Science, not opinion, must guide vaccinations and administration schedules, say pediatric specialists
Misinformation can affect family decisions putting infants, children and adolescents at risk
NEW YORK – Parents and caregivers are constantly exposed to misinformation from discredited studies and unreliable sources about the safety, efficacy and necessity of vaccines. The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is concerned and disheartened about inaccurate comments made during the GOP debate last week that could potentially affect family decisions about administering vaccines to children. NAPNAP, along with many other healthcare professionals and organizations, publicly supports the scientific evidence of immunizing children according to the recommended schedule, on time, every time.
“Evidence demonstrates that immunizing large groups eventually will eliminate the illness,” said NAPNAP President Dr. Cathy Haut. Unfortunately, about 1 percent of children in the U.S. are not vaccinated, and epidemics such as the 2014-2015 measles outbreak result because of unvaccinated individuals. Measles, along with other infectious diseases, weaken the immune system, putting survivors at risk for other illnesses as well as significant complications. Infants are at the highest risk for vaccine preventable diseases and any attempt to delay immunizations or adopt an alternative schedule for this age group just increases the chance of death and disability.
Advanced practice nurses who are trained pediatric specialists believe in holistic care of children and their families, which includes health promotion and disease prevention through the administration of vaccinations at their scheduled and appointed times. Pediatric nurse practitioners are on the front lines, administering vaccines to children in many settings, including offices, schools and hospitals.
NAPNAP fully supports the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) immunization schedule, which is based on the best available science and is designed to protect children and adolescents when they are most at risk for vaccine preventable diseases. Study after study shows vaccines are safe and they work. “Immunizations and the deaths and complications they prevent are the No. 1 public health achievement of the 20th century,” Haut said.
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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s professional association of pediatric nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 healthcare practitioners nationwide with 17 special interest groups and 49 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973. It is the first nurse practitioner professional society in the U.S.