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Friday, December 2, 2011

More Parents Are Opting Out Of Vaccinations - Why?

The Associated Press released an article on November 28, 2011 about an increase in the number of parents who were deciding to opt out rather than receive vaccinations for their children. The report stated that in about 8 states, there are as many as an average of one to two children in every classroom whose parents have decided to check the vaccination exemption box when it's time to register their child for kindergarten.

In about half of all the states in the US, the school systems have seen an increase in the numbers of opting out parents. Some of the parents expressed concerns about the safety of the vaccines. Others expressed the view that so many vaccines ( as many as 20 before school entry) are simply not as necessary as the medical community would like them to believe. Still others simply found it easier to opt out of vaccines rather than go through the process of getting the vaccines.

But are all these vaccines really necessary and what about the safety of them? According to vaers.hhs.gov, which is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System sponsored by the CDC (Centers for Disease and Control), there are about 30,000 adverse reports from vaccinations every year. Most of these are considered mild, ranging from fever to soreness at the vaccination site. Some (13%) are more serious and then other reports include death. That's almost 4000 every year. Of course, the website mentioned states that they are not sure whether these deaths are connected to the vaccination or not.

A couple of statistics that warrant further investigation include the fact that the chickenpox vaccine has been available to the public since 1995. However, 4 million people still get it every year. According to the dhpe.org (Department of Health Promotion and Education) there is a 10-30% chance that you will still get chickenpox even after you've been vaccinated. On the other hand, of these 4 million people that get it every year, about 7000 are hospitalized and about 100 die. Of these 100, about half are adults.

Related to this thought is some interesting information from The Dana Foundation (dana.org). According to their research: "Today the condition most commonly associated with shingles is AIDS, which also weakens a person’s immune response. Shingles can occur any time during the course of AIDS, and sometimes it is the first sign that a person has encountered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. For a healthy person to develop shingles before age 50 does not mean the individual has cancer or AIDS. However, if the individual is at high risk for HIV infection because of drug abuse or sexual practices, doctors will usually recommend an HIV test."

The shingles virus and the chickenpox virus are one in the same (Varicella Zoster). It requires further research, but the immune system obviously plays a huge role in determining whether or not a person will contract chickenpox or shingles. If the world invested as much money in research and products that strengthened the immune system as it does in research and production of vaccines the varicella zoster virus might not be a part of everyone's childhood memories.

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