Tag: fact check

Do 54% of Children Have a Chronic Health Condition?

Have you heard the claim from anti-vax folks that kids today are sicker than they used to be? That 54% of children have a chronic health condition?

Do you really want to be misled by anti-vax propaganda?
Do you really want to be misled by anti-vax propaganda?

Is that true?

Do 54% of Children Have a Chronic Health Condition?

Of course not.

The number comes from a 2011 report, A national and state profile of leading health problems and health care quality for US children: key insurance disparities and across-state variations, a study that is being misused by anti-vax folks.

“An estimated 43% of US children (32 million) currently have at least 1 of 20 chronic health conditions assessed, increasing to 54.1% when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included; 19.2% (14.2 million) have conditions resulting in a special health care need, a 1.6 point increase since 2003.”

Bethell et al on A national and state profile of leading health problems and health care quality for US children: key insurance disparities and across-state variations.

For one thing, the study doesn’t say anything about vaccines.

And another, the researchers don’t actually say that 54% of children have chronic health conditions!

“And before parents panic, both studies — but especially the 2011 Academic Pediatrics paper — use rather broad definitions of chronic disease.

The 54% of kids with a chronic condition in 2007 include children with asthma, environmental allergies, ADHD, chronic ear infections, kids 10 or older who are overweight or obese, and young children “at risk” for a developmental delay, among many others.

Environmental allergies alone affected 24% of kids, while nearly a third of the older children were overweight or obese, and more than a quarter of the young children were considered at risk for developmental delay.”

Williamson Misleads on Children’s Health, Vaccines

Even more importantly, the survey on which the study was based actually says that the great majority of parents consider their kids to be in excellent or very good health!

The survey did not say that 54% of children had chronic health conditions.

And the percent of kids with excellent or very good health had been very steady in recent years.

The percent of kids with excellent or very good health has been very steady in recent years.

In fact, in the very latest survey, it is up to 90%!

Not only are 54% of children not in poor health, with chronic health problems, 90% of today's parents describe their children's health as excellent or very good!
Not only are 54% of children not in poor health, with chronic health problems, 90% of today’s parents describe their children’s health as excellent or very good!

Which effectively destroys the anti-vax argument that immunizations are causing kids to have a lot of chronic health conditions, as they have been getting more immunizations and greater protection against even more vaccine-preventable diseases during this time!

More on Kids and Chronic Health Conditions

Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated – Measles Outbreak Edition

There are two big reasons that we are still having to talk about how it’s mainly unvaccinated folks that get sick in measles outbreaks.

Some folks keep spreading misinformation about measles, such as how most of the people who got sick in the Disney outbreak were vaccinated!?!

And other folks believe them!

Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated – Measles Outbreak Edition

Fortunately, misinformation about the number of vaccinated vs unvaccinated in an outbreak is among the easiest things to fact check.

Although folks will try to misrepresent this slide, as you can easily see, most of the folks in the Disneyland outbreak were unvaccinated.

That’s not how any of this works…

For example, if you wanted to assume that the 20 people who said that they were vaccinated really were, then you have to assume that the rest of those folks weren’t. And you also have to raise the number of folks who had their immunization status verified.

But you really shouldn’t make assumptions. All you can really say for sure from this data is that 15 (13 + 2) of the people, out of the 131 cases, were fully vaccinated.

What about the New York outbreak in 2011? Was it really started by someone who was fully vaccinated?

Surprisingly, it was!

“This is the first report of measles transmission from a twice-vaccinated individual with documented secondary vaccine failure. The clinical presentation and laboratory data of the index patient were typical of measles in a naive individual. Secondary patients had robust anamnestic antibody responses. No tertiary cases occurred despite numerous contacts.”

Rosen et al on Outbreak of measles among persons with prior evidence of immunity, New York City, 2011.

And it was a very big deal because it was the first time it had ever been reported as happening!

“During 2011, a provisional total of 222 measles cases were reported from 31 states. The median age of the patients was 14 years (range: 3 months to 84 years); 27 (14%) were aged <12 months, 51 (26%) were aged 1–4 years, 42 (21%) were aged 5–19 years, and 76 (39%) were aged ≥20 years. Most patients were unvaccinated (65%) or had unknown vaccination status (21%).”

Measles — United States, 2011

That’s in contrast to all of the other measles cases that year. Remember, there were a total of 222 measles cases in the United States in 2011. Few were vaccinated.

What about other measles outbreaks?

Only 4% of people in the Rockland County measles outbreak have been fully vaccinated.
Only 4% of people in the Rockland County measles outbreak have been fully vaccinated.

As much as folks try and report that most of the people in recent outbreaks are vaccinated, they aren’t.

Only one person, out of 53 cases of measles, is known to have had a dose of MMR in the Clark County measles outbreak.

What about other measles outbreaks?

OutbreaksYearVaccinatedUnvaccinatedUnknown
California – 24 cases201724
Minnesota – 75 cases20175682
Tennessee – 7 cases201616
Ohio – 383 cases2014534038
California – 58 cases2014112518
Texas – 21 cases2013165
Florida – 5 cases20135
Brooklyn – 58 cases201358
North Carolina – 23 cases20132183
Minnesota – 21 cases2011183
San Diego – 12 cases200812

We don’t even have to do the math.

“The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.”

Measles Cases and Outbreaks

It is easy to see that most folks in these outbreaks are unvaccinated!

Get vaccinated and stop the outbreaks. Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and necessary.

More on Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated – Measles Outbreak Edition