     /  July 1, 2014

    I think the point is that the risk of the vaccine outweighs the benefits of the vaccine. If you research the Dtap vaccine in depth on the CDc website and through VAERS yu can see that te incident of injury is more significant.

    Reply
  7. rebecca

     /  July 1, 2014

    Can you please keep being a doctor until we have all our children and they are grown up? Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  8. Alysha

     /  July 1, 2014

    You are right, I (afraid of vaccinations) eventually did come to terms with vaccinating when my children were going to school. It is such a rabid topic for most people…a little perspective is just what everyone needs! 🙂 I always enjoy yours.

    Reply
  9. Yay doctor!

    Reply
  10. Vandy Romein Smith

     /  July 1, 2014

    My grandfather’s grandfather and grandmother had 13 children born to them, eight of which died in infancy or early childhood. As a child myself in the late 1950’s, I saw children my own age who were suffering the heartbreaking results of polio. I am thankful for immunizations that have helped my generation and those that have followed (including my 2yr old twin grandchildren) to lead lives without fear of these awful diseases. Having read Griffin Cupstid’s article that you have linked has not left me with the idea that he is promoting a police state or wants to declare a war against parents. Hyberbole is rampant on the web. Let us please have a balanced perspective.

    Reply
    • Matt

       /  July 10, 2014

      Polio is almost completely eradicated. During the 50’s-60’s the population as a whole needed a polio treatment. Vaccine’s were the answer. In the early 1800’s the population as a whole desperately needed a Smallpox vaccine. The Smallpox vaccine caused problems for people who didn’t already have Smallpox but considering the circumstances it was a necessary risk – just like the Polio vaccine in the 50’s. Now that the risk of Polio is basically eradicated the risk’s of giving children a Polio vaccine outweighs the risk of getting Polio. Therefore informed parents are saying no.

      I’m thankful that people decided to stop giving the Smallpox vaccine when Smallpox stopped becoming a risk. Now it is time for other vaccines to go by the wayside because the risk’s they pose are not worth it.

      Reply
      • Yesterday a Pediatrician told me that he gives the Polio vaccine to Americans even though Polio is eradicated in the US because there are Indians in the US. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to be up on the current events regarding the basic eradication of Polio in India as well. Check out the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/13/india-has-eradicated-polio/

      • toni

         /  July 10, 2014

        Wild poliovirus may be considered to be eliminated in some countries, but in India for example, there has been a huge rise in non polio acute flaccid paralysis. “In 2011, there were an extra 47,500 new cases of NPAFP. Clinically indistinguishable from polio paralysis but twice as deadly, the incidence of NPAFP was directly proportional to doses of oral polio received.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22591873 A rose by any other name…

      • Matt

         /  July 10, 2014

        Are sufferers of NPAFP vaccinated with the Polio vaccine already? Likely

        My point: stop vaccinating for Polio since it has been eradicated and start vaccinating for NPAFP only IF there is a vaccine that is not equally as deadly and destructive as the disease itself.

      • toni

         /  July 10, 2014

        Matt, it just seems that the more vaccinating is done for Polio or NPAFP , the more mutations arise and the more problems we have to deal with. Like the pertussis vaccine, polymorphism and antigenic divergence is leading to a decline in vaccine efficacy.

  11. Angie

     /  July 2, 2014

    My question is this: You state children die in car accidents and children drown in pools. You state “statistics” for children suffering from encephalitis and measles. How many children have died from the vaccines you advocate against? I choose to protect my children by having them vaccinated.

    Reply
    • Kassie

       /  July 4, 2014

      He isn’t advocating against vaccines…this is what is wrong with people. Anybody who asks a question or for perspective is automatically an evil anti-vaxer. He clearly stated that he is for vaccinations, but is understanding and kind to his patients who choose not to as the media and government has VERY VERY BADLY exaggerated this situation in order to scare people into rushing in and buying their vaccinations. The point he was making was having respect for people and their choices and their RIGHT TO MAKE CHOICES regardless if it is what you would choose. The fact of the matter is that most of these “deadly diseases” stopped being deadly when we came into clean running water, sewage systems and hand wash. there are still children who die from vaccine “preventable” diseases, but you also are in severe denial if you believe that there are not also deaths and severe injuries from vaccinating, which is why it should always be up to the parents to choose.

      Reply
  12. Thank you for this article doctor, I only regret that there is very little information about vaccine injury here. When vaccine injury stops, more parents will vaccinate, this is why people stop consenting to inject vaccines into their children. Once a child is hurt post vaccination, parents then start asking questions and look closer at vaccines, what is in them, the history, who profits from vaccines, who funds the studies and declare them safe and so on. Its the vaccines themselves that are the single most reason for their refusal. Child are being harmed and when there is total denial of this reality by the media, academia and the medical community at large, that’s a problem.

    Reply
  13. I’m being pointed to other figures on deaths that indicate 20 deaths in 2012 alone from pertussis, mostly in babies under 3 months old. Thoughts? It’s still very low, but not “just one in four years”.

    Reply
    • toni

       /  July 3, 2014

      Jenroses….can you provide a link to the figures for 20 deaths?

      Reply
  14. toni

     /  July 2, 2014

    I wish we could clone this doctor and spread him around the world. We need more physicians like this 🙂

    Reply
  15. Tarryn

     /  July 4, 2014

    Thank you! We are lucky to have a doctor with a similar mindset to yours, who realises that we are not neglectful imbeciles, but rather that we are well read and abreast of the research. Our older daughter was diagnosed with Influenza A last year, and yes she was unvaccinated against the flu. Our doctor explained that the current protocol recommended treatment with Tamiflu. I respectfully declined, citing the research by the Cochrane Collaboration and information published in the BMJ. I respect that to practice defensively, he has to recommend what would be considered the standard of care. He respects that the standard of care is influenced by outside interests and that I can make educated decisions, always with the well-being of my children at the forefront of my mind. Well, my daughter was over the flu in 2 days. My younger daughter and I subsequently got it, but not my husband. I took 3 days to get over it, and my younger daughter took 4…but what a great way to sell people on a medication and vaccines, telling them that without it they will be sick for a week, when depending on your immune system, it could be over in 2 days.

    Reply
  16. Lydia S.

     /  July 6, 2014

    I must agree:) Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  17. cedelune

     /  July 6, 2014

    “(By the way, once you take that step, it is only a small step to the state taking non-vaccinated children away from parents ‘to protect the children.’)”
    We are already closer than you think to this. If an infant is detained from its mother at birth, the foster parent will be required to have the baby follow the standard vaccination protocols, even over the objections of the birth mother, if she wishes her baby not to receive vaccines. She still holds parental rights, but the foster parent will follow child protective services’ protocols for doctor visits and the doctor will vaccinate on schedule.

    Reply
  1. Why Parents Delay Vaccines | CRUNCH.with.CHEW

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: