Dr. Offit opened by saying that we have just had largest whooping cough outbreak since 1947 and also had a Hib outbreak resulting in illness and several deaths. These are vaccine preventable diseases that have occurred because parents are choosing to either not vaccinate or delay vaccination.
Offit states that parents are making this choice because they can – 20 states have personal belief exemptions. However, according to Dr. Offit, vaccines are not a belief system – they are an evidence system. One need only look at the data to know they are safe and effective. In addition religious exemptions should not be allowed. All religions teach about caring for your fellow man – not vaccinating is a decision to NOT care about your neighbor.
Dr. Offit talked about his own experience in his hospital, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where health care workers were not being vaccinated against influenza, leaving patients vulnerable. Things hit a critical mass when 20 percent of HC workers at the hospital opted to not be vaccinated. In 2009, CHOP decided to mandate HC workers get influenza vaccine to protect their patients. Nine people were fired as a result of refusing. CHOP was taken to court by the discharged employees and won the case.
Check back here in a couple of days for the presentation. Excellent presentation Paul!