Delaying vaccines is a waste of time and could be dangerous to your children. And no, foreigners are not bringing most measles cases into the U.S.
Experts on measles vaccines say they’re frustrated by the wide array of rumors being fed by websites, organized anti-vaccine groups, and the media. They debunked many of the myths at a recent meeting organized by the Johns Hopkins school of public health.
Here are some of the myths they heard:
• It’s OK to delay vaccines because it lets your children’s immune system mature.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that babies get their first combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 months and a second dose at age 4 to 6, before starting pre-school or kindergarten. Not only is your child vulnerable to measles if you delay this, but older kids might be more likely to have frightening complications from the vaccine.
•Foreigners are bringing measles to the U.S.
Last year, 98 percent were U.S. citizens — 77 percent were unvaccinated people.
• More people die from the vaccine than from measles.
Measles kills more than 140,000 people a year globally, according to the World Health Organization. And WHO estimates that measles vaccines save 1 million lives a year.
• People who have been vaccinated can spread measles.
“Measles live vaccine doesn’t transmit easily at all,” said Dr. Jane Seward of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases. “There is no evidence of any transmission of measles virus from a child to household contacts.”
• Vaccines cause autism.
This one’s been debunked, according to Dr. Neal Halsey, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The Institute of Medicine has investigated and repeatedly said it’s not true. A special federal court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, ruled against three families in 2009 who claimed vaccines caused their children’s autism, saying they had been “misled by physicians who are guilty of gross medical misjudgment.”
It’s simple. Vaccinate your children and protect everyone’s well being.