Public health officials say they’re alarmed at the growing number of cases of measles and whooping cough. They blame parents who are now refusing to immunize their kids. And it’s happening mostly in wealthy communities. “Vaccination Refusals are Alarming Health Officials,” CBS News, 9/27/2014

child_vaccinationThe spike in the number of parents in affluent California communities who are deciding not to vaccinate their children is on the rise, and reigniting the debate over vaccinations. In Santa Monica and Malibu, nearly 15 percent of kindergarteners are not immunized. That’s a startling number considering that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says public health is compromised when more than 8 percent of students are not immunized.

Sadly, children in the United States still get vaccine-preventable diseases. As more and more families choose not to vaccinate the resurgence of measles, mumps and whooping cough (pertussis) continues to increase. In 2010, the U.S. had over 21,000 cases of whooping cough reported and 26 deaths, most in children younger than six months.

“If you are unvaccinated and you come in contact with measles, there’s a 90% chance you will get it,” says Jason McDonald, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in TIME magazine earlier this year.

Parents need to understand that vaccinations are only given to children after extensive research has been done to make sure that the benefits out-weigh the risks. All parents want to do what is best for their children to keep them safe. You buy the perfect car seat for your newborn, the best protective gear for your teenage soccer player, sunglasses for your toddler to protect her eyes, and the list goes on. Well, vaccinations should be part of the list, too.

I am the author of four books, and my latest book “When Kids Need Meds” addresses concerns parents might have about medicating their kids. Parents struggle with fear and apprehension when having to treat their children with medications. Many of these are the same concerns that they have when considering vaccinations. What I can say is that it is important for your child and society that your child be vaccinated. Luckily, 90% of students entering Kindergarten in the United States in the 2012 – 2013 school year were vaccinated (check out the report here).

What would happen if we stopped vaccinations? According to the CDC, we could soon find ourselves battling epidemics of diseases we thought we had conquered decades ago. To learn more about the importance of vaccinating visit CDC: Vaccines & Immunizations.

Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.