August is National Immunization Month. Dr. Lisa Ashe wants you to know all about the vaccinations that are necessary for your child’s optimal health.

IS HPV VACCINE REQUIRED FOR HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE  STUDENTS?

The HPV vaccination is not required for anyone. It is recommended to be given starting at age 11 for girls and boys and women up to age 26 and men up to age 21. These ages may change in immunocompromised individuals and those who have other risk factors.

CAN THE HPV VACCINE CAUSE INFERTILITY?

No. There is no evidence that this vaccine or any vaccine causes infertility.

 IS THERE ANY TRUTH BEHIND IMMUNIZATIONS CAUSING AUTISM?

No. Immunizations do not cause autism. There have been multiple large studies and systematic reviews that show no association between autism and other spectrum disorders and immunizations.

 WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PARENTS THAT HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT GETTING THEIR CHILD IMMUNIZED?

Medical Providers have a shared goal with parents and that goal is to do what is best for the child.

While there has been conflicting dialogue and messaging around immunizations, it is important to research and gain insight from reputable sources.

The benefit of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks of the diseases they prevent.

Immunization is one of the most effective preventative health measures.

 ARE THERE SOME IMMUNIZATIONS THAT ARE RECOMMENDED BUT  NOT NECESSARILY REQUIRED?

For children, the HPV vaccine is recommended but not required. For the other vaccinations, you would need to check with the school and local Heath department for the requirements.

DOES MOST HEALTH INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF BACK TO  SCHOOL IMMUNIZATIONS?

Yes, all health insurances typically cover the cost of immunizations.

HOW EARLY CAN PARENTS START THE IMMUNIZATION PROCESS?

Immunizations are started as early as birth. There is a schedule for all of the vaccines. You can find it on the CDC website.

Dr. Lisa Ashe serves as the medical director of Be Well medical group – a leading concierge medicine and wellness group currently serving the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia metro areas. She’s a board-certified internal medicine physician.

Dr. Ashe answers your questions below:

 HOW CAN’T THERE NOT BE ISSUE WITH SHOTs WHEN MERCURY IS IN THEM?

Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), varicella, inactivated polio, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines never contained thimerosal (the preservative used in vaccinations that contains a small amount of mercury). In addition, The World Health Organization Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety has concluded that the available evidence supports the safety of thimerosal.

DOC, WHY ARE CHILDREN GIVEN SO MANY VACCINES AT ONE TIME?

There is no increase in adverse reactions with multiple immunizations given at time. Additionally, altering vaccine schedules offer incomplete and delayed protection against life-threatening diseases.

IS IT TRUE THAT DOCTORS GET PAID EXTRA FOR GIVING SO MANY KIDS A SHOT?

The reimbursement for vaccinations is very low. Money is not the motivation for providing immunizations, disease prevention is.

WHO ARE THE SPECIFIC DOCTORS/SCIENTISTS/ RESEARCHERS THAT SUPPORT YOUR CLAIMS?

Here is a comprehensive yet not exhaustive list of sites that provide more information and links to the research.

American Academy of Family Physicians

www.familydoctor.org

American Academy of Pediatrics Childhood Immunization Support Program

www.aap.org/immunization

Canadian Pediatric Society

www.caringforkids.cps.ca/

Provides a parent’s guide to immunization information on the internet

Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)

www.idsociety.org

Provides lists of resources, IDSA position statements, and policy statements

Group on Immunization Education, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

www.immunizationed.org

Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research, Texas Children’s Hospital

www.texaschildrens.org/departments/center-vaccine-awareness-and-research-cvar

Institute for Vaccine Safety, Johns Hopkins University

www.vaccinesafety.edu

The Nemours Foundation KidsHealth

kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/health_basics/immunizations.html

The Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

www.vaccine.chop.edu

www.vaccine.org

www.path.org/vaccineresources/

www.ecbt.org

Health on the Net Foundation

www.hon.ch

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)

www.immunize.org

National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine, IOM) National Academies Press

www.nap.edu

National Alliance for Hispanic Health

www.hispanichealth.org

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

www.nfid.org

National Meningitis Association

www.nmaus.org

The Vaccine Page

www.vaccines.org

World Health Organization

www.who.int/topics/vaccines/en/

www.vaccineinformation.org

Families Fighting Flu

www.familiesfightingflu.org

Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases

www.pkids.org/immunizations.php

www.meningitis-angels.org

Government agencies

United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

www.cdc.gov/vaccines

US Food and Drug Administration

www.fda.gov/cber/vaccines.htm

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

WHAT ABOUT THE CONTAMINATED FLU SHOTS THAT WERE DISPENSED IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITIES? THIS FACT WAS VERIFIED BY THE CDC.

There have been instances of contaminated vaccinations in the past. Many times, the vaccines were recalled and destroyed prior to utilization. Preventing bacterial contamination is the reason preservatives are added to the vaccines. The CDC has a list of recalled vaccinations over the years and whom was affected. There is nothing in their literature to suggest African-Americans were targeted.

DOCTOR, WHAT IS YOU OPINION ABOUT THE SHINGLES VACCINE FOR A 65-YEAR-OLD FEMALE WITH A LOW-IMMUNE SYSTEM? I RARELY HEAR ABOUT REAL PEOPLE GETTING SHINGLES OR TAKING THE VACCINE. 

Shingles is a painful rash that can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in those older than 50. Shingles can be rarely serious. About 1 out of 10 people with shingles will get something called “postherpetic neuralgia,” or “PHN.” People with PHN keep feeling pain or discomfort even after their rash goes away. This pain can last for months or even years.

With that being said, the Shingles vaccine (herpes zoster) is recommended for people over the age of 60, individuals who are immunocomprised, such as people who have leukemia, lymphoma, and for those taking antirheumatic or biologic therapies, and large doses of steroids. Individuals with HIV should discuss with their doctor and see where they cell counts are before taking the vaccine.

MY DAUGHTER HAS NOT GOTTEN MY GRANDDAUGHTER VACCINATED YET BECAUSE OF THOSE THINGS YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. WITHOUT VACCINATIONS, WILL MY GRANDDAUGHTER BE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THOSE OTHER CHILDHOOD DISEASE THAT ARE UNDER CONTROL NOW?

When the community is vaccinated it does provide some benefit to the few who are not (herd protection). However, we have seen measles and pertussis outbreaks and if unvaccinated, your granddaughter has a much greater risk of contracting disease. For example, unvaccinated people have a 35X greater risk of contracting measles than vaccinated individuals.

HAS DR. ASH SEEN THE DOCUMENTARY ‘VAXXED’? THEY SHOWED SEVERAL CASES WHERE COMBINED VACCINATIONS CAUSE AUTISM IN CHILDREN. DID SHE JUST SAY COMBO VACCINATIONS ARE TOTALLY SAFE?

Vaccinations have risks, they are neither 100 percent effective nor are they completely risk free. However, autism is not caused by vaccines. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that, among children born from 1994 through 2013, vaccination would prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths.

GOOD MORNING! PLEASE ASK THE DOCTOR HAVE THEY DONE ANY STUDIES FOR CHILDREN WHO DID NOT GET IMMUNIZATION SHOTS…WHAT IS THE RATE OF AUTISM AND THAT SUBGROUP?HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO THE RATES FOR THE REST OF THE POPULATION?

The general consensus is that ASD is genetic. There is overwhelming evidence that suggest there is no association between immunizations and autism. Included in all of the studies are children with and without autism. Please see above question for a list of sites that have the research.

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