Jan. 14, 2013
Vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks are making headlines.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, has skyrocketed to a near
50-year high in Texas. In September, a North Texas man infected 21 of his
fellow church members after bringing home measles from a trip abroad. Vaccine
hesitancy has become a breeding ground for these deadly diseases, say Texas
physicians. In the state and across the nation, fewer people are receiving the
Texas physicians say the increase in vaccine hesitancy is
due to a now-rescinded case report by British physician Andrew Wakefield, MD,
in 1998. The report linked the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine to a new
syndrome of autism and bowel disease. Despite discovering the research was
fraudulent, the report has forever altered the dialogue physicians have with
patients about immunizations.
“Data disprove the link the link between autism and
vaccines, but some parents continue to give weight to that claim,” Litjen
(L.J.) Tan, PhD, Immunization Action Coalition chief strategy officer, told Texas
Medicine magazine. “Anyone can pose as an expert and contribute their
own content on antivaccination blogs and forums.”
Physicians on the front lines of disease prevention say
inaccurate information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines has
complicated their efforts to immunize adults and children against deadly
Jason Terk, MD, a Keller pediatrician and member of the
Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise ― ImmunizeSM Advisory
Panel, says he often takes care of children whose parents are vaccine-hesitant.
When this happens, he takes the time to help the parents understand the
importance of immunizations.
“I always tell them I have provided these same vaccines to
my children. I also tell them I could put them in contact with parents who have
lost their child to a vaccine-preventable disease, such as influenza or
whooping cough,” says Dr. Terk. “Once you make it a real and personal issue,
many parents will come around.”
physicians like Dr. Terk know vaccines are safe and effective. They much prefer
using shots to prevent illness than to seeing their patients suffer from
potentially life-threatening diseases that vaccination could have prevented.
Read more about what Texas physicians are doing to stop the
spread of preventable diseases in “The
truth about shots” in TMA’s January issue of Texas Medicine magazine.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation,
representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is
located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the
state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association
Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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