Cleveland is the center of the sports world this week. With LeBron James returning to the Cavaliers, and Johnny Manziel joining the Browns, everyone is talking up Cleveland. Who knew? In this short post, we are featuring a physician from the Cleveland Clinic, and his warnings about the consequences now from poor guidance on vaccinations over the last ten years.

Ten years ago a small number of parents in this country started moving away from vaccines under the mistaken belief that the vaccines may prompt their child to acquire autism. They had reason to think there might be a connection due to a published finding of such a connection by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in a peer-reviewed medical journal. From a small group of parents, this mistaken idea was transmitted through the viral power of the internet, and through the power of celebrity, when actress Jenny McCarthy of “The View” took up the cause, propelling herself, and this mistaken idea into the mainstream of American life.

Now, Dr. Wakefield, the medical doctor who published the original scientific article linking vaccines and autism, has come clean and admitted that he made up the data in his study, and that the report of any connection was always false. The medical journal withdrew his article and he subsequently lost his medical license. There is no scientific evidence to support a connection between childhood vaccines and autism.

This May the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the incidence of measles in the U.S. is higher now than at any time since the disease was eliminated in 2000. The CDC also reports nearly 10,000 cases of whooping cough this year. They believe this is due to the trend away from vaccination, where as many as 10% of children are not vaccinated because of parents misguided fears fueled by the doctor who made up his data, and the actress who propelled her career. Don’t be afraid! Don’t put your child and others in danger!

Cleveland Clinic physician Eric Kodish calls those parents who withhold vaccination from their children “ethically negligent”, not only because the vaccine protects their own child, but because through the process known as herd immunity, the vaccine protects others when a high percent of the population receives the vaccine.

Don’t be a low information voter – when it comes to your children’s health. Get them vaccinated for their safety and for the safety of others, especially for the safety of other children too young to be immunized, pregnant women, and people receiving cancer treatments.

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