California epidemic: Vaccine-deniers seem to be asking for it

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vaccAccording to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), there have been nearly 3,500 cases of pertussis whooping cough reported in the state since January 2014. In the first two weeks of June alone, 800 new cases were reported, and the agency suggests that California is on its way to a new peak the last was in 2010.

Although vaccination against pertussis does not confer lifetime immunity, it is still the best defense against what can be a fatal disease, according to the CDPH. The agency advises that all pregnant women should be inoculated with the Tdap vaccine during the last trimester of pregnancy. This will protect their newborns who can t get the vaccine until they re 6 weeks old. (Tdap also prevents diptheria and tetanus).

Pertussis symptoms vary with age, but symptoms can include rapid coughs, vomiting and exhaustion. In children, symptoms can include a cough and runny nose for a couple of weeks, then a worsening cough that might end in a whooping sound.

Why are we not surprised by this epidemic?? California is one of the approximately 20 states that still permit so-called philosophical exemptions from mandatory children s vaccinations, allowing fearful parents to opt out on a whim. We at ACSH have been urging parents to have their children vaccinated, and physicians to urge their patients to do so, noting that other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles are also on the rise.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava thinks The misguided policies of some authorities to allow so-called philosophical opt-outs for parents of young children should be eliminated. She asks Do we have to have a resurgence of other vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio before fearful parents come to their senses?