Anti-Vaccine Trend Worries North Texas Doctors

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – To vaccinate or not? It’s a contentious difference of opinion around North Texas and the nation that some experts say puts public health at risk.

“Vaccines are a public health concern– they’re not a personal decision,” says Dallas pediatrician Hillary Lewis.

Dr. Lewis is among those worried about the anti-vaccine trend, in part, because it’s spreading. “What you decide and what you do can affect your neighbor. It can affect your grandparents, it can affect everyone around you.”

Experts say since Texas began allowing non-medical exemptions to required vaccines in 2003, tens of thousands of students now head to class without being immunized.

And eventually, they say, even students who have been vaccinated will be less protected. It’s a concept called ‘herd immunity’— if enough people are vaccinated against a disease, those too young, too ill, or for whom the vaccine was not effective, gain protection.

Dr. Lewis’ colleagues at Pediatricians of Dallas feel so strongly about the concept that those who refuse immunizations aren’t treated at the practice.

“We see a lot of new babies,” explains Dr. Lewis. “What we don’t feel is fair, is for our babies to walk through a waiting room with someone who is not protected and could have a potentially contagious disease.”

And although doctors at the practice will turn patients away, what they really want, according to Dr. Lewis, is an opportunity to talk to parents about their concerns.

“I usually say… what makes you worried about vaccines? And typically it’s something they’ve read on Facebook,” says Dr. Lewis. She admits that discredited junk science linking vaccines to autism has left some parents worried.

“When you make it easy for someone to not vaccinate, we lose the opportunity to talk to families and figure out why they’re worried.”

When afforded those opportunities, Dr. Lewis says it is often her status as ‘Mom’ that soothes concerns, faster than science.

“Just talking through it, and knowing that we all come in and we vaccinate our own children … that makes them feel a lot better,” says Dr. Lewis.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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One Comment

  1. Heather Revelis says:

    All 98 confirmed cases in the current mumps outbreak in Arkansas were all vaccinated.

    1. Mike Stevens says:

      No, that is quite incorrect. Out of the 87 cases with known vaccination status, 67 had received MMR vaccine. For the math challenged, like some, that does not mean “all” the cases were vaccinated.

      If the vaccination rates in Arkansas had been very low, the likelihood is that there would have been tens of thousands of cases, not less than 100. One must look at the relative rates in vaxed and unvaxed people. An MMR vaccinated individual still has about a 35 fold LOWER risk of infections like measles than an unvaccinated one. Similar rates apply to diseases like mumps.

  2. Vaccine manufacturers and CDC corruption put the public health at risk. I used to believe in vaccines. After hundreds of pieces of evidence of corruption, doctored results, and outright fraud, I don’t trust any vaccine manufacturer. Corporations are in it for profit. That’s the very definition of a corporation. Customers don’t count; only shareholders. Their motivation is clear. Expecting a snake not to bite you is willful ignorance. Cures exist, but are outlawed, because they threaten profits.

  3. codetalker says:

    Well I wish these new blogs would make up their minds. When school first began in late August-early September Vaccine Exemptions were way down. In fact many blogs across the US were saying the Vaccine exemption trend basically had fallen flat. Now they are saying they’re up so which is it?

    People need to stop and use some critical thinking:
    -If Vaccines work-what does a vaccinated person, child or adult have to worry about. No one has been every to explain scientifically how an UnVaccinated child INFECTS a Vaccinated child if the vaccine works. It doesn’t make sense BUT it’s is one of the best CONS the CDC had come up with in years.
    -As of 2014, according to the CDC the percentage of Unvaccinated children in the US is about 3%. So this goes back to, if the Vaccine works-why would a vaccinated person be concerned.

    1. Mike Stevens says:

      “If Vaccines work-what does a vaccinated person, child or adult have to worry about.”

      It isn’t just the vaccinated – vaccines are not 100% effective, so those who do not respond still need protection, as do all the other vulnerable people who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, immune suppression, allergies, concomitant medications, pregnancy, being too young, and those who haven’t completed the schedules.

      Unvaccinated people are proven to be much more likely to be infected – it is 35x more for measles, and 23x more for pertussis for example, so the unvaccinated represent a far likelier source of disease. Why should the vulnerable run this risk, just because others selfishly decide to leave their kids unvaxed?

  4. codetalker says:

    ‘herd immunity’
    The herd immunity theory was originally coined in 1931-3 by a researcher named AW Hedrich. He had been studying measles patterns in the US 1931-3. The first measles vaccine that went into distribution wasn’t until 1963. He observed that epidemics of the illness only occurred when less than 68% of children had developed a “natural” immunity to it. This was based upon the principle that children build their own immunity after being exposed to “ENDEMIC” or Natural disease. So the herd immunity theory was, in fact, about “natural disease” processes and nothing to do with vaccination. If 68% of the population were allowed to build their own natural defenses, there would be no raging epidemic.

    -Later on, vaccinologists adopted the phrase and increased the figure from 68% to 95% with no scientific justification as to why. Now the number is100% coverage. Again without any scientific justification, studies or data to explain WHY. Essentially, they took Hedrich’s study and manipulated it to promote their vaccination programmes.
    (MONTHLY ESTIMATES OF THE CHILD POPULATION “SUSCEPTIBLE’ TO MEASLES, 1900-1931, BALTIMORE, MD, AW HEDRICH, American Journal of Epidemiology, May 1933 – Oxford University Press). Full Text (PDF)

    Today the magic number is 100% and if there was100% vaccination coverage Herd Immunity would be achieved. Those who are not vaccinated threaten it. But if only 3% of the children in the US are unvaccinated-isn’t that the bulk of children and shouldn’t Herd Immunity have kicked in? However outbreaks of childhood illnesses are happening in highly vaccinated communities and have been for over 10 years. Recently with the mumps:
    Mumps cases in 2016:
    Harvard University: Spring 2016-41 cases. All 41 fully vaccinated.
    Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.Spring 2016. 8 cases all fully vaccinated
    Indiana University: 63
    Purdue: 31
    IUPUI: 5
    Butler University: 24
    All of the above are vaccinated and considered to be immune yet these people were infected. So how many of the infected are fully vaccinate?

    In the news yesterday: UPDATE: Some in suspected mumps outbreak were vaccinated
    “Garfield County Health (OAK) Department has confirmed at least some of the individuals who have or are suspected of having mumps in Garfield County have been vaccinated against the disease: http://www(dot)

    Also take this into consideration:
    Today millions of adults exist without having had no vaccines in decades (Baby Boomers) and millions of teenagers who have not had boosters. That is more than half of the country’s population. There have not been ANY EPIDEMICS in the US as a result of more than half of the population being unvaccinated.

    1. Mike Stevens says:

      You clearly know very little about herd immunity principles. Perhaps this will help:

      The proportion of the population which needs to be immune to provide protection depends upon the infectiousness of the disease. Measles and chickenpox are the most contagious – and around 93% immunity is needed to prevent cases developing into outbreaks or epidemics. For mumps, it is around 80%, for something like influenza it is 50%.
      It is all dependent on the disease R0.

      Adults tend not to have outbreaks of diseases like measles, because they either have natural immunity (those born before 1960) or they still have vaccine immunity. pertussis does affect adults, but the immunity wanes almost as quickly after natural infection as it does after vaccination. But vitally, kids remain well protected by the vaccination programme, and it is kids in whom the disease is such a killer.

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