If you are one of the growing number of parents who are avoiding or delaying vaccinating your children, you are putting them at a greater risk for contracting pertussis. Pertussis, or whooping cough, as it is more commonly known, is a serious disease, which can be fatal. Vaccination is available, but according to an article published today, a new study shows that children whose parents choose to delay or refuse the vaccine are between 19 and 28 times as likely to contract whooping cough as children who receive the vaccine according to the recommended schedule.
Jason Glanz, the lead author of the study, noted that "over a third of the cases could have been prevented had [the children] been vaccinated on time." Glanz and his fellow researchers are hopeful that by providing this information to parents, they will encourage more parents to not only vaccinate their children but to do it according to the recommended schedule in order to prevent more outbreaks.
Parents who choose not to vaccinate do not just put their children at risk. They also put the lives of other children in jeopardy by making possible the return of diseases that were once nearly eradicated from the United States. In fact, just last week it was reported that measles is making a comeback in spite of the readily available vaccine. This is particularly frightening for parents with babies who cannot be vaccinated until they are a year old. Hopefully, as more studies are done, doctors will be able to communicate effectively with parents and ensure that they receive the correct information to make the best health decisions for their children.