If you were seriously sick, you would go to your family doctor or emergency room right? Then why is it, so many people are listening to celebrities about the dangers of childhood immunizations. That's what a vaccine expert from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN wants to know.
Dr. Greg Poland is the Director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. He spoke recently at Avera McKennan's 8th Annual Pediatric Symposium. An opportunity for health care providers who work with children to get updated information about immunizations from the man-in-the-know.
Dr. Greg Poland says, "The most common misconception still revolves around Autism and multiple vaccines. The important thing to say about that, despite the fact the incidence of Autism is rising, there is no scientific evidence that links it with vaccines. There have been at least a dozen really high quality studies done that fail to show any link."
And the consequences of not getting vaccines could be deadly.
Dr. Poland says, "We see this all the time. People think these diseases are benign. Take the flu for instance. Here's one statistic, 1 in 9,000 Americans who are alive right now will be dead from influenza within the next few months and yet there is a simple safe vaccine to prevent it."
The same goes for pertussis or more commonly referred to as whooping cough. Dr. Poland says there are outbreaks of this disease all over the country and here in South Dakota because parents aren't immunizing their babies and they aren't getting their booster shots.
Dr. Poland says, "The problem is that the childhood pertussis vaccine (DTaP) wears off at the age of 9 or 10 so now the recommendation is for a booster shot for adolescents."
Since it's fairly new, it's also recommended that folks our age get the whooping cough booster (Tdap) too. Unlike most diseases, adults are the carriers who pass it to children. We want to pass on our wisdom, not the 100 day cough.
Dr. Poland says Gardasil, the vaccine that protects against Human Papillomavirus, is also not being utilized like it should be. He says since HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer and genital warts it only makes sense to have your daughters immunized against it.