March 28, 2012

By Dr. Roberta Knorr,  Pediatrician

Today, there are many points of view when it comes to vaccinating children – Community Health Association of Spokane’s newest Pediatrician, Dr. Roberta Knorr, weighs in on the topic.

The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, could not be truer in the pediatric world.  There are so many things now days that parents would never do or let their defenseless child do. You would never put your newborn infant in a car seat without buckling him or her up, or let your toddler play in the bathtub without supervision, allow your 4-year-old to cross the street by themselves, or let your 6-year-old ride a bike without a helmet.  It’s the small things that help keep our children out of harm’s way.

Yet 40% of parents in the U.S. declined or delayed vaccines for their children in 2008. 66% of children remain unvaccinated against influenza annually, despite the fact that influenza causes more than 8% of the fatalities during the flu season.  Children 5 years and under are especially susceptible to serious infections and hospitalizations when left unvaccinated.

There are far more benefits than risks when it comes to vaccinating children. Children who get vaccinated not only prevent serious illness in themselves, but also help prevent the spread of disease to the elderly and other high risk groups.  The average cost of Influenza management and treatment in the U.S. per year is $126.8 BILLION!  The average cost to achieve herd immunity in the U.S.  (getting the majority of patients immunized and protected against serious disease) per year is estimated to be $21 BILLION.  You chose.

Don’t be like Benjamin Franklin who regretted the loss of his 4 year old son to Small Pox because he neglected to vaccinate him.