TORONTO — Dr. Shelley Wheeler believes the federally approved vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella are nearly ready for popular use among some young children.
“The problem was that these drugs were tested on children who were perfect. For 100 percent of children with the triple vaccine, infection occurs in two-thirds to 90 percent of cases. The time to do this was now, because we’re going to be seeing larger numbers of measles in the future,” she said.
Tuesday, Wheeler, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, told the Online Medical, one of the latest autism blogs. Wheeler called the new triple vaccines “precise and powerful” in their use.
Other reports in the past few months have railed against vaccine immunization. Last month, an article in Forbes argued immunizations are damaging and link childhood vaccines to an increased risk of autism. Now two doctors have offered “alternative vaccine facts” at a conservative retreat. Both doctors and hosts of the website disagree with the idea autism is caused by vaccines. But some of the hosts of these websites maintain it’s not safe to not get vaccinated and also take aim at the FDA, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors and corporate biotech companies.
“We’re not so much at a time of resistance as lack of understanding,” Wheeler said.
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness caused by a virus. It spreads through coughing and sneezing, as well as contact with the nose and throat passages and, especially in the case of babies, prolonged unprotected contact with mother and baby during labor and delivery.
Many cities around the world are reporting an uptick in measles. In 2017 there were 195, up to 450 in 2018 in the U.S. and now over 5,200 in 2019 so far.
Last week, Canada saw its largest measles outbreak on record, with over 40 cases in Manitoba. The strain of measles in Manitoba carries one of the strongest links to the number of cases seen in the U.S. back in the 2010-2011 period, she added.
“We definitely know it’s linked,” she said.
Wheeler believes the hope is now that vaccine legislation can be enacted “but that it will be on that soon.”
“It is hard because of the way things are set up,” she said. “We’re pushing for our governments to make these immunizations available on no-fee, informed consent and free at the doctor’s office.”
Wheeler said there are major issues around how much information is being provided to parents of young children. Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the government has taken a number of steps to ensure that young children receive the vaccinations and medical care required to protect their health. She called for more research and work to make vaccination more readily available across the country.
“The government of Canada is committed to increasing vaccination rates in Canada, which will help reduce the number of unvaccinated children who could spread unvaccinated diseases and those who could become sick. For this reason, the government of Canada recently made it possible for more children to access vaccines on the National Immunization Program website,” the department said in a statement.