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Poor kids missing vaccines
Poor kids missing vaccines

August 7, 2007 (Insidermedicine) Many children don’t have to suffer from dangerous illnesses like measles, mumps, or whooping cough thanks to vaccines.

Over the last several years, the number of new vaccines recommended for children and teens has increased. However, the cost of new vaccines has also increased considerably. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, many children do not get them because they lack insurance.

This is what we know about routine childhood vaccinations:
• Vaccines work and are safe - the vast majority of vaccine side events are minor and temporary, like a sore arm or mild fever
• The number of vaccines recommended for children and teens has increased significantly over the past few years
• About 14% of children and teens in the US are not insured and do not receive the recommended vaccines

In a review of vaccine programs in 48 US states, researchers found that due to the cost of buying vaccines, many children without insurance could not receive them without paying, and many parents simply cannot afford it. For example, in the private sector 70% of states didn’t provide the vaccine for meningitis, 46% didn’t provide the chickenpox vaccine and 50% didn't provide the vaccine for pneumonia to uninsured children. This means that many children from low-income families are at higher risk of getting these diseases and spreading them to others with weakened immune systems, such as older people and those who are already ill.

If you are a parent, ask your child’s doctor if he or she has received all of the recommended vaccines. If not, ask if there are special vaccination programs in your area available for your child.

For Insidermedicine in Depth, I'm Dr. Susan Sharma.