Controversy of Childhood Vaccinations

Childhood vaccinations have become a point of controversy among parents and physicians. Due to a more recent outbreak of measles and other childhood diseases in America, the American Academy of Pediatrics has urged parents to vaccinate their children more than in the past. Speculation about vaccinations was generated after a falsified report by Andrew Wakefield was published claiming there was a connection between the measles vaccine and autism. The paper was been withdrawn and Wakefield has been eliminated from the General Registrar, however the fabricated data still has a massive presence in the decision making process for parents. Because parents have sole decision-making power, physicians can only make recommendations through counseling in order to obtain informed consent.

In order to reverse the negative connotations surrounding childhood vaccinations, physicians and medical professionals must take on the role to educate the parents prior to their decision-making. They must emphasis the purpose of vaccinations, which is to prevent the child from diseases that may cause mortality or major morbidity. It is up to the physician to strongly recommend and urge the parents to approve vaccinations for their children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that in addition to educating the parents, the physicians must call on their ethical responsibility to their children, which means emphasizing the clinical benefit to not only their children but also to the other children that will come in contact with their own child. In conclusion, it is up to medical professionals to remove the negative stigma of vaccines and reinforce the positive benefits to each parent and patient.

J Pediatr. 2016;169(305-309)

4 thoughts on “Controversy of Childhood Vaccinations”

  1. I know that as student pharmacists this issue is one that is close to our hearts. If we can nearly eradicate measles entirely by a vaccination, and now we’re seeing outbreaks again, this, if nothing else, should be a wake-up call for anti-vaxxers. Even if that falsified data had been true, what frustrates me the most is seeing people not agree that the benefits of avoiding polio outweigh any risk of contracting autism. In order to prevent seemingly eradicated illnesses from becoming rampant again in the population, vaccines should definitely be advocated for to remove whatever stigma surrounds them. This sparks the argument in which we discuss whether or not vaccinations should be required in all public schools in the U.S., or if parents should be allowed to put their children in danger such as this, etc.

    1. Even from our limited exposure to patients in the Pittsburgh population, we as student pharmacists can see the lack of adequate vaccinations. In almost every cumulative medication review I have conducted, the patient has not received at least one or more immunizations. When asked why, they answered simply by saying they did not think it was important, or their doctor did not say anything about it. This is especially common with the flu shot; patients claim they don’t want it to make them feel sick the next day, without weighing the possibility they could get the full-fledged flu and be sick for one to two weeks by surpassing the opportunity for vaccination. This lack of correct information becomes the responsibility of health professionals, especially pharmacists. If we constantly correct patients and give them the correct information, they eventually will develop better habits and seek out the necessary vaccinations.

  2. This is definitely a major controversial subject as of recently. Parents seem to be so afraid to vaccinate their children that they do not fully comprehend the risks that come along with not vaccinating. Also, parents don’t realize that getting their children vaccinated not only helps their kid, but also helps the community as well. Overall, vaccinations prevent the spread of sometimes life-threatening diseases, and the benefits outweigh the risks by far. I believe that it is part of our job as student pharmacists, and as pharmacists in the future, to be advocates for immunizations, not only for children, but for the general population as well.

  3. As a student pharmacist, I can understand the importance of immunizations in young children. However, I also know that this has become a topic of discussion in recent years. There are many people who believe that vaccinating their children causes undesirable side effects that can have a lasting impact on the child’s life. I do sympathize with these parents, however, I believe that it is important for children to receive the appropriate vaccinations in order to prevent them from becoming ill with a disease that was totally preventable to begin with. This problem is much larger than just within children, and it is our job as pharmacists to change this.

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