Posts Tagged ‘ measles ’

Most Doctors Are Delaying Vaccines Because of Parents’ Requests, Study Says

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Baby VaccineDoctors are well aware of the potential risks that delaying vaccines can have, but, according to new research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most doctors are accommodating parents’ requests to alter their child’s vaccine schedule.

Although doctors agree that delaying or spacing out vaccines can increase their chance of contracting illnesses (like measles) and infecting others with these diseases, the importance of building parents’ trust seems to override these negative consequences in many situations.

The study, published today in the journal of Pediatrics, surveyed 534 pediatricians to find out how often parents requested postponing vaccines for children under the age of 2, how pediatricians felt about these requests, and what methods they used to respond.

Nearly all pediatricians (93 percent) reported have been asked to delay vaccines at least once per month—of those pediatricians, one-third said they complied with parents’ requests “often” or “always,” and another third caved in “sometimes.”

Most doctors complied with these requests in the hopes of building a better relationship with their family, and to avoid losing the child as a patient. “Parents hear a lot of frightening things about vaccines from family members, friends, and the media,” says David Hill, M.D., a pediatrician in Wilmington, North Carolina and author of Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro. “But I believe that the best way to protect children from disease is to vaccinate them on time and completely.”

The AAP’s‘ vaccine schedule, which was recently updated in late January, is compiled by a panel of 60 experts from the Advisory Community on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and details exactly when a child should get certain vaccines. “The schedule is designed very thoughtfully,” explains Wendy Hunter, M.D., a pediatrician in San Diego and author of the Baby Science blog. “The timing of vaccinations is proven safe and effective when the schedule is followed.”

And “going to a pediatrician is not like going to Starbucks,” says Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician and Parents advisor who’s also the author of the Baby 411 series. “If it feels that way, with parents ordering up their favorite shots and rejecting others, then they aren’t taking advantage of the knowledge that’s advocating for their child’s health.”

The AAP encourages pediatricians to continue working with reluctant parents, to educate and influence them to adhere to the vaccine schedule. Physicians can choose their own strategies to communicate with parents who are still uncertain about vaccines. “I find that given time to build a trusting relationship, we can usually work together to keep children as safe and healthy as possible,” says Dr. Hill.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

Photo of child getting a vaccine via Shutterstock

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83 Percent Believe in Vaccine Safety, But Millennials Still Have Doubts

Monday, February 16th, 2015

vaccine vialsA Pew poll conducted between Feb. 3-5 with over 1,000 U.S. adults revealed that 83 percent believe the MMR vaccine for measles is safe for healthy children, versus 9 percent (with 7 percent uncertain).

But of the 83 percent, confidence in vaccine safety decreased in younger age groups. In the 50+ age group, 90 percent believed in the necessity of vaccines. In the 30-49 age group, the number decreased to 81 percent, and in the 18-29 group, the number decreased further to 77 percent.

Both men and women shared roughly an equal amount of confidence in vaccines (81 percent men; 85 percent women).

Education level also played a factor in affecting an adult’s support of vaccines — the higher the education level, the more adults were likely to say vaccines are safe (92 percent college versus 77 percent high school).

When asked, the reasons younger generations were skeptical about vaccines included: uncertainty over their effectiveness, suspicion with pharmaceutical companies, and confusion over why healthy kids would need vaccines. Surprisingly, few adults raised autism and vaccines as a concern.

The poll comes at a time when the measles outbreak is ongoing, with over 120 cases across 17 states.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

More About Measles

 

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Photo of vaccine vials via Shutterstock

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California May Ban Certain Vaccine Exemptions

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

doctor giving vaccineNow that there are more than 120 confirmed cases of measles—92 within the state of California—two California senators are working toward banning parents’ right to exempt their children from mandatory school vaccinations because of personal beliefs, reports Reuters.

These lawmakers are answering the pleas of many families—including that of Rhett Krawitt’s, a 6-year-old boy unable to receive vaccines for medical reasons—who want to keep their children healthy.

“The high number of unvaccinated students is jeopardizing public health not only in schools but in the broader community,” said state Senator Ben Allen, who is co-sponsoring the legislation with fellow Senator Richard Pan. “We need to take steps to keep our schools safe and our students healthy.”

If this legislation is passed, California will become the 33rd state to revoke parents’ right to not vaccinate their child.

For more related information on vaccines:

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Image: Doctor vaccinating baby via Shutterstock

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Do YOU Need a Measles Booster?

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Woman Getting VaccineAs the recent measles outbreak that began at California’s Disneyland spreads to more than 100 people in a dozen states, you may be wondering about your own immunity, as well as that of your kids. Do you have the protection you need?

Before the 1990s, the measles vaccine was given as one shot, but the recommendation changed to two after an outbreak in 1989, so you may be among those who never received that second dose and are now wondering whether you should get a so-called “booster shot” to protect yourself from this highly contagious respiratory disease.

Fortunately, if you received the measles vaccine in childhood, then you’re well protected as an adult. Even with just a single dose in your system, you’re still 95 percent protected, says Amesh Adalja, M.D., an infectious disease physician and a member of the public health committee at the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). “Immunity does wane a bit as we age, but at this point the recommendation for a measles booster doesn’t extend to the general public,” he explains.

Of course, getting a measles booster won’t hurt—adding a second dose can increase its effectiveness to about 98%—and there are certain high-risk groups who need two doses, including health-care workers, college students, and those who plan to travel where measles is still a serious health problem. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports the IDSA’s recommendation: if you had a single dose but don’t fall into one of these specific groups, you don’t need a second one.

And if you’re wondering about your own parents or grandparents, rest assured: Anyone born before 1957 is likely immune, in part because this population lived through several years of epidemic measles.

Related: The 6 Vaccines All Parents (and Grandparents!) Need

The bottom line? If you’re unsure about your immunity, your doctor can perform a simple blood test to determine whether you have the necessary protective antibodies. But the priority now is not necessarily for adults to receive a booster, but rather to vaccinate all children with the two-dose shot at age 1 and again before kindergarten. —Jennifer Kelly Geddes

Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York-based writer and editor who specializes in parenting, health and child development. She’s a frequent contributor to Parents.com and the mom of two teen girls.

More About Measles

Image: Shutterstock

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

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The Measles Outbreak: 8 Facts You Need to Know

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Measles sign

By Wendy Hunter, M.D.

As measles has spread to 14 states (and more than 100 people) already this year—and it’s only February—news reports only tell part of the story about vaccination and risks of exposure. Here’s what concerned parents need to know.

Measles is hard to diagnose early.

Just like a cold, early symptoms are fever, fatigue and loss of appetite; followed by cough and red, watery eyes. Only after about three days does the classic rash appear on the head and progresses down the body.

Measles is highly contagious.

Infectious measles droplets persist up to two hours after the infected person has left an area. And since the contagious period is long—from four days before a rash until four days after—a single infected person can contact hundreds of people.

Measles can cause serious complications.

Measles can lead to pneumonia or ear infections. Most kids recover easily, but in approximately every 1,000 cases, one person will suffer encephalitis (brain inflammation) that causes permanent brain damage; and two to three people will die.

The vaccine is safe.

The latest study, in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, showed that the vaccine is safe. This goes for both forms of the vaccine available in the U.S.: measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR; and measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (chicken pox), or MMRV. Researchers tracked more than 600,000 1-year-olds over 12 years to confirm the vaccine’s safety.

The vaccine works.

Ninety-five percent of kids will develop immunity when they get their 12-month vaccination. The second dose before kindergarten (age 4-6) gives 99 percent immunity. By contrast, 90 percent of exposed, unvaccinated people will get sick. Immunity can disappear over time and 5 in 100 will lose their immunity by their late teens or adulthood.

The vaccine works even if your child gets it after being exposed to measles.

If your child is exposed and unvaccinated, or hasn’t gotten a booster shot, the vaccine protects when given within 72 hours of exposure.

Very young babies are already protected.

Until 6 months, babies are still protected by the antibodies received in Mom’s womb. But the antibodies will break down, and by 9 months, your baby becomes vulnerable.

Babies should now be vaccinated before international travel.

Because of increased risk, the AAP and CDC now recommends vaccinating 6- to 12-month-olds. However, the regular two-shot series after 12 months is still necessary to ensure long-lasting immunity. And a traveling toddler should get the booster shot early. Learn more about the AAP’s updated vaccine schedule here.

Wendy Hunter, M.D., is a pediatrician in the Emergency Department at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, and the mom of two children. She’s the author of the Baby Science blog, where she explains the reasons behind weird kid behaviors and scary (but normal) baby symptoms.

More About Measles

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Image: Measles sign via Shutterstock

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