Palmetto Parent August 2012 : Page 18

“That’s what we use,” Hawn said. “That’s what every pediatrician and every family practice is using. Right now, we are saying we want you to do it on this schedule.” Some parents are foregoing vaccines entirely, while others are only getting some of the recommended vaccines for their children or getting the vaccines on a sched-ule that reduces the number of shots given during any one visit. “They do get so many,” Hawn said. “It’s up to something like 29 shots.” Unfortunately, Hawn said, not adher-ing to the recommended schedule will mean some children will not be adequately protected. “A lot of those parents don’t come back,” he said. “It’s a fine line.” If, for instance, the child doesn’t feel well, that may be reason to alter the sched-ule. “(The mom) might want to separate them into two visits,” he said. While those circumstances would be reasonable, Hawn said, he stressed that parents should keep their children on track for up-to-date vaccinations. Delay-ing vaccines can increase the child’s risk of exposure to disease. “That shouldn’t be the standard of care,” he said. “The misinformation is that vaccines aren’t safe or that vaccines cause autism. That has been de-bunked now. Multiple studies have shown that.” — Dr. Jason Hawn University of South Carolia School of Medicine ‘A scary disease’ The need for vaccines is highlighted by pertussis — better known as whooping cough — outbreaks in the state of Wash-ington. According to the CDC, there have been 2,647 cases of pertussis reported in Washington through June 23, compared to 187 reported cases in 2011 during the same time period. There were 965 cases reported statewide in 2011, compared to 608 reported cases in 2010. In 2010, 9,143 cases of pertussis — including 10 infant deaths — were reported in California, the most since 1947. “Pertussis is a scary disease,” Hawn said. “We had four or five kids die here in Rich-land over the last few years.” Linda Bell, director of clinical services for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, said getting recommended vaccines on time is important. “The recommended immunization schedule is based on very thorough studies that are conducted by a number of professional bodies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Preven-tion,” Bell said. “We often get questions about why we have these as school entry requirements. We’ve learned historically that immunization programs that prevent the spread of diseases are most effective when there are high coverage rates over-all. When they are linked to school entry requirements, we are successful at getting good coverage.” Recurrences of almost forgotten diseases such as pertussis and measles have been seen more regularly, Bell said. She said seeing children struggle with preventable diseases is very difficult. “We have coverage levels that aren’t as high as they need to be to interrupt disease transmission,” she said. Bell urges parents to protect their own children but also to think about other chil-dren, including those who are too young to be immunized or who have medical condi-tions that make them vulnerable. Hawn agreed. “You are protecting other people as well,” Hawn said. “There is herd immunity, but if you hope someone else is protecting you, and you are relying on herd immunity, that’s not wise. Every child needs to be vaccinated.” Hawn said diseases that have been all but forgotten by new parents could indeed threaten children if vaccine rates drop. “These illnesses will start to develop 5834 A Bilingual Education! Full-Day Preschool (3 & 4 year olds) & Afterschool Program (Kindergarten -5th grade) Monday-Friday, 7:30am-5:30pm How can your child prepare to compete in today’s global economy? Spanish/English Language Immersion Programa Preescolar en Ambiente Bilingüe (Inglés/Español) todo el día (Niños 3-4 años) y Después del Colegio (Kínder -grado 5) Lunes-Viernes, 7:30am-5:30pm Co-Founders: Joy Huyck and Luz Giraldo • Secure environment in St. David Lutheran Church • Low Teacher/Child Ratios • Well-Qualified Teachers 132 St Davids Church Rd, W. Columbia, SC 29170 • 803-356-2232 • myamigosbec@yahoo.com • www.myamigosbec.org 16 Palmetto Parent www.palmettoparent.com August 2012

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