Sunday, July 31, 2011
More Proof That Vaccines Save Lives
So along comes a new study published in Pediatrics (The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) which discusses varicella (chickenpox) and the impact the vaccine had upon the varicella mortality rate. The result was a 88% reduction in the mortality rate for varicella since the vaccination was implemented (see page 216 of the full study). In fact, varicella deaths actually decreased in every single age group including a whopping 97% reduction in deaths for children and adolescents under 20 years old. Previous studies have also found significant reductions at a time the vaccination rate was on the rise, but this newer study is much more complete as it looks at a longer time frame and examines data from both the pre-vaccination period as well as 12 years after the vaccination was released.
Perhaps even more amazing was the fact these results reflect only one dosage of the vaccine. The newer recommendations include a two dose program which could all but eliminate varicella related deaths within the vaccinated populace. It is also important to consider the amount of people who no longer suffer from varicella (according to earlier studies an approximate reduction of 90% was witnessed in the first 10 years of vaccination), as well as the number of people who no longer need to be hospitalized as a result of varicella (previous studies found hospitalizations declined between 65% and 88% after implementation of the vaccine).
If you factor in the amount of lost productivity due to people being ill and unable to attend work or school coupled with the healthcare costs of treatment, hospitalizations, and complications to other medical conditions it is clear the vaccine program is not only effective, but it is nothing short of amazing.
So if vaccines really don't work, are we to believe these reductions are nothing more than a series of coincidences? Could it be that there is a varicella fairy that has simply been taking a vacation? Is the reduction of varicella cases directly tied to the proliferation of Twitter accounts? Not likely. The only reasonable answer to be taken from all of this is that quite simply... vaccines work. The science proves it, the results prove it, and study after study, research scientist after research scientist prove it time and time again.
If you're keeping score at home, here are the vital statistics:
Varicella related deaths* per year (1990-1994) prior to the vaccine being released: ~145
Varicella related deaths* in 2007 (the last year covered under this study): ~33
Number of children diagnosed with autism as a direct result of vaccination programs: 0
*Includes varicella as the underlying cause as well as varicella as a contributing cause. Figures are taken from Table 1 on page 216 of the study.
Sure seems like vaccines are worth the risk to me... but then again I'm not a vaccine conspiracy theorist like Mr. Hubbs.