Why do some people think that pediatricians are only in it for money, working to maximize profits over the health and safety of the kids that they care for?
The usual suspects…
Vaccines and Profiting Pediatricians
Even if you believed that the average pediatrician would put profits over the health and safety of their patients, your next thought should then be why on earth would they ever vaccinate anyone…
Consider the rotavirus vaccine.
We hear a lot about the cost savings from decreased hospitalizations and ER visits because of the rotavirus vaccine.
“During the pre-rotavirus vaccine era, it was estimated that 410,000 physician visits; 205-272,000 ED visits; and 55,000–70,000 hospitalizations were attributable to rotavirus infections in U.S. children, costing approximately $1 billion annually.”
It is important to remember that for every visit to the emergency room, many more visited their pediatrician.
“National diarrhea-related healthcare visits during rotavirus season decreased by 48% (95% CI: 47%-48%) in 2008 and by 35% (95% CI: 34%-35%) in 2009 compared with the mean rate from the 2005 and 2006 rotavirus seasons.”
Yen et al on Decline in rotavirus hospitalizations and health care visits for childhood diarrhea following rotavirus vaccination in El Salvador
And now they don’t…
Pediatricians also see fewer kids with ear infections thanks to Prevnar and we rarely see a child with chickenpox.
“There was an overall downward trend in OM-related health care use from 2001 to 2011. The significant reduction in OM visit rates in 2010-2011 in children younger than 2 years coincided with the advent of PCV-13.”
Marom et al on Trends in Otitis Media–Related Health Care Use in the United States, 2001-2011
If the idea is to keep kids sick, then why vaccinate and protect them from diseases that would fill up our offices with sick kids?
“Using household-reported data we found a pattern of increased use of well visits and decreased sick visits across the last decade and half, resulting in a net decrease of roughly a third of a visit per child since 2002. The pattern was consistent for privately and publicly insured children. Multiple factors likely account for these trends, including the possibility that greater use of well visits and improvements in medicine may be helping to improve child health.”
In general, simply taking an antibiotic would not usually be a reason to not get vaccinated.
“Contraindications and precautions to vaccination generally dictate circumstances when vaccines will not be given. Many contraindications and precautions are temporary, and the vaccine can be given at a later time.”
General Recommendations on Immunization
The reason your child is taking the antibiotic could make you want to think about delaying the vaccine though.
Can Your Kids Get a Vaccine While They Are Taking Antibiotics?
Kids are prescribed antibiotics for a lot of different reasons, from treating ear infections and acne to pneumonia and meningitis.
Since a mild acute illness with or without fever isn’t considered a contraindication or precaution to getting vaccinated, in most cases, being on an antibiotic would not cause you to want to skip or delay your child’s vaccines.
In fact, current antimicrobial therapy is listed by the CDC as one of the conditions commonly misperceived as a contraindication or precaution!
There are some exceptions though, including:
taking the antibiotic for a moderate or severe acute illness with or without fever (a general precaution to getting a vaccine)
antimalarial agents and antibiotics might interfere with the Ty21a oral typhoid vaccine
antiviral drugs (Tamiflu, Relenza) might interfere with LAIV4 (FluMist, the nasal spray flu vaccine)
Is your child taking the antibiotic for a mild illness or a more moderate or severe illness for which they are now recovering? Then the fact that they are still taking an antibiotic likely isn’t a contraindication or a precaution to getting vaccinated.
My son started to have migraines when he was about 11 years old.
Must be stress, BPA, poor eating habits, all of the screen time, or vaccines, right?
“Americans spend the least on food, the most on health care, have the most highly vaccinated kids, and have the sickest kids of any industrialized country. More kids than not are now chronically ill, developmentally delayed, and eating or injecting prescription medications from cradle to grave – which is going to be a quicker trip for them than it was for their parents, according to data on life expectancy in the US. We are inured to childhood autism, epilepsy, allergy, asthma, diabetes, obesity, Crohn’s disease and cancer. We are dying younger. We are going backwards.”
Judy Converse on America’s New Normal: Chronically Ill Kids
That likely seems like a young age to get migraines and would fit well with the narrative that kids today are part of the unhealthiest generation ever.
Except that I started to get migraines at about the same age, and so did my mother. Like many of the other conditions that seem to be ballooning today, migraines have a genetic component.
The Unhealthiest Generation?
Who says that today’s kids are part of the unhealthiest generation ever?
Mostly anti-vaccine folks who blame vaccines for making kids unhealthy and alternative medical providers who think their holistic remedies will fix all of the problems they see in our unhealthy kids who they claim are full of “toxins.”
Toxins? If you are going to believe that our kids are all sick, then you have to buy into the narrative that toxins are everywhere, especially in vaccines, and they are making kids sick.
Of course, none of that is true.
Vaccines are safe and work to prevent us from getting sick and there are 2 to 3 million fewer deaths in the world each year because people are vaccinated and protected.
“From developing groundbreaking treatments for deadly chronic diseases to saving babies who are born premature, pediatric researchers have increased the ability of children to live full and fulfilling lives that only a few decades before would have been tragically cut short.”
Sandra G. Hassink, MD on the 7 Great Achievements in Pediatric Research
And today’s kids, all 73.6 million of them in the United States, aren’t the unhealthiest. They are actually a very healthy generation, being born with the lowest child and infant mortality rates ever, low rates of hospitalizations, and one of the highest life expectancies in history.
Our Healthy Kids
How do we know today’s kids are healthy?
One easy way is to compare them to kids in the past…
If you have only been listening to the alarmists who talk about the unhealthiest generation all of the time, you likely wouldn’t know that:
while 2.6% of kids were thought to be in fair or poor health in 1991, that is down to just 1.8% today (2015)
fewer kids today (4.5%) report having had an asthma attack in the previous year than they did in 1997 (5.4%), and that fewer kids have asthma today (8.5%) than in 2003 (8.7%)
since 1997, fewer children, whether or not they have insurance, are visiting the emergency room
fewer children are requiring overnight hospital stays, down from 5.5% to just 2.1% today (2015)
rates of hay fever or respiratory allergy are down since 1997, from 17.5% of kids to 15.6% of kids today (2015)
rates of epilepsy have been stable in children for at least 40 years
fewer kids have multiple ear infections since 1997, when 7.1% of kids had 3 or more ear infections, to just 5% of kids today (2015)
fewer kids are being prescribed antibiotics
childhood cancer rates have been rising, but only slightly, and mortality rates have been declining
suicide rates are rising, but only from historic lows – they used to be about the same or higher in the early 1990s
Of course, some conditions are on the rise, including ADHD, type 1 diabetes, food allergies, eczema, obesity, and most autoimmune diseases.
“A few conditions have decreased because of prevention (eg, lead encephalopathy), a few represent relatively new conditions (eg, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection), and some have increased after dramatic improvements in survival for individually low-prevalence childhood conditions that previously had high fatality rates (eg, leukemia, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart diseases). Most growth, however, reflects dramatic increases in incidence of a few high-prevalence conditions.”
James M. Perrin, MD on The Increase of Childhood Chronic Conditions in the United States
Although we don’t know why most other conditions are trending up (it isn’t vaccines), we will hopefully continue to develop new theories and reverse those trends.
It should be reassuring that many of the trends do show that our kids are indeed healthy.
What to Know About Our Healthy Kids
From gun violence and climate change to the threat of emerging infections, out children do face many threats and are certainly under a lot of stress. There is no evidence that this is the unhealthiest generation though. If anything, they are on track to be one of the healthiest.