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Saying No To Vaccines
By Wendy Y. Lawton (Oregon Live.com)
But many families aren't finding faith. They're joining the anti-vaccination
The choice is legal. Under Oregon's exemption rule, religion is defined
Hank Collins, the health director in Jackson County, put it plainly: "That
Jackson County has one of the most persistently high exemption rates in
Public health officials and pediatricians are taking notice. A health
"Vaccines aren't perfect," said Dr. Mary Brown, a Bend pediatrician.
But many parents -- and young doctors -- have never seen polio, measles
They do, however, hear stories about kids who've had fevers, speech
"I'm not ready," said Victoria Johnson, a Medford mother, "to play that
Fear and uncertainty aren't the only reasons Johnson and other parents
So the idea of injecting children with live or dead viruses, often mixed
Take John Schmidt. The Silverton chiropractor has never vaccinated his
"But today they're healthy," he said. "Statistically, I was better off
Distrust grows Slapping themselves with labels ranging from pro-life
The Internet offers plenty of fodder.
Some online information is true. Shots can cause fevers and, in rare
But other postings are not proved. Controlled research studies have not
Yet some possibilities are packaged as certainties.
There's no doubt, for example, that the number of children diagnosed
Or parents have heard of -- or seen -- children falling ill after getting
There is always a chance, said Dr. Paul Cieslak, manager of the Health
"Too many people are making cause-effect associations that can't be
No absolute proof Science, however, is at a disadvantage in the brewing
The Internet, where many safety claims crop up, is quick and cheap.
The research is reassuring, said Dr. Robert Chen, chief of vaccine safety
"We don't use absolutes in science," Chen said. "We can't, because we're
Improvements in vaccine study and surveillance are under way. The
Barbara Loe Fisher, head of the National Vaccine Information Center, a
"For too long, we've focused on a one-size-fits-all approach," Fisher said.
Focus on today Public health officials aren't focusing on the future.
Unvaccinated children weaken what's known as "herd immunity," a
In Oregon, the viral infection gained its foothold in Jackson County.
When outbreaks occur, kids who haven't been immunized are at much
But outbreaks aren't common, said Nancy Church, manager of infection
"Parents need to hear both sides of the issue," she said. "We need to get
That's why the Oregon Partnership to Immunize Children, the pro-shot
At the meetings, and in the coming months, the coalition will distribute
The materials are unabashedly pro-vaccine. But the groups that created
A handful of anti-vaccine advocates will continue their own campaign to
"If you decide to vaccinate, that's your choice," Snee said. "But parents