(Alternate title: jerks aren’t always wrong).
Over at Moms Speak Up, Cristina shares her angerat a doctor that doesn’t want to go along with a “modified” vaccine schedule that she made up herself. Over at Enviroblog (which I usually like) they chime in with a “good for you”. While I share the loathing of doctors with a “how dare you question my good sense” attitude, in this case, he sounded much better than most do when questioned about their practices. And secondly, Christina’s wrong. Now, people are wrong all the time, but ini this case, I can’t let it sit in the open on a well-read website without a response.
Regardless, without getting into the weeds, let me tell you why you should get your kids vaccinated and vaccinated according to schedule. Let’s take the issue she brought up about rotavirus as an example. So, rotavirus every year leads to 400,000 doctor visits, > 200,000 emergency room visits, 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations, and 20-60 deaths in kids under 5 (CDC). That, to be techical, is a bad thing. The risk (rare, but a risk) of the old rotavirus vaccine was intussusception, where the bowel telescopes into itself and can be deadly. The new one has no evidence of increased intussusception, but let’s say that all cases of intussusception in the US were caused by the vaccine (a ridiculous thought). There are about 14,000 hospitalizations for intussusception every year. About 80% are treated with a barium or air enema, the other 20% have to be surgically fixed. So, even if you use the ridiculous hypothesis, it still saves lives (not to mention a lot of hospitializations and illness).
From a pragmatic standpoint (where the neddle hits the arm so to speak), vaccines save lives and prevent illness. Even if you read some book and believe everything in there, the risk benefit works out in the vaccines’ favor. As to the schedule, doctors have to have a schedule so 1) they don’t forget so you don’t forget, and 2) so everything is done in a safe manner (i.e. every doctor can’t sit down for each patient and figure out what would be a safe and efficacious alternative schedule. That’s why they use 1 that is safe and efficacious).
PS A facinating part about all this is when the doctor said: “Just because a doctor writes a book doesn’t mean he knows what he is talking about”. Absolutely. Everyone should keep this in mind. Parents who read too many quack books and doctors who think they are a genius. As the quote says, just because you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about (same goes for reading the books). For instance, 80-75% of the time, a child with autism spectrum disorder had parents that thought something was wrong by 15 months. For those same kids, primary peds Drs thought thought something was wrong about 50% of the time. No data on the false positive rates for parents, but it really doesn’t matter since a real screening will settle things; it’s the false negatives you want to drive down in this situation.