Parents Not Vaccinating Kids Contributed to Whooping Cough Outbreaks

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California’s worst episode of whooping cough, or pertussis, in 2010, likely spread among unvaccinated children to infect 9,210 youngsters.

At first, the outbreak was blamed on waning immunity to the whooping cough vaccine, but new research published in the journal Pediatrics reports that the high number of children who were intentionally unvaccinated also contributed to the rapid spread of the infection.

In recent years, a small but vocal group of parents have decided to either limit the number of vaccines their children receive, or to not immunize their children at all according to recommended national guidelines. Some are concerned about ‘vaccine load,’ and believe that their infants’ still-developing immune systems can get overwhelmed by multiple shots that they receive during one visit to the pediatrician. Others continue to doubt the safety of the immunizations themselves, worried about a connection between the vaccines and a higher risk of autism. But none of these reasons are supported by solid scientific evidence; recent studies showed that receiving several vaccines on a single day was not associated with a higher risk of autism, and the researcher responsible for raising the alarm about shots and autism was discredited.

MORE: How Safe Are Vaccines?

Parents opting out of vaccinations concerns public health officials since in addition to the pertussis outbreaks, there are hints that measles cases may also be rising due to parental vaccine refusals. While national childhood immunization rates are good overall, at around 90%, Nina Shapiro, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, crystallized the worry over unvaccinated kids in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times :

Private schools vary widely, but some have rates of less than 20%. Yes, that’s right: Parents are willingly paying up to $25,000 a year to schools at which fewer than 1 in 5 kindergartners has been immunized against the pathogens causing such life-threatening illnesses as measlespolio, meningitis and pertussis (more commonly known as whooping cough). In order for a school to be considered truly immunized, from a public health standpoint, its immunization rate needs to be 90% or higher.

The researchers of the Pediatrics study compared the number of intentionally unvaccinated children who entered kindergarten from 2005 to 2010 to the onset of the whooping cough outbreak in 2010. They were able to identify 39 regional clusters of kids with non-medical reasons for being unvaccinated, and two clusters that were significantly related to rapid spread of whooping cough. Children who are intentionally not vaccinated and become infected with diseases like measles or pertussis, can pass the illness on to those who can’t be immunized, such as babies under six months and those with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients.

The authors hope that the results of their study reaffirm the harms that intentionally not immunizing children can bring — not only to the unvaccinated but to those around them as well.

44 comments
MaggieMay
MaggieMay

No side effects?  My darling 22 month year old son, had his MMR., Oral Polio, Hib and DPT on a Friday evening.  He died the  next day, less than 24 hours after the immunizations.  Coincidence?  I think not, but that's what the pharmaceutical company claimed.....I miss my baby Thomas everyday.  I had a second son after this horrible event and guess what...no immunizations, ever.  People, the government and pharmaceutical companies and even the doctors are in this together. It's all about money, not the safety of your child.  Your children are gifts, don't let the government mandate these decisions.  Do your own research.

patzivota
patzivota

I'm all for saving children, but when you look at the corrupt ties between our government and the pharmaceutical industry, it seems it's all about making more money for the latter. Don't be surprised when it becomes illegal not to vaccinate our children.


If we're not drugged, they aren't happy. 

hsiaoi
hsiaoi

The idea of heard immunity assumes two things:  The community that is fully vaccinated is immune to the disease.  The community that is fully vaccinated cannot transmit the disease.  

There have been outbreaks of measles in communities that have been fully vaccinated.  Therefore the first assumption cannot be true.  

The second assumption puts the blame of measles transmission on the unvaccinated population.  There is no unvaccinated population in a fully vaccinated population.  That leads to a second assumption.  There is a transient unvaccinated population that the vaccinated population was exposed to.  But that also assumes that the transient population exposure occurred at a time when the unvaccinated vector was contagious.  After going through the measles illness the unvaccinated vector is no longer contagious.

The immunity given by natural exposure is longer lasting than vaccination immunity. 

I question the idea of heard immunity.  I question whether the outbreaks are really from the unvaccinated population.

radzaaad
radzaaad

So scary. I did what probably no one else in this comments thread did, I actually READ THE SCIENTIFIC PAPER that the article is based on from the Pediatrics Journal. The article was compelling, the study size (9000 children) is a huge sample size, so statistical significance found within such a large sample size is very convincing. Although I don't expect any other people in this comment chain to understand scientific methods and statistical significance, I found the article to be compelling and convincing. The sad thing is, even more people will die because of the anti-vaccine movement than the ones who unfortunately died in this outbreak. "To quote the Pediatric article: >95% of the population must be immune to prevent outbreaks and suppress sustained transmission. Herd immunity must be maintained to reduce risk of disease for those too young to be vaccinated or unable to receive vaccines." In other words, if you don't vaccinate your kid and they contract a disease, your kid can spread it to someone else's baby who is too young to be vaccinated, and you could inadvertently be responsible for killing someone else's baby. That's the problem with the anti-vaccine movement. I wouldn't really care about it if people were only putting their own children's lives at risk. Go ahead and be an idiot, kill your own baby with your stupidity. But they are putting everyone else at risk too. 

truthstreamnews
truthstreamnews

Funny, the New York Times is citing a new study today which proves the new whooping cough vaccines that have been around since the 90s are actually causing kids to be asymptomatic CARRIERS. Also, one of the authors from the study cited above disclosed financial ties to Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline...so...ya know...Time is a ridiculous agenda pusher, as always.

ALMS
ALMS

a good solution would be to avoid the mmrs and tdap vaccines and just take them one at a time. so instead of one doctors visit you have 6 of them. isn't it worth minimizing damaging your kids? an example would to take the whooping cough vaccine on one day and the tetanus shot the week after.

melbel
melbel

If you tell people who have kids with Autism, they will tell you of course they will not admit vaccines cause autism. They don't want the people to stop vaccinating their children. They cannot admit it. It would cause panic. My story is that when my son got his MMR he ran a 104.7 temp, rushed him to the hospital. After that he stopped talking. Same thing with some of the children in my son's classroom. Same story, yet some of them had seizures. Coincedence?  Way more kids get autism, than die from not getting the vaccine. Try living with a 10 year old child that is punching holes in the walls and ripping doors off the hinges, injuring himself and others. No one knows what it is like living like this.We(the people who have children with autism) know the truth. And you people will not know until you have seen it with your own eyes. I would rather my children get the chicken pox than to live like we have to live now for the rest of our lives. Trust me, once it happens to you, you just might change your mind...

livingclean
livingclean

If your children are vaccinated and vaccines provide immunity then the vaccinated have nothing to worry about... right?? Lets talk about some more research other than the one that people say is discredited... maybe google how vaccines mutate genes... (scientists claim autism is caused by mutated genes and therefore cannot be caused by vaccines) goole all of the court cases where vaccines have been ruled the cause of autism. Or... you can sit here and believe an article in time written by someone who has plagiarized so many other articles because she has no real knowledge on vaccines. Keep the unvaccinated inside -- please, do your research. 

halogenreloaded
halogenreloaded

If you don't want to vaccinate your children keep them inside your house. Always. Kids who are not old enough to be vaccinated are at risk of developing more serious complications if they catch Measles or the Whooping Cough. Some kids had died, not because they didn't were vaccinated but because some irresponsible parent didn't vaccinate theirs. Your freedom of doing whatever you want with your kids stops when it threatens the life of mine.

TheRefusers
TheRefusers

Dr. Cherry (UCLA) is THE acknowledged expert in this vaccine.

Why Do Pertussis Vaccines Fail? by James D. Cherry, MD, MSc

Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics
Pediatrics Vol. 129 No. 5 May 1, 2012

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/5/968.long
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/5/968/T1.expansion.html

TABLE 1 Possible Reasons Why DTP, DTaP, and Adolescent- and Adult-Formulated Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Vaccines Fail

1. Overexpectation of efficacy because of case definition.
2. Inflated estimates of efficacy because of observer bias.
3. Other Bordetella sp are the cause of similar cough illnesses.
4. Lack of initial potency.
5. Decay in antibody over time.
6. Incomplete antigen package.
7. Incorrect balance of antigens in the vaccine.
8. Genetic changes in B pertussis.

Science_Mom
Science_Mom

 @TheRefusers What you fail to mention is that she was speaking prematurely and stipulated several times that more detailed epidemiological studies were commencing in Washington State and California.  Apparently at least some of the data for California are in now and it appears as though there was significant clustering of pertussis cases with vaccine exemptors.  This does not contradict a press release but rather sheds some new light on questions that were raised at that press conference.

"A more honest and scientific analysis of pertussis outbreaks should blame vaccine failure, not vaccine exemptors. Why can’t the media and Pediatrics Journal report the truth about pertussis vaccine failure?"

Why is it either or?  Don't you understand that both secondary vaccine failure AND vaccine refusal contribute to pertussis epidemiology?  Just because vaccine refusal is contributing and makes you uncomfortable, doesn't mean it isn't honest reporting. 

gumshoo
gumshoo

And these are the same idiot parents who feed their children Fruit Loops for breakfast I'm sure.  Vaccinate your damn kids so they can be healthy and stop feeding them crap.  Don't be hypocrites!

ObsessedAmerica
ObsessedAmerica

It is not only the lack of vaccinations. American kids are extremely unsanitary because their parents fail to teach them basic politeness, i.e. to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, not to put their hands into their mouths and slobber everything all over, not to put their hands into their noses and touch people in public places right afterwards, etc. This is not only extremely rude, but also spreads germs very easily. Other societies eradicate these disgusting habits strictly as soon as they start but kid-obsessed Americans let their precious snowflakes do whatever they want including spreading germs on other people. Disgusting and disrespectful.

http://kidobsessedamerica.com/why-are-american-kids-so-unsanitary/

TheRefusers
TheRefusers

This so-called study directly contradicts the CDC, which stated in its Press Briefing Transcript on the Washington State Pertussis outbreak dated July 19, 2012: ‘We know there are places around the country where there are large numbers of people who aren’t vaccinated.  However, we don’t think those exemptors are driving this current wave.  We think it is a bad thing that people aren’t getting vaccinated or exempting, but we cannot blame this wave on that phenomenon.‘ Dr. Anne Schuchat Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases CDC.

http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/t0719_pertussis_epidemic.html

A more honest and scientific analysis of pertussis outbreaks should blame vaccine failure, not vaccine exemptors. Why can’t the media and Pediatrics Journal report the truth about pertussis vaccine failure?

Wisconsinmom
Wisconsinmom

I agree more people need to vaccinate but this isn't the whole story. All three of my kids have been vaccinated yet two of them has pertusis in 2011 when there was an outbreak in WI. The pertusis vaccine was changed in the late 1990's and is now only 60-70% effective. So even if you are vaccinated you are not completely protected. Also the vaccine is only effective for 3-10 years so people need boosters. This includes adults, many of whom have not received any sort of booster.

laraza
laraza

@MaggieMay You never bothered to figure out why he died and just assumed it was the immunizations?

salamihawk
salamihawk

@patzivota You're an idiot. Get out of the conspiracy-theory basement and join the real world.

impossible.
impossible.

@radzaaad Did you miss the part where there's a mere 10% increase in incidence in the NME clusters? Oooo. Scary.

Adult boosters are the answer, not browbeating kids. Sure, get 'em immunized. But it's the lousy DTaP fading and not getting booster'd that's the problem, not child exemption rates.

hey_mambo
hey_mambo

i've been thinking about this issue for days now, and how all these mommies can be so dumb.  i've decided that humans tend to be more worried about catastrophic downsides to their actions than to their inactions---even if they can both be equally as causative.  


therefore:

"OMG, if that one thing i read that one time is right, then there's a 1 in a million chance that MMR will make my babies head fall off"


actually outweighs


"Hmm, if I don't vax my kids, there is an incrementally larger chance that she will get the disease and infect other kids as well."  


How bout this?  What if the disease in question was 100% fatal?  I'll bet Mommy Dumbest would vax then. 

audreynlively
audreynlively

Autism is not worse than death. My sister has it, she was born this way. She is a loving kind peaceful member of society. I am sorry you want to blame someone for what happened to your son. But feeling and believing something does not make it truth. And, the unscientific propaganda you spread puts hundred of thousands of babies at risk of death.

livingclean
livingclean

@melbel unfortunately people are too scared to believe the liquid inside that vial is toxic and can damage us. I'm sorry your son was harmed by a vaccine, like too many others I know.

madcapfeline
madcapfeline

@livingclean Viruses mutate genes as well, did you know? See, viruses can't reproduce on their own, so they invade their host's DNA and use that to replicate. Once the virus dies off, it's DNA is still replicating with yours. An estimated 8% of the human genome is viral DNA. Genes mutate on their own as well. What the hell do you think cancer is? As far as court cases go, OJ Simpson was acquitted, and a mother of seven just died in jail because they didn't give her her blood pressure medication. She was in jail because she couldn't pay $2000 truancy fines. Specifically Christian prayer allowed in civic council meetings, and Hobby Lobby is allowed to discriminate against their non-child wanting employees. I'll trust the court system to make informed, correct decisions when they show me that the are actually effing capable of doing so. As far as doing your research, citations =/= plagiarism,and only reading websites of dubious scientific quality just because is confirms your preconceived notions is not research. 

Greyzone
Greyzone

@livingclean Did you read the article? It's putting people TOO young and with compromised immune systems at risk!

impossible.
impossible.

@halogenreloaded Children are actually not the typical carrier. It's adults. When did you last get your boosters? What about your friends?

melbel
melbel

@halogenreloaded Do you know anyone with autism. What was their story? Its great that your kids did not have a reaction to the shots. My two older ones didn't either. Then I had my son. He ran a 104.7 temp after his MMR and had to be rushed to the ER. After that he stopped talking and became very aggressive, to the point of putting holes in the walls and tearing the doors right off the hinges. And not only my son , but some of the boys who go to school with my son have the same story. They also had seizures. The government CAN'T admit it because people would stop getting the vaccines. Who are you to talk about someone else choice when I'm sure the parents who choose not to put those poisons into their children know someone with autism and the hell we have to go thru. Why do you think the rate of autism is rising? Look at how many shots the kids got 20 years ago compared to now.

lovetoski
lovetoski

Only as long as you keep you and yours inside your house whenever you have a cold, runny nose, stomach virus etc.  Your virus that you send your kids to school with can kill kids who are immunocompromised.  And don't cry about having to go to work. Your ability to work stops when it threatens the life of my children.

Science_Mom
Science_Mom

@TheRefusers  

I have read many of Dr. Cherry's publications and I agree with his assessment of the current pertussis vaccines.  But what does that have to do with vaccine refusal also being a contributing factor?

livingclean
livingclean

@ObsessedAmericayour blog is quite humorous, I assume you don't have children of your own, that gives you ZERO amount of credibility, and no right to blog about children no matter how much observation you claim to have under your belt. Also, if you feel so strongly about your opinions why do you have all of your comments turned off and furthermore why are you still in America??

lovetoski
lovetoski

@ObsessedAmerica I completely agree.  Although I will add that it's the working parents or just plain rude parents who send their sick kids to school. Dose them up with Tylenol to get them in the doors of public school (daycare) and infect everyone in their room. Disgusting, rude, and stupid.  Because other parents then do it, and then you all are infecting yourselves.

lacy2430
lacy2430

@ObsessedAmerica Although, I agree with your comment here, I did read your blog and it sounds as if you hate children.  I am wondering what country are you from and if you do hate children.  There are plenty of American parents that raise their children with proper manners an sanitation habits.  My 1 and half year old even covers her mouth when she sneezes.  Please do not take the ignorance of some American parents and lump us all together because I am a parent of 4 and none of our children act this way.  People often comment on how polite and respectful our children are behaving.  

Openminded1
Openminded1

@ObsessedAmerica you ever been to mexico, India, most of Africa, Pakistan, hati ,and hundreds of 3rd world countries, even places in south america, if not you have areal awakening has to the lack of sanitary conditions. And you talk about disgusting, The USA is super clean in comparison. as for disrespectful that I am sure american and british kids top the list.

hey_mambo
hey_mambo

@TheRefusers, 

I just clicked your link and read the entire press briefing, and Dr Schuchat also said the following:  


"Vaccinated children who get pertussis typically have a milder course.  They typically have milder symptoms, a shorter illness and a reduced risk of the severe outcomes like hospitalization.  They are also less infectious in spreading the illness than unvaccinated children."

Seems to be a bit contradictory.  If I were a reporter there, I would have liked to know how she concluded that anti-vaxxers were not to blame if unvaxxed children are known to be more infectious in spreading the disease. 

Either way, from a complete reading of her remarks here, one can hardly say confidently that Dr Schuchat holds the general opinion that unvaxxed children are not a factor in pertussis outbreaks.  

Sperkalator
Sperkalator

@laraza @MaggieMay She will not reply.  Said her peace and gone like the wind.  22 month year old....  I get what she was saying and yet I would like to see if they did not try and get data to support their claim.  My grandchild is alive and well.  Wonder if Maggie got her updates on her shots before the child was born, mothers usually do but a lot of other people like grandparents forget to update their whooping cough.

madcapfeline
madcapfeline

@melbel @halogenreloaded Stop. Just stop. MMR did not give your son autism. Your son had autism and you just didn't notice it until after the vaccine. The only reason there are more cases of autism today than there was twenty years ago is because we stopped using "retarded" as a medical diagnosis. If the word autism had existed then, we would have heard it then. It's not a new disease, it's a new name for an old disease. 

audreynlively
audreynlively

Rate of Autism Rising: Maybe because the spectrum of what we call autism has broadened: previously these people were just thought to be odd, mentally retarded and institutionalized or undiagnosed. Now, through science and study more people are being identified early and helped with early intervention to become more functional and able to cope. The better healthcare and knowledge we have, the better we can diagnose and treat. Correlation vs causation. Perhaps it is you who can't admit that bad things happen. Gene combinations are sometimes cruel to the children we birth.

euripides.the.muse
euripides.the.muse

@livingclean@ObsessedAmerica Since when did not having children make someone unqualified to deliver advice about childrearing?  That is akin to saying unless someone is a politician, he/she is not qualified to have a political opinion.


Ever hear of Dr. Spock?  He had no children, yet millions of parents swear by his advice.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@lacy2430 @ObsessedAmerica I am a clean fanatic and my kids any wife have of 35 years has learned that is the way i am and they embraced it too. My kids are now in there 20"s and keep there homes immaculate  because they were raised that way. It is all on the parents to teach them at a young age. If you are a slob, good chance your kids will be too.

lacy2430
lacy2430

@Openminded1 @ObsessedAmerica 

I have to agree with Obsessed America.  I have seen so many kids with improper manners due to their parental upbringing.  I have not only seen kids cough and not cover their mouths.  I have also, seen parents watch their child walk around at the doctors office with a snotty nose and not wipe it for them ( referring to kids too little to wipe their own noses.). I am sick of my daughter coming home sick because another child has coughed on her or not covered their mouths when coughing.  Since a lot of parents do not want to teach their children proper manners, maybe schools should require an etiquette class.  

madcapfeline
madcapfeline

Duh, chemtrails. We're not vaccinating, so the gub'mint is poisoning us with planes. 

madcapfeline
madcapfeline

After having read my own post, I've decided that Poe's Law is in effect. So, just to be clear, that was pure sarcasm.