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Family Health

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

“C’mon – hit me with your best shot.” When that shot is a vaccination, not everybody is in agreement that it is the best thing for you and your health. After the recent outbreak of Disneyland measles, are you wondering about the pros and cons of vaccinations? Inquiring minds want to know. Should you, or should you not, get that shot?

Measles and Mickey Mouse

When a family comes home from Disneyland, they expect to return with memories, photos and a few souvenirs. They probably do not expect to come home with an itchy rash that could have serious side effects including pneumonia and encephalitis leading to long-term deafness or brain damage. Did you know that in the “olden” days prior to childhood vaccinations, about one in 5,000 cases of measles resulted in death?

Despite being declared officially eradicated from the U.S. in 2000, measles is reappearing. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reports that in 2014 there were 644 cases of measles.

At the time of this writing, the cases which began at Disneyland have spread to 87 people in seven states and Mexico. Five Disneyland characters also contracted measles.

One of the reasons stated for the spread of the disease is that there are geographical pockets, particularly in California, in which fewer children receive childhood vaccinations. The most common childhood vaccinations are to prevent mumps, measles, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio.

Are you on the vaccination fence?

Childhood Vaccination Pros
  • Diseases like rubella (German measles), diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis) no longer kill tens of thousands of infants every year.
  • Although vaccination carries risks, there is a decreased risk to the general public when every child is vaccinated.
  • Childhood vaccinations in the U.S. prevent about 10.5 million illnesses and 33,000 deaths each year.
  • All 50 states require vaccinations, although many states have “op-out” options.
  • If a disease is contracted after vaccination, the symptoms are typically not as severe.

Childhood Vaccination Cons
  • VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) receives about 30,000 reports each year of adverse reactions to vaccines. Most of these reactions include soreness at the injection site, fever of 99.5 °F or higher, fussiness, restlessness and loss of appetite.
  • About 13% of the adverse reactions reported to VAERS (3,900 instances) are classified as serious which means they have resulted in disability, life threatening illness, hospitalization or death.
  • A published paper written in 1998 connected the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism. The paper’s author lost his medical license for having falsified data. Even so, there are more than 5,500 lawsuits claiming that vaccinations caused autism.
So what is the best course of action? It’s up to you – however an informed choice is a good choice. We hope we’ve helped you make a healthy choice.

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