(04/29/14) - Recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in the nation, have many doctors concerned about the possible increase of dangerous diseases in children right here in Mid-Michigan. It's a rallying cry that should be heeded on the importance of immunizing young children to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
"They are all up on their immunizations. We never get behind. We're always a little bit early.
A foster parent to six children, Grand Blanc resident Regina Kinzer knows how vital it is for her kids to stay current on their vaccinations. "Because it's very important for them to keep their health up and their strength up. Because at this age, their immune system is down. It's up to us as parents to make sure they keep up on those things."
Conferences and initiatives are taking place all over Michigan in conjunction with National Infant Immunization Week to showcase how vital vaccinations are in keeping infants and kids from contracting communicable diseases, once thought extinct.
"Parents always have the option of "opting out" of vaccines for their children. But we strongly encourage our parents to immunize their children. Studies have shown they are all safe and effective," says Dr. Paul Chrenka, a pediatrician at The Children's Office.
According to the Center For Disease Control, measles have infected nearly 130 people in 13 states, so far this year. Some doctors blame dis-information on anti-immunization websites that may frighten parents.
"There are no studies that have ever been done that show, no competent studies that have been done, that show an association with vaccination and autism," Dr. Chrenka said.
Other pediatricians, like Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha think communication between doctors and parents play a role.
"Some people worry that my kids are getting too many vaccines, do they have to get six shots at once. I think they don't realize that vaccines are so purified now," she said.
Other diseases have seen an increase too.
"We're seeing epidemics of Polio globally. They haven't come here yet. There's a huge resurgence of diphtheria which is whooping cough. If you go into our hospital unit right now at Hurley Children's, you'll find a baby that's pertussis positive," Dr. Attisha said.
Infants and young children should have an immunization schedule to protect them early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.