Vaccines Are Safe. Vaccines Are Effective. Vaccines Save Lives.
You may have heard in the news about the possible development – and the possible non-development – of a new vaccine safety commission by the executive branch. Vaccines have been proven to be one of the safest and most effective ways of preventing illness ever developed, and have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands. Their safety is paramount, especially because they are so widely used by healthy children and adults. But the creation of a federal commission on vaccine safety seems unnecessary because we already have a robust system to monitor and detect problems with the use of vaccines. The creation of such a commission would cast doubt on the use of these life-saving treatments and decrease utilization of vaccines, causing significant harm to individuals and the community at large. We stand with our partners in healthcare, public health, and many parents and community members when we say: Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. And vaccines save lives.
We asked Neil Kaneshiro, MD, for his thoughts. He’s been a pediatrician in Washington for more than twenty years, and is currently serving as chair of the Immunization Action Coalition of Washington. Here’s what he had to say:
“As a practicing pediatrician, I have recommended, administered and personally used standard vaccines for over 20 years in thousands of patients and have not seen any reason to hesitate using vaccines when given appropriately according to national guidelines. If you really look at the data, there are far less significant adverse reactions to vaccines than to antibiotics given for ear infections or pneumonia. The diseases prevented through the use of vaccines are not as well-known now because of our preventive effort, but they are real and can return with a vengeance if immunization rates wane. Few people today remember the fear parents had that their healthy children might contract polio and suffer in an iron lung machine. You just don’t see that anymore precisely because of vaccines. Rumors and conspiracy theories are rampant on the web, but the scientific evidence is clear that vaccines are safe and effective and they do save lives. We need to do everything we can to promote increased use of vaccines and not scare people away.”
Promoting trusted sources of information about vaccines is crucial. Read what the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians have to say in response to the recent news on vaccines.