As a parent, I would rather see my child get a natural illness and contract that the way that illnesses have been contracted for at least 200,000 years that homo sapiens has been around. Because of exemptions, some 28 percent of Ashland’s kids are allowed to attend public school lacking some or all of their required vaccinations. D., Pediatrician, Ashland, OR: So we’re going to need today the D-TAP number 5, your final polio, your second— NARRATOR: Pediatrician Dr. Offit, for example, is seen in some quarters not as a hero for inventing a successful vaccine but as a self-interested entrepreneur whom skeptics have called “Dr. Has it prevented hospitalization and suffering and death? JENNIFER MARGULIS: It’s a mistake that we have a vaccine against rotavirus, the vaccine that Paul Offit helped to develop. of Pennsylvania, 1994-2012: Well, one of the bitter ironies of vaccination is it carries with it the problems of its own success.
Donna Bradshaw-Walters worries that these parents may unwittingly bring back diseases that haven’t been seen for decades. DONNA BRADSHAW-WALTERS: The possibility of an outbreak is real here in Ashland. In the third world, maybe people are dying of rotavirus, but in this country, you have to do back flips to show a death toll of people from rotavirus. NARRATOR: Author and bioethicist Arthur Caplan is an expert on the ethical issues surrounding vaccines.
Since we first reported on the vaccine war in 2010, more parents across America have decided not to fully vaccinate their children. NEWSCASTER: Health officials suspect someone who was out at Disneyland resort in mid-December had the measles, and that’s how the disease spread. NEWSCASTER: This has got to be so frustrating for public health officials. Dir., Science Writing, MIT: Now it’s spread to over 100 infections to different states around the country.
NARRATOR: Public health doctors celebrate vaccines as one of medicine’s shining achievements. D., Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: They’ve increased our lifespan by 30 years. NARRATOR: But this public health miracle has been losing ground. experienced a major measles outbreak, a disease that had been eliminated from this country 15 years ago.
Even though most people used to think of it as a rite of passage in childhood and we all got it, you can do better than that. There’s no more polio in the United States and there’s no more diphtheria in the United States. Namely, there’s a component to the vaccine that they didn’t realize that they were allergic to.
And no one, no child, has contracted wild polio since 1979 in the United States. And then there’s a subset of a very, very, very, very small percentage of those who actually could get a serious reaction.
And from what we’ve seen in other parts of the world, once it’s introduced, it will spread very rapidly and cause a lot of disease. But soon, perhaps within a year, there may be a vaccine. She has used the footage to teach other medics how to recognize these diseases. CYNTHIA CRISTOFANI: I’m old enough to have seen most of the serious life-threatening illnesses that are largely suppressed and some almost eradicated by the modern vaccines. There’s major fluid deficiency in this child’s tissues.
Actually kills over half a million humans annually, most of them elsewhere on the planet.
Modern medicine will do what it can to protect her. NARRATOR: Barely an hour old, Rachel gets her first shot, against hepatitis B. Fourteen of those are diseases that we vaccinate infants and young children for, and two of them are diseases that we vaccinate adolescents.A visit to the Children’s Clinic of La Jolla spread the infection to four others. H., Public Health Officer, San Diego: This entire process resulted in exposures of almost 1,000 individuals, 90 with no proof of immunization, 73 were quarantined, 12 additional actual cases of measles in San Diego.One of these, an infant, flew on a plane to Hawaii, where she was intercepted and quarantined. NARRATOR: Public health officials determined that what allowed measles to enter the community was that kids were not being immunized because their parents were getting around public school immunization rules by using “personal belief exemptions” allowed in states like California.Those spots are actually something probably none of you have ever seen. This patient had one of the commoner potentially lethal complications of chicken pox. This child came as close to dying of chicken pox as you can come without doing it. And he was actually the last patient I ever saw with this disease. NARRATOR: But critics have argued that while some vaccines may be life-saving, the current vaccine schedule delivers just too many vaccines too quickly. What is the risk of injecting something into someone’s arm?And so I encourage you remember that chicken pox also can cause fatalities. I can tell you it was the scourge of pediatrics when I was in training because there was no vaccine. JENNIFER MARGULIS: Why are we giving children so many vaccines? The risk is that a certain proportion of people will get swelling and a little bit of pain, lasting from an hour to a day. A very, very, very small percentage of people will get an allergic reaction.Because it is the most infectious microbe known to humankind, the efforts to contain it, the efforts to track down everyone that the infected person has come in contact with are just incredibly, incredibly expensive.NARRATOR: The CDC tracks outbreaks of infectious diseases around the country from its center in Atlanta.But I hate to see people get hurt, injured, die, have to be quarantined, isolated because of an outbreak that is preventable with a vaccine. The mainstream medical establishment speaks with one voice—vaccines are a public health miracle far too valuable to put at risk. D., Pfizer, Inc.: People haven’t seen these diseases in a while, so people become complacent. And what they wind up doing is putting their children and themselves in considerable risk of a severe disease and infection. This is one of the few places where you can see what vaccine-preventable diseases look like. D., Pediatric Intensivist: She can’t breathe, and that’s horrifying for any patient at any age to discover that your airway has closed and you can’t inhale. Cynthia Cristofani, is a pediatric intensivist who treats children in need of critical care.All they have to do is sign an exemption and their kid is exempt from immunization before they go to school. Emilio Emini has spent his life making vaccines in America’s pharmaceutical companies. Polio, even though people aren’t worried about it because they haven’t seen much of it, is still present in many parts of the world, and it can easily be introduced into a non-vaccinated population. This is a case of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. She decided early in her career to document the rare cases of vaccine-preventable illness that turned up in her Portland, Oregon, ICU.Over the last 15 years, they’ve detected pockets of diseases like whooping cough and measles.The CDC uses forensic techniques to dissect in fine detail how dangerous pathogens can spread.