Scientists Say Americans May Be Over-Vaccinated

Scientists Say Americans May Be Over-Vaccinated
by Barbara Loe Fisher

Confirming what many American mothers have instinctively known for a long time, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday confirmed that Americans may be getting many more doses of vaccines than they need. The researchers aren't pointing out the risks associated with over-vaccination, only suggesting that giving kids lots of booster doses of vaccines like tetanus really doesn't result in any longer lasting protection and is probably a waste of money.

Julie Deardorff, a mother and veteran health correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, reports on this story and also gives some common sense advice to parents to become better informed about the 48 doses of 14 vaccines pediatricians and health officials say children should get before age six.

The study conducted by Oregon Health and Science University researchers urges CDC vaccine policymakers to re-evaluate and adjust timelines for vaccinating and re-vaccinating Americans against infectious diseases. Taking out their microscopes and analyzing 630 blood samples of 45 participants, some several decades old, they measured disease-induced and vaccine-induced antibody responses. They confirmed that recovery from childhood diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox, for example, produced long lasting protection, often lasting a lifetime. They also discovered that vaccine-induced antibody responses may last much longer than previously assumed by health officials.

The results of this small study are important and should be replicated by larger studies so that federal health officials will begin to take seriously the mounting evidence that Americans are getting too many vaccines.


"Doctors have been told the tetanus vaccine, for example, is supposedly effective for a period of 10 years. But based on this study and the work of others, the researchers now believe that once a person has received his or her primary series of vaccinations he or she is are likely to be protected for at least three decades. It's still critical to vaccinate, the researchers say, and overvaccinating the population poses no health or safety concerns – it may just be unnecessary under certain circumstances, according to the study. In fact, switching from a 10-year to a 30-year policy for tetanus shots--something Sweden has done--can save hundreds of millions of dollars on health care. But vaccines can cause adverse effects, which is why there's a Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System in place. (Or, if you find this system too cumbersome, try this link.) Before giving your child shots, ask these questions, suggests the National Vaccine Information Center, a vaccine safety watchdog group that works to prevent vaccine injuries. Is my child sick right now? Has my child had a bad reaction to a vaccination before? Does my child have a personal or family history of: -vaccine reactions, -convulsions or neurological disorders, -severe allergies, -immune system disorders; Do I know how to identify a vaccine reaction? Do I know if my child is at high risk of reacting? Do I know how to report a vaccine reaction? Do I know the vaccine manufacturer's name and lot number? Do I know I have a choice?" - Julie Deardorff, Chicago (November 7, 2007)

1 comment:

BEadHAPPY said...

Have you seen the news today in regards to Prince George's County, MD efforts to get kids vaccinated?

I am ouraged by this.