Stories about: Dr. Ronald Samuels

Debate over vaccination continues

scary grey needle questionAccording to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly all children who get the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (more than 80%) will have no side effects.  Still, despite scientific evidence, there are a growing number of parents who opt not to get their children vaccinated because they fear the vaccinations could be linked to autism.

Last night PBS aired Frontline: the Vaccine War, an in-depth journalistic look at vaccinations, and why some parents choose not to vaccinate their children.

As in most vaccination reports, the idea that there is a correlation between the mumps, measles and rubella vaccination and cases of autism was at the forefront of the discussion. The show has generated a good deal of debate about social responsibility versus parental choice, and is creating a stir on both sides of the vaccine issue.

The Frontline program is similar to a Thrive post from April 14, which looked at two separate outbreaks of measles in North America and the cost they posed to the public-at-large. Children’s Hospital Boston’s Ronald Samuels, MD, MPH discussed the vaccination controversy and his views on the subject.

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Personal choice versus public safety

doctor giving child a shotA recent outbreak of measles in Vancouver, as well as newly released study on a 2008 outbreak in the San Diego area, are raising questions about intentionally unvaccinated children and the potential health threat and costs they could pose to the public.

Despite a lack of scientific evidence linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination to cases of autism, some parents fear vaccinations can lead to the disorder and opt not to have their children vaccinated.

“In general people underestimate the risk of the diseases that vaccines protect against, and overestimate the risks/side effects of the vaccines,” says Ronald Samuels, MD, MPH, assistant in medicine in  General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston.“There are many people who believe that vaccines cause problems that are just not so.”

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