As a pediatrician-scientist who develops new vaccines for neglected diseases, I spent most of my career in the Boston-Washington, D.C.…
As a pediatrician-scientist who develops new vaccines for neglected diseases, I spent most of my career in the Boston-Washington, D.C. corridor.
While working in the northeast, I had heard a few things about the anti-vaccine movement. As a vaccine scientist and a father of four, including a daughter diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities, I followed the emergence of doubt about vaccine safety in the general public. Ultimately, in scientific circles, any debate ended when an overwhelming body of scientific evidence demonstrated there was no association between vaccines and autism.
But then, in 201
1, I was relocated to Houston’s Texas Medical Center. I soon learned that, unlike in the Northeast, where the anti-vaccine movement so far seems restricted to small groups, the Texas anti-vaccine movement is aggressive, well-organized and politically engaged.
There are now at least 57,000 Texas schoolchildren are excluded from their vaccines for nonmedical reasons, about a 20-fold rise since 2003. I say “at least” because there are no data on the more than 300,000 homeschooled kids.
I then began to wonder about other parts of the US Together with colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children‘s Hospital, where I work, we did an in-depth study of kindergarten schoolchildren who receive vaccine exemptions across the country. Currently, 18 states allow nonmedical vaccine exemptions for either “conscientious objector” or “philosophical / personal belief” reasons. We were able to obtain information on 14 of those states.
A clear picture emerged: Vaccine exemptions are on the rise in 12 of the states we looked at. Indeed, anti-vaccine activities appear to be more of a western phenomenon, especially in the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon and Washington) and the American Southwest (Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah).
What exactly is going on in the west, where are many parents vaccinated and take their children out of vaccination programs? Onderzoekers zijn nog steeds op de vroege stadia van het begrijpen van de redenen achter de anti-vaccinebeweging. Et par af disse stater, Oklahoma og Texas, host well-organized political action committees that lobby their legislatures and even raise campaign funds for candidates to endorse anti-vaccine positions.
Wat ook meer, sommige studies suggereren dat vaccinale weigering verbonden is met welvaart, en mogelijk met welvaart, is er meer toegang tot de internet. There are now hundreds of anti-vaccine websites on the internet, many of which still claim that vaccines cause autism or that autism is a form of “vaccine injury,” neither of which is true.
Of course, scientists have proven the Safety of vaccines over and over again. As the father of a daughter with autism, I have recently written “Vaccines Did not Cause Rachel’s Autism.” My book details both how and why vaccines can not cause autism based on the scientific literature, as well as the challenges my wife Ann and I face Rachel, som nu er voksen med betydande intellektuella funktionshinder.
Men min nyeste bekymring er de amter i det amerikanske vest, hvor en høj procentdel af børn er optaget ud af vaccinationsprogrammer. Jeg tror at disse områdene er mest utsatte for forfuldelige meslinger eller pertussis udbrudd i de kommende årene. In the past year, Europe has been inundated with measles, including dozens of deaths, due to large declines in vaccine coverage. I’m concerned the U.S. could suffer a similar fate.