Once again, the debate about vaccinating kids has emerged in the news, this time because the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued its new recommendations for childhood immunizations. The discussion in the New York Times Motherlode blog is important and interesting. KJ Dell’Antonia, the editor and writer of the blog posted the new recommendations, with the query about whether parents will follow the recommendations. She makes the good point that the recommendations come from faceless acronyms of organizations, whereas those who oppose the vaccines publicly are often well known faces.
There are already a lot of comments in response. You can read all of them at:
Here’s the comment I posted: “KJ is certainly correct that acronyms endorsing vaccines and vaccination schedules lack the personal touch and pizzazz of celebrities who condemn vaccines. But it is important for the public to know those acronyms (AAP, IOM, CDC, NFID, AAFP, etc) represent thousands of learned and respected professionals who should be the true faces of the vaccine story. Vaccine policies are not backroom “acronymical” conspiracies by unidentified mad scientists. The members of these organizations, like Dr. Jackson, have committed their lives to the health of children.
We are at a time in history when neonatal mortality is much lower and life expectancy much higher because of immunizations. False associations between vaccines and autism made for tantalizing cover stories on tabloids and even in mainstream magazines, but the refutation of those associations and the proof of the fraud upon which they were based were relegated to back page news.
As an infectious diseases pediatrician for more than 30 years, I have personally witnessed the effects of media hyperbole and celebrity self-aggrandizement on family decision-making regarding vaccines. One starlet’s allegation, or one media-savvy physician’s self-promotional vaccine “warning” requires all of us in the field of kids’ health care to redouble our efforts to present the facts. The facts are this: vaccines are safe and life-saving. Vaccine schedules are safe and established with sound scientific basis.
Now, please, vaccinate your kids.”