There’s no question that vaccines are the best thing to ever happen to American children. Indeed, when only non-drug interventions, such as home healthcare, have been fully implemented, preschoolers have improved health scores in almost every area (except nutrition and obesity).
The cost effectiveness of vaccines is even greater because not only do they ensure better immunity, they prevent much higher levels of disease: Confined confinement deaths among newborns fall to 30 per 100,000 infants in states where home visiting programs are used. Further, vaccines at the time of birth are particularly effective, so far lasting three times longer than the vaccine-historical lifespan of four years and generally at no cost.
The inherent dangers of vaccines are precisely why vaccination preferences should vary from state to state. These shortcomings are underscored in a new study of state vaccine registration requirements by the UC Davis Center for Health Policy Research and the California Nurses Association. Although California offered the flexibility of a do-not-vaccinate list in case of trace amounts of a harmful or unfamiliar vaccine, the study found that 72 percent of that potential have not been tested by the state and likely will not turn up to worry state health providers.
This study’s revelation is especially disturbing since the California legislature was forced to do an about-face on doing away with the do-not-vaccinate list in the face of massive parental opposition to vaccination. Imagine what would happen if parents had such a voice in vaccine regulation!
The new study, entitled “Unneeded Testing, Faulty Evaluations: California’s Can-Do Vaccine Registration Program,” notes that California does not inspect production of vaccines in the same way as Michigan, which requires that drugs be proven safe before being sold. In response, and apparently without testing, in a quirk of California law, children obtain vaccines without being tested for possible adverse reactions.
At a time when the United States is looking to strengthen its vaccination program, it is necessary to not only review vaccination protection but to correct problems that result from a do-not-vaccinate list, including the potential of vague, critical adverse reactions and many underreported diagnoses that affect learning, attention, and behavior.
Many organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the scientific community, support vaccination in California. The newest CDC guidelines emphasize that “should it be done at all, waiting for full testing is a better strategy than enforcing the do-not-vaccinate list.”
What the data do not show is any discernible improvement in child health at risk. Further, since reporting of adverse reactions to vaccines is inaccurate to an average of 0.44 percent, and because the childhood immunization record reaches a maximum of 14 shots by the time a child is four years old, many children have received six or more vaccines.
The evidence to show that vaccinations are causing premature regression as described in this paper should encourage parents to engage in informed debate with our vaccine authorities. As parents, we need to bear the guilt of letting fear guide our vaccination decisions and to not take the word of the healthcare professionals—for anyone. Such concern should not be overridden by emotion, the good feelings we get from having a choice or our sense of security in the protected environment of the doctor’s office.
Parents can learn more about the availability of home healthcare in the Medicaid Section 15 states (the states that administer Medicaid) by visiting wihl.cdc.gov/Insurance/Medicaid/Statistics.aspx or calling (855) 424-4921.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is an assistant professor of medicine and associate dean for clinical research at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.