Community Gathers for “Immunize…Why Not?” Event Featuring Child Health Advocate Dr. Peter Hughes

Written by admin, June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012 – Vaccination Rates Directly Linked to Spread of Disease

Approximately 50 community members gathered yesterday to learn and ask questions about the importance of vaccinations at the “Immunize…Why Not?” event organized by Peterborough Public Health featuring Dr. Peter Hughes, local pediatrician and child health advocate.
“For every vaccine developed, disease rates go down. In fact, vaccination has saved more lives in Canada than any other public health intervention,” said Dr. Hughes. “Where vaccination rates decline, diseases come back, as we’ve seen in the United States where the number of measles cases in 2011 quadrupled to 222 due to fewer people getting immunized.”
Dr. Hughes noted how measles cases in the U.S. have started rising again as unvaccinated people catch the disease during their travels, especially to Europe where vaccination rates are lower. This is partially due to the enduring controversy over the vaccine’s safety from a refuted article linking it to autism that appeared in 1998 in the British medical journal The Lancet. Subsequent research around the world using large study cohorts failed to show any link between measles and autism and the original 1998 article was retracted and the author was charged with scientific misconduct.
“Some people believe they don’t have to get vaccinated because everyone around them is already protected. This is called herd immunity. However, with increasing world travel we now live in a global herd so it’s even more important to keep your immunizations up to date.” Dr. Hughes compared vaccination to wearing a seat belt, a similar public safety intervention that was originally met with opposition but is now used by almost everyone because they realize the life-saving benefits far outweigh the very low risks associated with them.

Dr. Hughes also covered vaccine safety, the realities of adverse reactions, and addressed concerns about preservatives used in some vaccines. A number of audience members asked questions following his presentation giving everyone a chance to learn more about current vaccine recommendations and schedules.

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