By Mark Roth, Pittsburg Post-Gazette
23 January 2011
In the face of increasing evidence that families who oppose vaccination are endangering their own children and public health, some doctors and patients are starting to fight back.
One new study says that a fifth of all families are now delaying recommended vaccinations for their children, and in some pockets on the West Coast, 20 to 30 percent of the residents are unvaccinated.
As a result, California is now experiencing its worst whooping cough outbreak in 50 years, with nearly 9,000 people infected and 10 children dead, and Pennsylvania’s cases jumped more than 50 percent last year, to 950.
The continuing resistance to vaccines has produced two new books, both of which come down soundly on the side of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for diseases that once killed thousands of people.
New revelations this month have further discredited British researcher Andrew Wakefield, who triggered many of the vaccine fears with his claim that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism.
And nationally, an increasing number of pediatrics practices are insisting that parents follow the official vaccination schedule.
At Kids Plus Pediatrics in Greenfield, Todd Wolynn and his fellow doctors have a policy that parents must comply with all childhood vaccinations, although they give them a slight amount of leeway on timing.
He said the group decided about three years ago to adopt a standard policy on vaccinations, partly so that parents couldn’t “go shopping” for the physician who would be the most lenient.
While there are some pediatricians who have adopted a “my way or the highway” stance on giving vaccinations on the official federal schedule, Kids Plus will allow parents to space out vaccinations between each standard visit, but by each deadline — at two months, four months and so on — they have to be caught up on their immunizations.