Childhood vaccinations

by Mary Rains

Mille Lacs Health System

Having your child vaccinated is an important part of family health care. Immunizations are designed to prevent and protect your child – and others – from developing a serious disease.

There has been controversy surrounding the safety of immunizations over the last few decades.  A now debunked study is still displayed in some search engine results, and it establishes connections between “patterns” of autism and vaccinations. But according to subsequent literature and much larger studies over longer periods of time, the original study that caused such alarm was found to be flawed, and used by non-scientists to support conclusions that have long since been discredited. 

The original study was found to have a small and selective sample size, an uncontrolled design, misrepresented data, and the author of the study was found to have financial interests tied to lawyers for autism lawsuits. In fact, many medical scholars write that the study is likely to go down as one of the most serious frauds in medical history, with untold potential to damage public health worldwide.

A just-released study which was done in Denmark and tracked more than 600,000 children born between 1999 and 2010, found no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism (the story was recently aired on MPR news).

With a third of schools in Minnesota having vaccination rates low enough to compromise herd immunity, this is a problem for public health officials. Because aside from the many nuisance symptoms of measles, mumps and rubella, the more serious complications include: pneumonia, brain damage, encephalitis/meningitis, and death.

Additionally, if a woman gets rubella while she is pregnant, she could have a miscarriage or her baby could be born with serious birth defects.

With the surge in the country of measles, and considering how quickly it spreads, if you’re on the fence about childhood immunizations, talk with the healthcare provider you trust at Mille Lacs Health System for more information.