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Immunization saves lives

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  • Written By: Felicia Messimer
Immunization saves lives

The history of serious, life-threatening infectious diseases was forever changed by the development of effective, safe immunizations. Hundreds of millions of children have been saved by effective vaccines including those for smallpox, measles, pneumococcal infection, and many others. Tremendous, quality scientific studies have demonstrated that vaccines are safe. Throughout the world, led by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the standard of care for both children and adults is a series of immunizations geared to keep the population healthy.

As an infectious diseases physician, I strongly recommend vaccinations for both adults and children, and of course, immunize both myself and my family fully with no hesitation whatsoever. I would never introduce a vaccine into my beloved family members if I did not believe it was safe.

The pediatricians at the Campbell County Medical Group Main Clinic feel very strongly that it is the standard of care to provide recommended immunization protection for the children they care for. They feel that it is both the ethical and moral thing to do, for both the children themselves and the adults who care for them. It is within a physician's basic rights to choose not to care for children when the parents or caregivers refuse to allow basic immunization protection.

In Campbell County, Wyoming, there are other healthcare providers willing to see these unvaccinated children, and therefore there is no lack of access to care. In addition, any children not immunized are still welcome to be seen in the emergency room or hospitalized if need be without any interruption in their care whatsoever. The pediatricians also do not want to endanger other children or parents in their offices who might have abnormal immune systems, such as patients with rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, etc., by allowing unimmunized children in their waiting rooms. Again, this is extremely reasonable and ethical.

As a board-certified infectious diseases physician with over 30 years of experience, and as the Natrona County Health Officer for over 20 years, I support the pediatricians fully in their approach.

Mark Dowell, MD, FACP is an Infectious Disease physician with Rocky Mountain Infectious Diseases in Casper, Wyoming. He is the Infection Prevention Medical Director for Campbell County Health.