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Thirty-one of 35 people who hadn’t been vaccinated caught measles in a crowd of 500 people after being exposed to a woman for only a couple hours, and the reason why is that they didn’t have to have direct contact with her. You can get as many as 26 inoculations in the first few years of life, and as many as five shots at one time. It’s a lot of vaccines given over a fairly short period of time, which can mean a lot of shots at one time. But usually pediatricians and parents will wait until the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] and the American Association of Family Physicians [AAFP] also look over the data to decide not only can it be used, but should it be used, and should it be recommended. And then and only then do they make the recommendation.All they had to do was share her air space within two hours of her being there. But I think the burden for health care people and for people interested in people’s health is to make sure that the vaccines can be given safely, and that we know that they will prevent these diseases that can cause suffering and hospitalization [and] death. What generally happens is that the pharmaceutical companies develop the vaccine and ultimately test them in tens of thousands of children, and then submit those data to the Food and Drug Administration, who then look them over to try and determine whether or not the vaccine is effective as claimed, and is safe as claimed. I know this because I actually was on this CDC committee from 1998 to 2003.With small molecule products like drugs, they’re much more easy to characterize and, frankly, test.I think when you look at vaccines, the other point is that you’re giving them to healthy children, so they’re, I think, held to a much higher standard than for drugs that are used to treat a particular disease.For the pneumococcal vaccine there were 40,000 infants and young children that were tested before the vaccine was licensed.For the two rotavirus vaccines, it was 130,000 that were tested before the vaccine was licensed.
This came up with the MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine and autism. Because viruses or bacteria are spread from one person to the next, the only way in which you can really effectively stop transmission is to vaccinate a critical number of people in the population.Of those 500 people, 465 had either been previously immunized with measles or had had measles.And for that, there are systems like the Vaccine Safety Datalink.
You’re trying to distinguish between coincidence and causation.
And the answer has been very clear and consistent: No. I think epidemiological studies, at their best, can pick up events that occur in 1 per 100,000 children, sometimes as rare as 1 per million children.