Thursday, November 15, 2007
Medical Reports: Skipping Shots
So what should a parent do? Many say they're just too scared because of stories like these and other reports of a suspected link to autism. That's why so many are skipping the shots all together and, as Seven's Lynn Martinez tells us, that has doctors very worried.
WSVN -- April Renee: "She was born June 3rd, 1995 perfect 8 pounds 9 ounces."
April Renee called her daughter Casi her angel.
April Renee: "I walked into her room every morning singing, 'You are my sunshine my only sunshine.' She was my life."
Casi was developing normally saying "Mama" and "Dada," but then her mom noticed something wasn't right. She says the change happened right after her second round of vaccinations.
April Renee: "At 15 months she wasn't going from a lying to a sitting position. We knew something was wrong with her."
Casi never spoke again. She was labeled autistic. At the age of four, she developed bacterial meningitis, which eventually led to her death. Her mother blames the vaccines for poisoning her system.
April Renee: "We all have the right to know what we're injecting into our newborn babies."
Lynn Martinez: "Vaccines have been at the center of controversy for years. Many parents believe that a mercury-based preservative called thermerisol, now banned from the market, caused neurological problems in children, but a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control found no link between vaccines and autism."
Dr. Anne Schuchat: "We don't know all that we want to know about the safety of vaccines. However, the issue of autism has really been looked at extensively, and there's no association between vaccines we're giving out and autism."
Yet, some parents are not convinced. Craig Kaler decided not to vaccinate his 11-month-old daughter Chloe.
Craig Kaler: "We've actually weighed the benefit versus risk, and the potential side effects from the vaccines could damage her for life."
And he's not alone, there's a growing trend nationwide among parents not to vaccinate. In Florida, you can file a religious or medical exemption, and your children will still be allowed in schools even though they're not vaccinated.
According to Miami-Dade County Public School records, nearly 3,000 students were granted exemptions for the 2007 school year. That number has nearly doubled since the year 2000.
In Broward County, the number of students granted exemptions this year: 1686. Pediatrician Linda Colon-Adames says that's a sign more parents are speaking up and questioning the mandatory vaccines. She says some parents ask her to space out the shots instead of giving them all at once, fearing it may be too much on such a fragile new system.
Dr. Linda Colon-Adames: "You're talking about seven vaccines on a brand new immune system, brand new neurological system, brand new baby, and maybe we need to reconsider how we're doing things."
But pediatrician Manuel Pedroso says he advises his patients to follow the vaccination guidelines.
Dr. Manuel Pedroso: "We need to balance the minor side effects you can get from vaccines in comparison with the effects of having the illness which can be life-long."
But, for April, there are still too many questions. That's why she started an organization called Educate Before You Vaccinate. She says she wants to help parents make informed decisions about vaccinations.
April Renee: "For everyone to learn from my mistakes and educate before they vaccinate."
Lynn Martinez: "Doctors are concerned about potential outbreaks if more children are attending school without their vaccinations. Even children who received their shots could be at risk because no vaccine prevents disease 100 percent.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Dr. Linda Colon-Adames
4841 SW 148th Avenue
Davie, FL 33330
Dr. Manuel Pedroso
115 South 17th Avenue
Hollywood, FL 33020
Educate Before You Vaccinate