Breaking down whooping cough
October 21st, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Breaking down whooping cough

Pertussis, or whooping cough, which has claimed its 10th death in California, is caused by bacteria that can lead to severe upper respiratory infections.  Here's what you need to know.

What are the signs?

Whooping cough's symptoms are hard to distinguish from the common cold - runny nose, congestion, sneezing, red, watery eyes, a mild fever and coughing.  The coughs may have a high-pitched "whoop" sound when the sick person is trying to draw in the next breath of air.

But whooping cough might be a misleading name because many people — particularly infants (who have been mainly affected by this outbreak) — don't develop the characteristic whoop.

The cough can last for weeks and children can cough so hard and rapidly that blood vessels can burst and they have difficulty eating, drinking and breathing.

Listen to what whooping cough sounds like

Who's at risk?

Nine of the 10 deaths occurred in babies younger than 8 weeks old, which means they were too young to be vaccinated for this highly contagious bacterial disease, according to the California Department of Public Health. Infants are not supposed to receive the pertussis vaccine until they're at least 2 months old.

10 infants dead in California whooping cough outbreak

What is herd immunity?

A segment of the population (too young, allergic or sensitive to vaccines) have to rely on other people who have been immunized to protect them from spreading the infection.

"We need herd immunity and need the vaccination rates up at a certain level," said Dr. Jason Glanz, a senior scientist and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Research. "It's generally understood if 90 percent is vaccinated, the vulnerable are protected. The children too young to be immunized are particularly vulnerable."

However, some parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. In other cases, previously vaccinated children and adults may have lost their immunity because the vaccine has worn off.

Who isn't getting vaccinated?

That brings up two different issues. Those who make a conscious decision not to get the vaccinations for whatever reasons are unimmunized. Then there are people who are under-immunized, who tend to be in the lower socio-economic group and have received some vaccines.  They typically want health care but may not have access.

"The more people that are unimmunized, you break down your herd immunity and you're more likely to have outbreaks," said Dr. Robert Frenck, professor of pediatrics in the infectious diseases division at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. "The people who are choosing to be unimmunized are getting the benefits of the people who are taking the risks of being vaccinated."

Do children in the U.S. have to get more shots?

What are other factors for the outbreak?

Peaks in whooping cough cases cycle every two to five years. California saw its last peak in 2005, with 3,182 cases, according to state health officials.  That number has nearly doubled this year - California has 5,978 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of the disease.

What should I do?

Get vaccinated if you haven't.Make sure your children are immunized.

Since the whooping cough vaccine does not protect you for life, booster shots are needed. They're recommended for kids around age 11, and for adults around every 10 years.

California epidemiologists estimate 50 percent of the children who have gotten sick were infected by their parents or caregivers.

Anyone coming into contact with newborns need to be vaccinated, to create a "cocooning strategy" where the newborns are protected because the older people around them have been vaccinated and therefore won't pass it on to little babies.

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Lioness

    Perhaps vaccines that prevent life threatening diseases should be required and those that are not so critical (chicken pox, Hep B) should be optional. Whopping cough is starting to kill babies = the vaccine should be required.

    October 22, 2010 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chickenpox is not always benign

      Chickenpox (varicella) is not always an uncomplicated illness. Anyone who worked on a pediatric hospital unit used to routinely see previously healthy children with severely extensive rashes involving the nose, mouth and genitals; pneumonia, encephalitis and menigitis; and severe complications from staph and strep secondary infections. I often thought it would be interesting if Oprah Winfrey featured one family each week whose previously healthy child died from varicella that year, as there used to be 50-100 such deaths each year, and then mentioned that the death was not necessary, but a choice. A similar story can be told of the adult consequences of Hepatitis B infections.

      October 22, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Required? Really? You think people should have NO choice in some matters?

      October 23, 2010 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
    • see bream

      These idiots who think they don't need vaccines and shots for the most illogical or improbable reasons (.00001% chance here) are endangering themselves, their families, and everyone else. Shots are mandatory for people in many institutions like school, the army, government, travel, etc. because there is a high concentration of people and to keep everyone healthy as possible. No, shots don't cause autism, and no, we don't have natural immunity to these diseases that we have vaccines. So stop being stupid and going back to the Dark Ages and putting everybody else in danger you selfish twits.

      October 23, 2010 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
    • SFC Mike

      @ Joe – you're right, people should always have choices. How about this one – if you choose not to be vaccinated against lethal diseases such that you can be a danger to those who don't consent to the danger you impose on them, then fine don't get vaccinated – but also, do not go out in public, ever. Your "choice in some matters" ends the moment you inflict the consequences of your choice on those who do not consent to be so inflicted.

      October 24, 2010 at 00:48 | Report abuse |
    • FedUpRican

      Joe- you need medications

      October 24, 2010 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • FedUpRican

      Joe you need meds

      October 24, 2010 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • Veritas

      Joe, yes REQUIRED people should have absolutely NO choice in the matter. When it comes issues of public health and public safety, the public's right to be protected supercedes your right to stupidity. Therefore vaccinationszer should be mandatory with zero exceptions. If you don't want to get vaccinated or get your children vaccinated, well too freaking bad. Get over it. This really is a no brainer. Getting vaccinated saves more than just your life. It saves the lives of those who could be potentially infected by you if you did not get vaccinated.

      October 24, 2010 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
    • MJZ

      Life-threatening to whom? A child may catch chicken pox and recover just fine. But adults that catch it get very sick.
      There's nothing trivial about any of the hepatitis strains (A, B, C, ..). Hepatitis infection is a risk factor for liver cancer,
      and for loss of liver function.

      October 25, 2010 at 01:22 | Report abuse |
  2. J. David Auner

    Illegal unimmunized immigrants have caused several outbreaks of vaccine preventable illness so far. Pertussis is most likely linked to carriers which in this case can't get treatment or even immunizations for their children because of fear and disinformation driving public policy. The illegal children are not the only ones who will be exposed.
    100% doesn't describe the effectiveness of vaccines. Recent federal policy and the complex storage and administration obstacles have led to providers giving shots which don't work or are given in dangerous ways. Keeping any residents away from public health endangers any citizen whose response to their vaccines was suboptimal.

    October 22, 2010 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D Sarno health care worker

      What vaccines are not working? What dangerous ways are they given? The storage methods are simple, it takes common sense
      and doing your job while following guidlines clearly provided by the CDC.I am curious what the hell you are talking about. The greatest obstacle for vaccinating our population is lack of information and lazy humans(we are all guilty to some extent). I come across MANY people who believe the conspiracy or myth they have read or heard.....its sad.

      October 22, 2010 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
    • SW

      What a ridiculous statement to turn an article about vaccination and lay it at the feet of illegal immigrants. Whooping cough can be carried by anyone....just because you don't get sick doesn't mean you aren't carrying the bacteria on your clothes or body. There are so many factors that come into play in an outbreak like this that trying to summarize all the blame at immigration isn't just terrible logic, it's racist, And I'm white by the way...I just don't feel the need to sit by and let uneducated drivvle lead people in a direction they shouldn't be going.

      October 23, 2010 at 08:22 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You should be looking at all the TOP secret research going on and all the lies our government is telling us or not telling us...after they admitted to having infected all those people in Africa with STD's do you actually believe they would be above doing chemical war on US?

      October 23, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
    • Jim Kale

      Actually Mexico has a better immunization program than the US. This is one reason that child mortality rates in Mexico are so low considering the conditions in some parts.

      With Pertussis, a good percentage of the US population over age 14 are not immune because they have not had recent boosters, and most adults have no immunity. I discovered this the hard way a few years back. I am one of the 0.0001% who cannot have the pertussis vaccination because when I was an infant, it almost killed me.

      A few years back, I was at a large university and, as always, a "cold" was going around. At least I thought it was a cold until I started having massive coughing fits. The initial cold symptoms eventually went away and I felt fine other than sore muscles but every few hours or every other day I would break into these massive uncontrollable coughing fits of more than 50 coughs in a row. By the time I realized I had pertussis, I had probably already infected a large number of people who could have avoided being infected by keeping up on their immunizations. And that would have likely have prevented me from getting it in the first place, as I have no choice but to rely on herd immunity or actual infection.

      October 25, 2010 at 03:16 | Report abuse |
    • Eric Nicolas

      So it's just one more reason to shoot them at the border, eh J. David Auner?

      October 25, 2010 at 05:26 | Report abuse |
  3. MC

    For those of us who do not want to be unknowing carriers of Pertusis, simply make sure that your tetanus shot is current. It now includes the Pertusis vaccine which means there isn't a chance you will be in the infection chain that leads to a serious issue w/a baby.

    October 22, 2010 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      I hate the fact that they sneak in the pertussis vaccine like that. I'm all for vaccines, but I'm allergic to that one. Hopefully if I ever need it I can get a tetanus shot with no hidden additives.

      October 23, 2010 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • MJ

      the pertussis vaccine isn't "hidden" because it's right in the name of the vaccine- TDap (tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis). The TD (tetanus and diptheria) vaccine should still be available and if it's noted in your file that you are allergic to the pertussis vaccine your doctor will know that you can't have the TDap.

      October 24, 2010 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
  4. Fredo

    Look at the package insert (google vaccine insert) and one will see that most vaccines have "no studies to evaluate carcinogenicity, mutagenic potential, or impact on fertility." and "Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted" Why can't we have vaccines with some assurance no short or long term impacts will occur?

    October 22, 2010 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MCR

      They don't conduct studies on the long term effects of vaccines because it would be irresponsible to have a control group of unvaccinated people. The fact that we've had a full generation of vaccinated people and we've been living longer healthier lives without these illnesses (and with no drop in fertility, don't mistake lower birth rate for lower fertility).

      October 24, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • Carla

      There are hundreds of studies done for the last 80 years and they continue to this day. Below are just a handle of links for data I personally researched before getting my booster. When my fourth grandchild arrives in late December, I want to know I've done all I can to provide a healthy and loving environment for this baby. Anything less is inexcusable. The thought of infecting someone I love or someone else's child is incomprehensible when it's so easily avoided.

      If you don't believe me; ask anyone living in the 30's and 40's how they felt about Polio and Dr Salk's vaccination. You're right, not all childhood diseases kill, but this one does and often in infants and the elderly.

      A previous poster commented that she was a parent of an Austistic child regardless of how tough it was, she'd prefer her daily difficulties to mourning a dead child. (although she gave no indication of her opinion why her child was afflicted)

      Wong et al., (1984) The Lancet, 323(8383):921-26. Hepatitis B vaccine
      -The first large field trial for the Salk polio vaccine was a double-blind study with placebo, with 1,8M children ! Google it, easy to find. It was a direct press release from Salk's University
      -Cutts et al, (2005), The Lancet, 365:1139-46. (Pneumococcal)

      They may not directly address issues such as fertility but the final word is that the chances of a bad reaction are so remote you may as well be worried about lightning strikes.and likely won't die and there for have an opportunity to procreate.

      Every vaccine undergoes extensive safety testing before it is even considered for licensure, let alone for general use. Studies on every aspect of the vaccine must be completed – first in the laboratory and then in a small number of people and then in larger numbers of people. When the vaccine has been proven to be both safe and effective, the pharmaceutical company submits an application for licensure to the Food and Drug Administration. All of the data are reviewed and a committee decides if there is indeed enough information to recommend licensure. Consideration is given to the disease to be prevented, the vaccine safety, and the ability of the vaccine to prevent disease. If, and only if, the vaccine is both safe and effective is it licensed.

      But that is not the end of safety testing. In fact, additional studies are started after licensure and the prior studies are continued to look for longer term effects. There are specific studies for each vaccine and there are ongoing databases which are constantly reviewed to determine whether children from eight large managed care organizations who received vaccines have any problems that would suggest there might be an unexpected problem related to that vaccine. An additional six research centers are devoted to study the basis of adverse events. In addition, private and medical school-based researchers throughout the country have individual studies, multicenter studies, and research related to vaccines and the diseases they prevent.

      October 27, 2010 at 00:51 | Report abuse |
  5. Kyle

    I just got over this mess.. 44 yo and took 6 weeks to shed the cough.

    October 22, 2010 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J.S.

      Yep. 37 years old, I got sick last December and coughed continuously for 8 months. I still cough at least once a day. Any idea what it's like to live your life like that - going to work, school, church, and forget about eating out in a restaurant? I sure didn't until this happened.

      I can't (and don't want to) imagine the horror of losing a child to a disease that is so preventable.

      October 23, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
    • cdfk

      My teen son brought the cough back from Costa rica, gave it to me and his sister. Most teens aren't protected and I'd say almost all adults aren't. I'm in month 4 of coughing and gagging on elmers glue like mucuous that' I can't get out of my throat. Kids seem a little better now though. It is a very bad disease. I can see how a baby could die. There were many nights we'd wake up coughing and unable to breathe.

      October 25, 2010 at 08:24 | Report abuse |
  6. chieatfetus

    I would have to agree as an adult your immunity eventually wears off-i was loving it after i got the Tdap a few years back and then after just getting sick not to long ago ended up w/ the same cough in the sample audio found in the article. TOTALLY MISERABLE....i've even vomited too, just like the kid.

    October 22, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. alex

    this is just plain sad, but not surprising, i mean the article, the New World Order agenda keeps pushing their poison on us (or trying to), good thing there is a lot more people awakening and choosing not to inject their bodies with their crap.

    October 23, 2010 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Big Bro

      Yes, you're truly on to something here. It's the New World Order that's trying to control the masses. Watching us through the internet and our TV's, spying on us with black helicopters, requiring us to have driver's licences, social security numbers, etc. They're even reading what I'm typing now. I guess I'll be getting a knock on my front door in a few minutes and then I should expect to be carted off in the middle of the night without a trace sometime soon. Scary!

      October 23, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      You are one of the people this article is addressing. YOU and those like you are why these diseases are able to come back. I'm not saying that vaccines are perfect. But look at anti-biotics: Some can be deadly to people, but we don't pull them off the market. Because for everyone they hurt/kill, a couple thousand more benefit and thrive. I'll take those statistics.

      October 23, 2010 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
    • mindsweeper

      I hope you don't ever catch a disease, however, you could land up being a carrier.

      October 23, 2010 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • Carla

      Fine. You're entitled to your opinion but not to infect someone I love. Find a nice militia group and move to a compound where you and your like-minded associates only have to worry about infecting each other.

      October 27, 2010 at 00:56 | Report abuse |
  8. phoenix3

    Three years ago I was diagnosed with Whooping cough, it started as a cold at Thanksgiving and by New Years I was miserable and finally noticed the whoop at the end of my coughing spells. I didn't finally get rid of the cough until early March and that was the worst and longest four months of my life. According to my doctor the immunizations for whooping cough we had as children wear off as we age and they have only recently added pertussis back into the tetanus shots. I had a tetanus and pneumonia vaccination when I was diagnosed, while the tetanus may hurt for a while, I'd take that over four months of the non-stop and very painful coughing anyday of the week and twice on Sunday. I cannot imagine having to go through that as a baby or young child, so please at least get your children a tetanus shot at the very least.

    October 23, 2010 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. niomi_e

    If we can thank vaccines for the huge decrease in childhood diseases today, then we can just as easily thank vaccines for huge increase in childhood cancer. Considering that is every pro-vaccinater's major argument – "Look at the the statistics alone! Ever since vaccines were introduced, disease has been on the decline." Awesome trade off. I'll take Pertussis over Leukemia for my child any day.

    "Dr. Michael Odent has written a letter in the JAMA (1994) where his figures show a five times higher rate of asthma in pertussis immunised children compared to non-immunised children. He is also quoted in the International Vaccination Newsletter (Sept. 1994): "Immunised children have more ear infections and spend more days in hospital."

    Vaccination is expensive and represents a cost of one billion dollars annually. It therefore benefits the industry; most notably, the multinational manufacturers. One sells the vaccines. The other then provides the arsenal of medications to respond to the numerous complications that follow. Their profits increase while our expenses go through the roof. To the point where we have simply had it up to here and are ready to accept the unacceptable, such as socialised medicine in the United States, for example." –Dr Lanctot MD"

    "If vaccines are so effective in preventing disease why have epidemics occurred around the world following mass vaccination programs? In the Philippines for example, "after ten years of compulsory inoculation against smallpox (25 million shots) over 170,000 got smallpox and 75,000 deaths were recorded between 1911 and 1920" (from the Townsend Letter for Doctors article "Are Vaccines Generally Detrimental to the Human Defence System," Feb/Mar 1994)."

    "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has been reported following administration of DPT. The significance is unclear. 85% of SIDS cases occur in the period 1 through 6 months of age, with the peak incidence at age 2 to 4 months." –From the accompanying insert to Connaught Labs DPT shot."

    ^^ And that's another good point. If we're going to go by statistics here, then we can also blame SIDS on vaccines, considering they're more likely to occur at 2, 4, and 6 months of age.

    October 23, 2010 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mindsweeper

      What do you suggest, not immunizing , survival of the healthiest in our human species? Millions would die of diseases and plagues like they used to centuries ago.

      October 23, 2010 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
    • Abby

      Seriously – if you are going to quote medical journals, at least use articles that have not recently been proven to have faslified their data to get the results that they wanted.

      October 24, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
  10. Miller

    I love how in the comments to the same article you can have pro-vaccination people blaming unvaccinated illegal immigrants and anti-vaccination people blaming the New World Order.

    Seriously, people. Listen to the CDC. They study this stuff. You don't.

    October 23, 2010 at 05:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. SE

    After listening to the whooping cough loop, I can't imagine a parent not vaccinating their children against that disease or any other. Miller is right – for all of our sakes, listen to the CDC.

    October 23, 2010 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Joe

    What it is with these diseases suddenly cropping up when you least expect..what happened to all those retarted adds with school kids in it about Meningitis"THe kissing disease" Did somebody screw up at Plum island off of the cost of NY and now like OMG, NOT PIG FLUE. Quick let's scare everybody and give them a shot...do you think these diseases just spring out of the ground?! Wake up people these are ENGINEERED chemical and Bio warfare...oh...you say how tragic you think this way, well do you believe that ticks ALWAYS had Lyme disease or do you believe for a moment that these things could of been engineered.

    October 23, 2010 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aginghippy

      I think your foil hat is on a bit too tight.

      October 25, 2010 at 08:52 | Report abuse |
    • Carla

      The Influenza of 1918 killed over 3% of the world's population – over 50 million people. Was this engineered as well? Why do we no longer need small pox vaccine's? Why is Polio almost completely obliterated? These diseases killed far more people and are easily duplicated in the lab – why aren't these diseases/afflictions used by our "Government" ? And to what end? What is it that you believe is their intent and why? Do you have a logical explanation for this belief?

      October 27, 2010 at 01:15 | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    I am allergic to the vaccine for whooping cough. I got it as a baby, and it caused me to have seizures for 10 years. Thank God I stopped. I have an uncle that got whooping cough as an adult, and he had seizures randomly for the rest of his life, and as such wasn't allowed to drive.

    Needless to say, I really don't want to get whooping cough. If you have no history of allergy to this vaccine, please get it, and give it to your kids. That goes for any vaccine.

    People who aren't allergic but think they are doing good by avoiding these vaccines really get on my nerves. They are stupid and selfish.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cdfk

      my doctor told me (I have pertussis right now) that the pertussis vacinne has changed over the years. It did indeed have some bad side affects years ago but it has been change and is now very safe.

      October 25, 2010 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
  14. Sara

    My 11 daughter had whooping cough this summer. She had been vaccinated but we were told the vaccine works in about 80% of the time and can only last about 4 years. Its supposed to last 10 years. She was sick all summer long. We had to cancel all our family outings. Every evening she would cough so voilently that she would vomit and her nose would bleed. This went on all June, July and finally quit mid August just before school started. Funny thing for about the first 2-3 weeks the doctors thought she had asthma. She had been all around infecting everyone until the doctor finally tested her. The next day the state health was calling – Where have you been?

    October 23, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Ginny

    I had whooping cough at age 4 and coughed all summer. By the end of the summer my eyes had crossed.
    Prior to this episode I had perfectly formed straight eyes. Dr. said it was from coughing so much and so long.
    So, vaccination is important.. My question is: do I have natural immunity or do i need to be vaccinated. I am 63.

    October 23, 2010 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pediatrician

      Childhood Pertussis infection does not protect you against a second infection later in life. You should talk to your doctor about whether you should get vaccinated.

      October 24, 2010 at 01:21 | Report abuse |
  16. mindsweeper

    Common sense would tell you if everyone were vaccinated a lot of diseases could be irradicated. The risk of taking a vaccination is far less than getting the disease or being a carrier and spreading it. Of course there's going to be a conspiracy theory, we're all justified and responsible in looking into these matters. I don't think it is right to knowingly use people as guinea pigs.There must be something in the law books re: Administering a drug without the patient's or any person's prior knowledge and consent. As a parent we are responsible for our children's well being and need to act accordingly when it comes to immunization.

    October 23, 2010 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Concerned

    The benefits outway the risk! This is an issue that concerns us all and everyone should be vaccinated since these deaths are preventable.

    October 23, 2010 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Audrey

    I had whooping cough as a teenager, many years ago. I was immunized but the vaccine's protection can wear off as you get older. I spent two months just about coughing my lungs out. Coughing so hard I would vomit. How could anyone knowingly expose their baby to going through that kind of ordeal if a simple shot could prevent it?

    October 23, 2010 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. DJay

    What about the dangers of the vaccine on infants? What about the B. Parapertussis that there is no vaccine for? Herd immunity is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of. Why is pertussis only on the rise in highly vaccinated countries, but in countries that dont vaccinate against pertussis, is it on the decline? Why is it considered an epidemic when it spikes every 5 years? What about the more dangerous strain of pertussis the cdc admits has come from over vaccination over the years? What about the reports that people getting vaccinated against pertussis are still coming down with it? Seems pretty irresponsible to blame this or any disease on people not getting vaccinated against this, especially since the latest CDC reports that only .06% of the population has not been vaccinated. Some reports state that children are catching this even after getting 3-5 shots before kindergarten. What about the medical doctors in office all over the country who dont agree with the statements being made by a few medical doctors on several news sites with enormous egos and public officials who are tying to be re elected. Lets get out the torches and run the anti vaccine people and the people who are eductaed and think for themselves and the medical professionals in this country who have a little sense and arent panicking into over vaccinating children and adults and run them all out of town, Dr. Gupta. Once it was SARS, then it was the avain flu, then it was swine flu, and now its pertussis. Next year I am predicitng small pox or measles, or maybe even polio. Funny how the same company is profiting from all of these "epidemics", and I am sure Dr. Gupta has stock in the company.

    October 23, 2010 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. mmi16

    We have met the enemy and it is us!

    October 24, 2010 at 02:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Meghan

    Well heres a thought.... take responsibility as a parent to ensure you are vaccinated and maybe NOT parade the baby all over town for a few weeks! Stay close to home and when you need to run around and do errands perhaps having a trusted sitter over is better than exposing the baby to everyone. My mother stayed home with me for the first 6 weeks and I stayed home with my son for the first 6 weeks as well, we limited where we went and went to families homes and not the mall. It sucks being cooped up but its worth protecting your infant child.

    October 24, 2010 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carla

      It's a very good idea and I agree the safety of your child trumps your personal freedom, but infants even given the vaccine doe not develop full immunity (which is roughly 80% effective) until they are about 6 months of age. Also it is almost impossible to prevent your infant from having contact with "outside" humans for that long. They require check ups at the Dr office, relatives, friends and neighbors drop by to offer congratulation,etc. Many of us simply do not have the luxury of taking 6 weeks off work, much less 6 months.

      October 27, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
  22. Mammaduck7

    Ever heard of "pathogen adaptation"? The CDC says there is evidence that the pertussis pathogen is adapting to the vaccines and becoming resistant. In other words, your beloved vaccines could be responsible for creating a super bug!

    October 24, 2010 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carla

      Like every anti-biotic ever created. Should we stop taking those to kill infections that may kill us?

      October 27, 2010 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
  23. MJ

    4 years ago my doctor recommended that I update my tetanus with the TDap vaccine, even though I still had three years before I had to think of renewing it. Less than a year later my youngest cousin was born several weeks early and I spent a week at my aunt and uncle's house helping with their other 3 children while my uncle was away on business (that couldn't be avoided). I am so happy that my doctor did her job and informed me of the new increased risk of pertussis and that I didn't unknowingly put my infant cousin at risk.

    October 24, 2010 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. American Idiot

    I wonder how many people that think vaccines are a bad idea also think Palin would make a great president....

    October 24, 2010 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Rachael

    Vaccines are a bad idea they are full of dangerous chemicals. They also do NOT work and there never has been and never will be any scientific proof. Go ahead and try and find just ONE double blind study done on vacciones..... too bad so sad there aren't any.........There are plenty of double blind studies for prescription meds but not ONE for vaccines.......Hmmmm me thinks they are pulling a fast one on all the stupid people out there..........

    October 24, 2010 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      YOU are one of the "stupid people"... the reason that there is no double blind controlled study is that it's unethical to have an unvaccinated control group! However, when all you idiots continue not to vaccinate we will soon have that control group... then we can test your theory that vaccines do not work. .. when the children's grave stones multiply.You'll be wrong AND children will die. Congrats.

      October 24, 2010 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
    • cdfk

      why can't they use the people who don't want to be vaccinated as their control group?

      October 25, 2010 at 08:31 | Report abuse |
    • Carla

      Double-blind studies HAVE been performed. It would be foolish now, and completely unethical, to do another one comparing to placebo.
      Wong et al., (1984) The Lancet, 323(8383):921-26. Hepatitis B vaccine
      -The first large field trial for the Salk polio vaccine was a double-blind study with placebo, with 1,8M children ! Google it, easy to find. It was a direct press release from Salk's University
      -Cutts et al, (2005), The Lancet, 365:1139-46. (Pneumococcal)

      Every vaccine undergoes extensive safety testing before it is even considered for licensure, let alone for general use. Studies on every aspect of the vaccine must be completed – first in the laboratory and then in a small number of people and then in larger numbers of people. When the vaccine has been proven to be both safe and effective, the pharmaceutical company submits an application for licensure to the Food and Drug Administration. All of the data are reviewed and a committee decides if there is indeed enough information to recommend licensure. Consideration is given to the disease to be prevented, the vaccine safety, and the ability of the vaccine to prevent disease. If, and only if, the vaccine is both safe and effective is it licensed.

      But that is not the end of safety testing. In fact, additional studies are started after licensure and the prior studies are continued to look for longer term effects. There are specific studies for each vaccine and there are ongoing databases which are constantly reviewed to determine whether children from eight large managed care organizations who received vaccines have any problems that would suggest there might be an unexpected problem related to that vaccine. An additional six research centers are devoted to study the basis of adverse events. In addition, private and medical school-based researchers throughout the country have individual studies, multicenter studies, and research related to vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
      Do unvaccinated people cause a risk to the rest of society? Of course they do. The older generation you describe no longer contains those who died of the now preventable diseases. And yes, you are spreading epidemics – each year there is an epidemic of influenza; there are more cases yearly of influenza in every city and town than the whole worldwide epidemic of SARS. Furthermore, we have been unable to eliminate whooping cough because older people are not protected; they get this cough illness and they spread it to others. Unfortunately, most of the time that coughing adult is not aware of the fact that they have whooping cough; so they spread the disease without knowing.

      The Amish do get vaccinated. Why? Because they have experienced outbreaks of polio and they remember. In every country of the world where immunization rates drop, outbreaks have followed: Japan, Sweden, Great Britain and Ireland to name a few. The recent outbreaks of measles in San Diego, Arizona and Long Island are the result of travelers from Switzerland and Israel. Numerous other measles outbreaks came from India and China. The world is not free of measles, polio, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis A virus, diphtheria, tetanus, mumps, rubella, pertussis, rotavirus, varicella, influenza, human papillomaviruses, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Neisseria meningitidis; however, in New Jersey, we can protect our children from these pathogens.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all believe that immunizations should be given to all children unless there are medical reasons not to do so.

      view the websites of the Academy (www.aap.org and http://www.cispimmunize.org ) and of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov and http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines).

      @cdfk – they could not use individuals requesting no vaccine, they would then know if they were getting the actual vaccine or a placebo – therefore invalidating the "blind" part of the study. It creates a bias in the data.

      October 27, 2010 at 01:36 | Report abuse |
  26. gobnait

    How many of the the anti-vaccine crowd are old enough to remember the polio epidemic and the subsequent mass innoculations?! If you'd been through something like that horror, perhaps you geniuses would think twice before deciding not to immunize your children.

    October 24, 2010 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Rachael

    Polio had already declined by over 75% before a vaccine was made available. And just about every other disease was in a steep decline before vaccines were introduced. Again show me one double study that shows vaccines work. You or anyone ain't got one..............hook, line and sinker..bu ya

    October 24, 2010 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Rachael

    This statement is taken right from the CDC's website...........The last cases of naturally occurring paralytic polio in the United States were in 1979, when an outbreak occurred in several Midwestern states. From 1980 through 1999, there were 152 confirmed cases of paralytic polio cases reported. What this means is the only cases of Polio in the US since 1980 have been CAUSED BY THE VACCINE ITSELF.........although they call it Paralytic Polio.......yeah vaccines are real safe.........

    October 24, 2010 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carla

      No, it means those who refused the vaccine or came to the US from a country not requiring the vaccine carried it back into the states where it took hold in those individuals that did not have immunity.
      And before I get jumped on – I am not blaming immigrants, illegal or otherwise. There are scenarios that create this possibility that have no connection to any political or personal bearing on immigrants.

      October 27, 2010 at 01:42 | Report abuse |
  29. Why so scared?

    If your precious vaccines work so well and are 100% effective and your getting them; why are so scared that others aren't? You shouldn't have a care in the world. But you are scared because you know deep down that they aren't effective and it scares the he'll out of you. Continue to use your ignorant crutch and enjoy your poison for "pandemic diseases" that were once called minor childhood illnesses but 3 or 4 decades ago.

    @MCR – there are no double blind animal testing to include primates, which would be ethical to any scientist. As a matter of fact most if not all FDA approved drugs have to go through those tests before put on the market. Funny how diseases injected into your body never made it that far......I wonder why? Quit living in fear and ignorance and get informed by more than just CNN and Foxnews!!!

    October 25, 2010 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. John K

    I'm going under the assumption that all Californians are unvaccinated disease transmitters. Anyone who has recently lived in or spent time in California will not spend time around me or my family, especially if newborn infants are involved.

    October 25, 2010 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carla

      Although a good precaution, it is not limited to CA. I live in the Kansas City Mo metro area and spoke with my Dr this week (before I got my booster/grandbaby due in Dec) and he said in his practice alone and it's large with maybe 50 Physicians; had more than a handful of cases. So far mostly elderly and a couple of non-immunized adolescents and some infants, so far there had been no deaths with the cases he was familiar. He recommended I get the booster since I babysit a lot but when we discussed other adult family members (he knows them all) many he knew they would have no contact or certainly no "close enough" contact to warrant the booster since they did not meet the additional criteria. Such as they refuse to hold a baby that tiny and would prefer to drive by the house and throw the gift in the front yard. LOL. Honestly, that was an actual suggestion a few years back from my Uncle.

      October 27, 2010 at 01:53 | Report abuse |
  31. Jeremy

    I am amused at the sheep mentality of "pro vaccination" proponents. You all seem to be so adament about a non-vaccinated individual endangering the rest of the community. If the vaccinations you have pledged allegiance to are so effective, then why are you worried about someone that isn't vaccinated? You must live in a happy world where Big Pharma doesn't go to bed with the a lot of the politicians responsible for health legislation in this country. That is not conspiracy, it's human nature. It is not as black and white as you think. If you at least point to the pros and cons on both sides, we may engage in intelligent discourse, but the moment someone disregards valid points on both sides is the moment I call you indoctrinated sheeple.

    November 18, 2010 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
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