Concerns about children's vaccinations rise in U.S.
In result of a recent outbreak of measles in the United States, the importance and safety of children's vaccinations has become a much debated issue.
In order to attend school, children must have all their current vaccinations, including MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Because of the actions taken to eliminate these deadly diseases, the U.S. has obtained the highest immunization rate at 77 percent of all school-age children having been vaccinated.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control), a prominent proponent for children's vaccinations, reports that since the distribution of the measles vaccine, annual morbidity from the measles has dropped from 530, 271 to 61. Approximately 99 percent of the disease has been eradicated.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services encourages the use of vaccinations because, "It's true that vaccination has enabled us to reduce most vaccine-preventable diseases to very low levels in the United States. However, some of them are still quite prevalent -- even epidemic -- in other parts of the world. Travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the United States, and if we were not protected by vaccinations these diseases could quickly spread throughout the population, causing epidemics here."
Concerns have been raised, though, about the vaccinations having a possible link to autism.
Recent estimates from the CDC state that one in 88 children have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). This number has risen dramatically from 2000, when it was one in 150 children.
The opposition to the vaccination movement has claimed that the rising number of autistic children in America is due to the number of vaccines the children must endure in order to attend school, especially vaccines containing the chemical "thimerosal."
The IOM (Institute of Medicine) responded to this speculation by stating, "the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal--containing vaccines and autism."
The CDC supports the IOM conclusion that thimerosal and autism are not related.