The Physicians of the St. Clair County Medical Society strongly support the use of vaccines to control the spread of contagious diseases. In particular, the use of Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine to reduce the cases of chicken pox and shingles is supported by science, surveillance, and expert reviews. Despite a common misconception that chicken pox is a harmless childhood disease, we can attest to the serious complications it can cause and the significant reduction of disease and hospitalizations since the licensure of the vaccine in 1995. It is our sincere desire that it does not return to the days where nearly 4 million people suffered and several thousand were hospitalized annually from this infection. Other complications of chicken pox include bacterial infections of skin lesion (a particular concern with growing antibiotic resistance), pneumonia, central nervous system problems, and even death.
Vaccination is among the most significant public health success stories of all time. Today, vaccine-preventable diseases are at or near record lows. For example, in the pre-vaccine era epidemics of polio occurred with as many as 20,000 paralytic cases annually. Very shortly after a vaccine was introduced there were less than 70 cases reported, and in 1979 we have the last case of paralysis from the wild polio virus in the US. Many people no longer see reminders of the severity and potential life-threatening complications of these diseases, but many of our parents and grandparents remember “iron lungs” and the fear of polio in the summer. And we as physicians remember how difficult it was to take care of these conditions because there usually was no treatment! The SUCCESS of vaccinations has led to increased public attention on possible health risks associated with vaccines, and we are committed to providing accurate information to our patients about this. Vaccines are closely monitored and assessed for any suspected adverse events (true vaccine reactions versus coincidental unrelated events). A higher standard of safety is generally expected of vaccines than of other medical interventions because, in contrast to most pharmaceutical products which are administered to ill persons for curative purposes, vaccines are generally given to a healthy person to prevent disease. As a result, our confidence in the current vaccinations recommended for infants, children, and adults is very high and we fully support the current policies and schedules determined by experts in this area.
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St Clair County Medical Society Physicians
629 N Riverside
St Clair, MI 48079