Doctors: Get informed opinionsPublished 10:04pm Friday, August 3, 2012
The letter to the editor of August 1, 2012, requires a response from those of us who have informed opinions. The letter was filled with misinformation, outright lies and information that is detrimental to the citizens, and particularly to the children, of Covington County. First, quoting You Tube, Dr. Oz and the Internet as reliable sources is laughable. Just because it is on television or the Internet does not make it the truth. In fact most information distributed on private sites is filled with misinformation. For reliable information regarding vaccinations, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website or the WHO website, which tracks worldwide immunizations.
Perhaps the writer does not remember the days when millions of people died of diseases such as polio, small pox, and red measles. When there were millions of babies born with birth defects due to the illness rubella. All of these diseases have been virtually eliminated from our country due to the use of immunizations.
The relationship of vaccines to autism has been studied ad nauseam. There has never been a scientific link between vaccines and any case of autism. In fact, there have probably been more studies of autism and vaccines than any other recent medical issues. Vaccines do not, and have never been shown to, cause autism. The original study linking autism to MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccination was published in Lancet, United Kingdom. This was published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and was found to be fraudulent. Due to this his medical license was taken away. Our immune system is exposed to thousands of antigens everyday from the GI tract, so the concept of overloading the immune system with vaccine antigens and taking vaccine in separate components is baseless.
The claim that there is mercury in vaccines is an outright lie. The form of mercury that used to be in vaccines was ethyl, not methyl mercury which is eliminated and handled differently in the body. However, in spite of lack of evidence, it was largely removed from vaccines. All routine childhood vaccines now contain no mercury.
The claim that SIDS has gone away in Japan is false. The statement that vaccines have been stopped in Japan is an outright lie. Their vaccination rate is comparable to that of the United States. SIDS incidence started to decline (with positioning) at the same time Hepatitis B vaccine was introduced, but without any definite scientific proof. We do not take credit, unlike vaccine opponents who claim various side effects based on individual cases. The reduction of SIDS is related to sleep position, not vaccines.
The fact is that vaccines have been one of the marvels of modern medicine. We have eliminated many illnesses that ravaged our population and caused unnecessary deaths and disabilities. One of the most important things you can do for your child is to have them properly and timely immunized. The misconception that these illnesses we vaccinate against are no longer present in our population, and no longer a threat to our children, is incorrect. Even with the high immunization rate we achieve, these illnesses are present and do occur sporadically, as evidenced by small outbreaks during vaccine shortages in recent years. You can discuss this with any knowledgeable physician and you are going to get the same story from each and every one of them, The fact that there is so much information that is absolutely false, is not only disturbing and troublesome, but also, outright dangerous.
Please talk with your physician and other educated people who are interested in the health and well-being of your children before making any judgment concerning immunization of your children.
Gabrielle Baldwin, M.D.
Bhagwan Bang, M.D.
Charles E. Eldridge, M.D.
Cynthia Taylor, M.S. CRNP