Saturday, February 7, 2015

Vaccination Conversations

Poor Mickey Mouse.  His home used to be "The Happiest Place on Earth" and now no one can discuss Disneyland without mentioning measles and its cross-country spread.  Since the original cases were discovered, more than 100 cases across 14 states have been confirmed.

With the spread of this once eradicated disease, the vaccination debate is in full swing, even creeping in to the nursery during Family Club playgroup.  While no cases have been reported in Wisconsin, measles is extremely contagious, and parents are rightfully concerned.  The mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is given in two doses at approximately 12-months and 4-years of age.  That means that nearly all of the children who enjoy The Family Club are not fully protected.  And we all know that the kiddos are better at sharing germs than they are at sharing the toys we try so hard to keep clean.  That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics notes, "As the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland continues to spread, pediatricians are deeply concerned about the children who have been infected, and those who are at risk because they have not been vaccinated.  The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to make sure their children have received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.  While it is best to get the vaccines as soon as your child reaches the recommended age, it is never too late to get your children caught up so they can receive the vaccine and be fully protected."

Widespread vaccination protects not only those who have received the vaccination, but also those who are unable to.  My friend's daughter, Grace, suffers from juvenile arthritis and is one of thousands who rely on what is known as herd immunity to keep her healthy.  Keeping those around her healthy keeps Grace healthy.  The Guardian explains this phenomenon well and presents a convincing reason (in the form of an outbreak simulation) to follow the CDC guidelines to vaccinate all those who are able.  While I have heard measles referred to as "no big deal", the complications can be very serious.  By following vaccination recommendations established by medical professionals with years of educational research to support their guidelines, measles does not have to be a "big deal" and our Family Club kiddos can continue to share their germs and toys without fear of infection.
For more information about measles and the MMR vaccination, visit The CDC website.



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