Vaccine benefit far outweighs risk

To the editor:

The purpose of vaccinations is to create the safest means of controlling illnesses in individuals as well as the general public. A walk through the Hillside Cemetery quickly reveals the graves of hundreds, mostly children and elderly, and the devastating effects of influenza on a population unvaccinated.

Since that time, physicians and scientists have worked to produce safe vaccines to help prevent those deadly epidemics.

The purpose of vaccines is to stimulate immunity so that the individual can fight off or avoid serious diseases. In our world of a variety of antibiotics and antiviral medications, our best defense against disease lies within us.

Experiments are not conducted on children and placebos because it is deemed unethical to expose children to diseases that could permanently disable or kill them. Once vaccines have been studied and are found to be safe and effective, they are implemented.

In addition, the general public has a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in our population, the young, elderly and those immunocompromised individuals at risk of death from minor illness like chickenpox that is often refused.

Vaccine safety is monitored by government and non-government organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Any adverse events are logged and recorded so that safety is continuously monitored.

Vaccines are never given without express and separate consent from a child’s parent/guardian.

Currently, Michigan is dealing with a measles outbreak, unfortunately due to too many unimmunized children, which puts all the population at risk.

Unfortunately, employers have the right to protect their vulnerable populations and require vaccinations, since that is the best way to protect them since medications are not always effective.

As practicing pediatricians with over 100 years of combined experience, my colleagues, Dr. Michael Verive, Dr. Rajanee Sripaipan and I hope to never see the devastation caused by the diseases we so fearfully immunize for, due to the unproven fears of a few in our society who chose to refuse to immunize.

Please listen to reason and immunize your children against disease and illness that should be eliminated in our population and that in the future might be the only defense against resistant organisms.

While no vaccine or other medication is 100% risk-free, the benefits from vaccination far outweigh the minimum risk.

Dr. Colleen Vallad-Hix