In the midst of the reported measles outbreak stemming from California, the White House has addressed concerns and confusions about vaccines, saying that the science on vaccines “is really clear.”
Josh Earnest, spokesman for President Barack Obama, said Friday that although the science on vaccines is clear, decisions on whether or not to vaccinate a child is a decision left up to the child’s parents. When asked if President Obama supports parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, Earnest declined to answer definitively.
“I’m not going stand up here and dispense medical advice. But I am going to suggest that the president’s view is that people should evaluate this for themselves, with a bias toward good science and toward the advice of our public health professionals, who are trained to offer us exactly this kind of advice.”
According to Parents magazine, “a small but growing number of parents are questioning the need for, and benefits of, immunization. Groups like the National Vaccine Information Center, a grassroots parents’ organization that has publicized the possible risks of vaccines, are a source of increasing concern to public-health experts, since unimmunized kids can endanger a whole community.”
Some parents continue to believe research that has been proven to be fraudulent about the supposed link between autism and vaccinations. Other parents who choose to forgo vaccines for their children list the ingredients in the vaccines as their concerns.
Other oft-reported concerns for parents who decide not to vaccinate include concerns over side effects, a belief that some of the diseases vaccines prevent are either not very serious or so rare as to not be of concern, that not all vaccines work, and a belief that vaccines are being pushed by doctors and pharmaceutical companies for the purpose of profits.
But doctors and scientists say that the diseases that most children are vaccinated against can still make a comeback, as evidenced by the outbreak of measles in California, and that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, commonly known as the MMR, is 97 percent effective in preventing measles. Doctors and scientists also stress the fact that many of these diseases are not minor, but can, in fact, be fatal, and that vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect a child against that. Scientists, doctors, and health professionals overwhelmingly support the science behind vaccinations.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the U.S. has the safest and most effective vaccines in history, and that serious side effects from vaccines are very rare, stating further that “nearly all children can be safely vaccinated.” Those children who have weakened immune systems or other health conditions, such as epilepsy, may not be able to safely receive vaccines, and those particular cases should be discussed with the child’s doctor.
Click here to read about what one dad, whose child is one of those who cannot be safely vaccinated, is trying to do in order to protect his son’s health.
What do you think? Do you vaccinate your child? Or do you believe that the science is less clear than what the White House states?
[Image via Huffington Post]