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NJ Health Commish: Vaccinate Your Kids!

Back-to-school time means it's time to get your children up-to-date on their immunizations, writes state Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd.

To the editor:

Immunization is one of the most powerful tools available to protect the health of individuals and our communities. Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common in this country and around the world, including polio, measles, diphtheria, rubella and mumps.

Vaccines eradicated smallpox, one of the most devastating diseases in history. Over the years, vaccines have prevented countless cases of infectious diseases and saved literally millions of lives.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a good time for New Jerseyans of all ages to protect themselves and their communities by catching up on their vaccinations. We never outgrow our need for immunizations. Across the lifespan, from babies to seniors—immunizations reduce disease and save lives.

With the new school year approaching, it’s the perfect time to ask your health care provider which immunizations your child needs in order to be up-to-date for back to school. Vaccines are safe, effective and critically important for young children, who are especially vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases.

Thanks to widespread vaccinations, many diseases are not commonly seen in the U.S and parents are often unaware their children are still at risk for many serious and life-threatening diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases such as varicella (chickenpox), measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria can result in hospitalizations and even premature death.

Recently, New Jersey and the nation have seen increases in the vaccine-preventable disease pertussis known as whooping cough. Pertussis is a very contagious disease that can cause serious illness and even death, especially in infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated.

In 2010, the United States had 25 infants less than one year of age die from pertussis; more than half of infants who contract the disease require hospitalization. Infants and young children need their recommended five shots of DTaP for maximum protection.

Adolescent and adult booster vaccination with Tdap is important for everybody, especially for those who will be around infants. By ensuring that both children and adults are immunized, we can greatly limit the spread of this illness, which can be fatal in young children if not properly treated.

Diseases are often brought into this country by people who get infected abroad and can rapidly spread among susceptible individuals in our schools and communities. For example, an imported disease outbreak occurred from June 2009 through June 2010, when approximately 3,500 cases of mumps were reported in New York City, two upstate New York counties and Ocean County in New Jersey. There were 425 cases reported in Ocean County alone. As part of this outbreak, 41 patients were hospitalized.

The initial patient for this outbreak was an 11-year-old child who returned to the United States from the United Kingdom. The child became ill while attending a summer camp, exposing other campers who then spread the infection within their communities when they returned home.

Vaccine-preventable diseases can have devastating effects on a child’s health. There are far too many stories of parents who chose to space or skip vaccinations and the bad outcomes that resulted. Many of those who survived needed to relearn basic skills, like talking, eating and walking, and required ongoing medical care. It is critical that children and adults get vaccinations in a timely manner.

Most childhood vaccines should be given by age two, with some follow-up doses at ages four to six. Immunizations are important for older children, too. In addition to ensuring childhood vaccines are current, adolescents need tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine, vaccine to protect against meningococcal disease.

College students living in dormitories need meningococcal vaccine. Older adults may need tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis, shingles, or pneumococcal vaccine. All individuals may need other immunizations, too, depending on age, vaccination history, medical conditions, high-risk exposures, or type and location of travel. Check with your health care provider on what vaccinations you may need based on your individual situation.

Vaccines are the safest and most effective tool we have for preventing vaccine-preventable diseases—they protect both the people who receive them and those with whom they come in contact.  The Department of Health encourages all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases.

More information about immunization requirements is available through the NJDOH. Information about vaccines and recommended schedules is available through the CDC.

Mary E. O’Dowd
Commissioner,
New Jersey Department of Health

Gary B August 22, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Hi Michelle, Sanofi Pasteur Inc for DTap as of June 2012 uses 0.3 µg/0.5 mL Mercury and .00012% Thiomersal for children older than 6 (there are ten other vacs as well that contain it) The chem stated is not they only issue. Other flesh tissues and chemicals etc that are put in the various shots and vacs are of concern too. Even more so are the politics that go along with the shots themselves. My simple post is just to educate oneself, explore what you're not being told by the pharm industry :) There are many many topics when it comes to human health and the government summing it all up with a needle is egregious.
Gary B August 22, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Rule number one: ~no snakes in my garden~ Enjoy your healthy happy fulfilling life :) Ciao
Gary B August 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM
*ethylmercury
Gary B August 22, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Well said Dan, I get were you are coming from and respect your position. Just further expanding on my original post; People want to talk about epidemics with Hep B and the Rotavirus etc and at the same time not call obesity, Autism and heart disease epidemics because there is no pill or vaccine. People are not helpless victims as much as our government and media makes us out to be, it's quite the contrary, we as individuals are the most formidable force :) I'm just always trying to get people to have the curiosity and think for themselves!
Michelle Wolfson August 23, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Thank you for that information Gary B. This is one issue that is so heated and controversial, and so deeply personal, that I try to keep far, far away. I have my beliefs on these and other "hot topics" but rarely seek to discuss them on public forums, unless directly asked to do so. I understand that the various camps on this subject are pretty far apart in opinion, and I respect that one has the right to vaccinate or not vaccinate one's children based on the information available to, and the belief system of each family.
Gary B August 23, 2012 at 02:38 AM
No prob Michelle :) Left a note on your board, have a great night (it was saying 'pending approval')
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 09:14 AM
@mtwnres - an illuminating read. Thanks for that.
Bill August 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Matt - You're welcome.
Sal Sorbello August 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM
God bless you Anne
Sal Sorbello August 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Matt is full of it people I remember the cigerette commercials on Tv featuring Medical doctors paid by tobacco companies to tell us about their health bennifits !!!!!!!! What a windfall to big PHARMA TO TREAT ALL TEASE DISEASES, I COULD NEVER BELIEVE THAT THEY MIGHT CAUSE A FEW TO ENCOURAGE PROFIT!!! NOOOO WAY CURRUP PAID OFF GOVERNMENT INSPECTORS WOULD NEVER LOOK THE OTHER WAY!!! I know of a friend who's brothers kid was made int an autistic moron by vaccination. The family broke up under the pain of a beautiful little girl destroyed, the child institutionalized , and my friends brother blew his brains out over the sorrow found in a hotel room!!! we should have a right over what goes into our blood stream and bodies!! www.infowars.com
Dan Reynolds August 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM
You had me up until the infowars reference....
Billy Pilgrim August 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM
This is an amazing comments thread to read. For people that aren't interested in vaccinating, I am wondering what are specific reasons as to why you would choose not to vaccinate? I am asking wholly out of honest curiosity. Full disclosure, I am vaccinated, I would vaccinate my kids, I am not looking to have my mind changed. I didn't think it was this hotly debated, and am interested solely in the reasons one would be against it.
Chris Welch August 23, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Sal lost me right after the cigeratte commercial comment. Losing me here : Big Pharma makes minimal, if any, profit from vaccinations. Going over the edge - referred to a kid he claims to know as an "autistic moron" Dropped into the abyss - Infowars . IE: Conspiracy Kook Central
Chris Welch August 23, 2012 at 01:27 PM
@Anne - where did your read that "the ones getting sick are the vaccinated ones." ?
Dan Reynolds August 23, 2012 at 01:33 PM
It's my understanding that the big fear is damage to the child's heath. So much junk science out there its hard to filter out noise/vs being educated. A lot of people claim that shots "gave" their kids autistic traits. However, what is the case is that the traits often show up at the age when a child is scheduled to receive certain shots. (For example, MMR is given at 15-18 months, and then again at a later date..) Doctors are now trained better to detect autistic traits at younger and younger ages. While there is still no know "cause" of autism - new data comes out every day. Just yesterday a medical journal pointed to older father's as being the cause due to mutated sperm. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/health/fathers-age-is-linked-to-risk-of-autism-and-schizophrenia.html .
Porterincollingswood August 23, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I was surprised to see the comments about this being about big business and money, that's a new one I hadn't seen before. Probably because the faux scientific arguments - and those scientists who championed them - have steadily been discredited.
MBG August 23, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I agree with Michelle, it is such a sensitive subject. I will say that it is not just the fear of autism as there are many other concerns...I've seen a perfectly normal child get vaccines and within 10 hours have one side of his body paralyzed for over 48 hours and the doctors "didn't know why". I've talked to a mother who's baby received 4 different vaccines at once( 1 in each arm, 1 in each leg, which is how they administer these days) and her baby died that night, death identified as "SIDS". There are many stories like this. But just look the list of ingredients in vaccines (just ask your doctor to see the label or look online). Most people read food labels but have no idea what's in vaccines. When my dad was a kid he got 1 vaccine. When i was a kid (70s) I got about 8 vaccines. Now children receive more than 26 vaccines by the time they are 2 when their brain is still forming and many more by the time they go to 1st grade. These mixtures are not tested effectively and parents are left to trust the pharmaceutical companies and doctors who tell them it's fine. And as for the $$ issue I'm sure you'll find pharm companys and doctors make $$$ with the administering of vaccines and all meds. Vaccines may have their place, or they may not, but IMO It's just about parents making the best choices for their children and respecting all parent's choices. Here's a site for vaccine CHOICE for anyone interested in gaining more info http://njvaccinationchoice.org/
Bill August 23, 2012 at 09:26 PM
@ Gary B You forgot to post your rule #2 When someone calls me out on my BS, revert to rule #1 "Other people with knowledge scare me, runaway."
Gary B August 23, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Hi mtwnres! Have a good evening, again :) ...Be sure to stop by for your daily stalking routine tomorrow, I'll be here and I'll even say Hi, again,,,take care, sport :)
Chris Welch August 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM
@MGB curious where you came up with 26 vaccinations before age 2 ? Here is the CDC recommended vaccine schedule. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-6yrs-schedule-pr.pdf It lists 11 Then 10 more between ages 7-18
MBG August 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Chris - This is a link from CHOP (which is very much pro vaccine) http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/too-many-vaccines.pdf. Other sites I've seen have pretty much matched that number.
Chris Welch August 24, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Ok. They are counting all the shots , "children can receive as many as 26 inoculations by 2 years of" There are 14 vaccines ( as noted later in that article)but many have multiple doses (inoculations). So you stating that you had 8 as a child versus 26 today is incorrect. You had many of the same vaccines as kids today so your count would have been more in the range of 12-15. Do you believe these statements from the article to be true ? "Thirty years ago, children received vaccines which protected against seven diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio. The total number of bacterial and viral proteins contained in these vaccines was a little more than 3,000. Today, children receive vaccines that protect against 14 diseases, but the total number of immunological components in these vaccines is only about 150. This dramatic reduction is the result of scientific advances that have allowed for purer, safer vaccines." "Given that infants are colonized with trillions of bacteria, that each bacterium contains between 2,000 and 6,000 immunological components and that infants are infected with numerous viruses, the challenge from the 150 immunological components in vaccines is minuscule compared to what infants manage every day."
Chris Welch August 24, 2012 at 01:51 PM
As for what NJ mandates for kids ( and that's only if they attend public schools) It's 8 vaccines(1 just before 6th grade) with a total of 17 inoculations. http://www.burltwpsch.org/uploads/26/files/Immunization%20Chart.pdf
MBG August 24, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Yes that is with boosters included. I honestly do not want to debate and I respect anyone's choice either way. I do not think vaccines are tested enough to prove safety and the ingredients are nothing I'd ever want to put into my body. Have a great day.
Chris Welch August 24, 2012 at 02:09 PM
No problem. You too.
Michelle Wolfson August 24, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I would venture to guess that wherever your kids go to school, there are probably a slew of children there without vaccines. It does not have to be disclosed. I know there are several unvaccinated children at my kids school. I know this because I happen to know their parents and they have offered this information voluntarily. Unless you homeschool, there's not much you can do about that.
Michelle Wolfson August 24, 2012 at 10:25 PM
As far as the "mandated" vaccines, New Jersey does have mandatory vaccination regulations, however, a child can still attend public without those vaccines if their parent(s) fill out something providing medical or religious exemption. So again, if it concerns you that much, you'd better start homeschooling.
Frank Hamm August 29, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Dan my child just received shots with Thimerosal (What you call "Mercury") in them we come to find out after our baby had a reaction to the shots. We asked if the shots were mercury free and were told yes only to find out when we asked a second time after the reaction the Dr. said it did have mercury in it. Why would this happen if they do not give shots with mercury anymore? Were they old vaccines? Anyway watch out for your kids people and read different studies about vaccines. They don't seem to be everything they are cracked up to be.
Dan Reynolds August 29, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I'm tossing the BS flag on that one. You would own that medical practice (law suit) if they lied to you like that. What were the reactions? Did it turn your child autistic? Cause a fever? A red dot? Every patent is given a fact sheet when you get shots. It's law. You even get them for a flu shot.
Bill August 29, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Frank Hamm is full of baloney.

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