Vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives, and they don’t just protect the individual, they protect our entire society.

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An opportune moment to address one of the greatest fallacies in American medicine was wasted during the recently televised presidential debate. We were dismayed to hear candidates repeat inaccurate information perpetuating myths about vaccines — myths that pose a real threat to public health

Vaccines are safe and effective, and they save lives. They don’t just protect the individual; they protect our entire society. Childhood vaccinations are among the most effective ways to protect kids against serious and preventable illnesses, some of which have no cure or treatment.

Claims like Donald Trump’s — that vaccines are linked to autism or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule — have been disproved by a robust body of medical literature. It is dangerous to public health to suggest otherwise.

Furthermore, there is no “alternative” immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a child at risk of disease for a longer period of time; it does not make vaccinating safer.

Brian Seppi is the former president of the Washington State Medical Association and an internist and medical director at Providence Medical Group in Spokane. Michael Dudas is president of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is chief of pediatrics at Virginia Mason in Seattle.
Brian Seppi is the former president of the Washington State Medical Association and an internist and medical director at Providence Medical Group in Spokane. Michael Dudas is president of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is chief of pediatrics at Virginia Mason in Seattle.

Here are some facts:

• Pertussis is reaching epidemic levels in Washington state. So far in 2015, nearly 1,200 cases have been reported, compared to 321 cases in the same time period in 2014.

• This past year, a measles outbreak sickened more than 100 people across the United States, and our country experienced its first measles-related fatality in 12 years — right here in Washington state.

• Data from 2013-14 show our state’s vaccination rate for kindergarten-age children still remains below the 90 percent federal baseline for preventing outbreaks. Nearly nine out of 10 children with nonmedical exemptions claimed personal or philosophical reasons.

Low vaccination rates not only place the child without the vaccination at risk, but also endanger children who cannot get vaccinations due to medical reasons or those who are too young to get vaccinations.

Studies have consistently demonstrated that vaccines are the best way to protect our children from potentially life-changing illness.”

There is a lot of misinformation about the risks of vaccines, most spread by bogus “research” that has been irrefutably and justifiably discredited. Studies have consistently demonstrated that vaccines are the best way to protect our children from potentially life-changing illness.

We encourage parents with questions to speak to their physician or pediatrician about the vaccines and vaccine schedule, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the largest organization of pediatricians in the country.

Don’t be quick to buy into political rhetoric focused more on getting votes than the facts. The schedule has been vetted by the Institute of Medicine, which agrees it is the most safe, effective schedule, and is the safest, most effective way to protect children from these diseases.