Posts Tagged ‘ vaccine safety ’

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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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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Must-Read Now: The AAP Updates Its Vaccine Schedule

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Vaccine calender scheduleThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released an updated vaccine schedule for babies and older kids.

The 2015 recommended childhood and adolescence immunization schedules comes at a time when the AAP is urging parents to vaccinate their kids against measles due to the current outbreak (which has increased to over 70 confirmed cases).

Changes to the vaccination schedule include new columns for:

  • giving babies traveling outside the U.S. a first dose of the MMR vaccine (for measles) between 6 and 11 months
  • giving kids the flu vaccine starting at age 2, with some kids needing double doses between ages 2 and 8
  • indicating double doses are no longer needed for kids ages 9 to 10

Footnotes included on the schedules have also been updated, including one about the meningococcal vaccine (for meningitis), which clarifies proper and safe dosing for high-risk babies.

The MMR vaccine update is important to note, as babies should only get two doses, the first between 12 and 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years. But an exception is now being made for babies between 6 and 11 months who are traveling outside the country; they should be receiving three doses (the first before 12 months, the second between 12 and 15 months, the third about four weeks after the second dose).

For kids older than 12 months traveling outside the country, they should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first one between 12 and 15 months and the second one about four weeks later.

See the complete updates to the AAP vaccine schedules here.

More About Measles

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. 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

Image: Calender with “vaccine” notation via Shutterstock

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Vaccinate Your Kids Against Measles NOW, Says the AAP

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Vaccine

As a result of the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland in California, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a statement to urge parents to vaccinate their kids.

“Vaccines are one of the most important ways parents can protect their children from very real diseases that exist in our world,”  says Errol R. Alden, MD, AAP executive director/CEO. “The measles vaccine is safe and effective.” Just two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles.

Getting the MMR vaccine sooner rather than later — even if you don’t live in California — is important. “The measles virus is one of the most contagious viruses in humans,” says Yvonne Maldonado, MD, vice chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. Measles spread rapidly in communities that have not been vaccinated, and those who are infected can also spread the virus up to four days before symptoms appear. Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red watery eyes.

Fifteen years ago the United States declared that measles was officially eliminated from the country — meaning that quick detection and response to outbreaks, and an effective vaccination program eradicated the highly contagious disease from our country.

But now there are at least 70 confirmed cases of measles that have affected at least six states, including Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, according to USA Today. To put that in perspective—California itself typically sees between four and 60 measles cases in an entire year.

So why are all of these people becoming infected with a disease that is no longer native to the US?

Some experts believe one reason is that an increasing number of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kids because they may still have mistaken fears about childhood vaccines, or they are not afraid of a diseases they have never encountered. Parents are even able to obtain exemption from school immunization requirements based on their personal or religious beliefs. According to the Los Angeles Times “vaccine refusals” have increased from 1.5 percent in 2007 to 3.1 percent in 2013 in California alone.

Because babies cannot receive the MMR vaccine before turning 12 months, they are the most vulnerable and at risk for illness and death. But the more vaccinated a community is, the more it can protect infants as well as those who have not been vaccinated.

Learn more about the MMR vaccine here. And make sure to download our free vaccine schedule for babies/toddlers and for preschoolers/big kids.

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

More About Measles

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

Image: Child being vaccinated via Shutterstock

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