By Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times Health Reporter
At a forum in Shoreline Tuesday on whether to add meningitis to the vaccination schedule for children, more than 100 parents, health-care providers and others interested in the topic considered questions about vaccine safety, effectiveness and whether mandates are advisable. The Centers for Disease Control and its advisers, who are seeking citizen views around the country, will ultimately decide.
Parents don’t want their children to be hurt.
But what poses the greater risk: vaccines, or the diseases they’re made to prevent? Should all children undergo vaccination — and its risks — to prevent a relatively rare, but potentially dangerous disease?
These were among the questions debated Tuesday at a forum in Shoreline on vaccines, the second of four around the nation held by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC will decide whether to add a vaccine for bacterial meningitis to the list of those recommended for infants.
For a full day, more than 100 people wrestled with questions of safety, cost and effectiveness of a vaccine for meningococcal meningitis, one of several types of the disease, which can cause inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
In groups and alone, parents, health providers, grandparents and others who signed up online to take part in the meeting dissected graphs and statistics, listened to CDC vaccine officials and delved into their own experiences and values.
Michael Belkin of Bainbridge Island was there, holding a bundle of reports of vaccine-caused adverse events, his views shaped by the death 13 years ago of his 5-week-old daughter after she got a hepatitis B vaccine.
[Note from SaneVax: One of the problems is that if the CDC does not recommend the menningitis vaccine, it is not likely that health insurance companies are not likely to help cover the cost; if the CDC does recommend the menningitis vaccine, then states will be pressured to mandate the new recommendations. Would it not make more sense to pressure the health insurance companies to help cover the cost of CDC recommended vaccines and allow medical consumers the right to choose which ones are appropriate for them? That would make it much easier for people and their medical professionals to take their own family medical history into consideration and assess the potential risks of all options prior to vaccination, thereby possibly avoiding many of the serious adverse reactions some experience after vaccinations.]