VaccinesDuring the time I worked at the Early Childhood Center of the New York Public Library, I heard and read a great deal about the movement of many parents – college-educated parents in particular – who refuse to have their young children vaccinated.

If you’re working with children, you’ve no doubt heard of these parents, but I wanted to point out an article about this movement in the New York Times, which I feel is worthwhile reading for anyone coming into contact with children.

A lot of this concern about vaccines – such as the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella – is based on an underground movement of parents who believe that vaccines are at fault for the recent quote-unquote “epidemic” of autism – as well as other supposed threats to the young brain and nervous system – although there’s no medically accepted proof for this belief.

In California – and many other states – concerned parents can have their children exempted from being vaccinated before they start school. The result of a growing number of children who aren’t being vaccinated? Outbreaks of measles, as described in the story:

In a highly unusual outbreak of measles here [in San Diego, CA] last month, 12 children fell ill; nine of them had not been inoculated against the virus because their parents objected, and the other three were too young to receive vaccines.

The parents who objected to their children being inoculated are among a small but growing number of vaccine skeptics in California and other states who take advantage of exemptions to laws requiring vaccinations for school-age children.

Why am I mentioning this topic in a library blog? Because you may have questions from parents asking about this topic. Here’s an example of a page filled with warnings of the “dangers of vaccinations to your child’s long term health prospects and longevity.” Here’s another, and there are plenty more. Lots of parents are reading this stuff. For a more balanced discussion, here’s the Vaccine Education Center page from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.