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Of that group of 465, only three people got measles. I certainly understand from a parent’s standpoint how the schedule is crowded.Of the remaining 35 who hadn’t been vaccinated, 31 caught measles. I think from the pediatrician’s standpoint, the schedule is crowded.Over time, the number of vaccines that children get has increased. I also got the diphtheria and pertussis and tetanus vaccine. Now, in the first few years of life, babies will receive vaccines to protect against 14 different diseases. It’s important to give them early because you prevent more if given early in life? If you take diseases like Hib [Haemophilus influenzae type b] or pneumococcus or pertussis, those are diseases that you start to see around six, seven, eight months of age, so you want to try and be as immune as you can by that time so you can be prevented from getting them. I think the criteria that you hold those data to are, would I give this to my own child?Compare what you had as a child with what’s on the schedule now. And then in the mid-1950s, I got Jonas Salk’s inactivated polio vaccine. And then and only then, I think, would you recommend it for the country’s children. It’s much harder to develop, generally, a biological than a small molecule drug. They are much more difficult to manufacture and to develop, because frankly, the process is the product.It had been tested in 10,000 children before licensure, where it was found to be safe. But it shows you, I think, how quickly and well we were able to respond to an unanticipated side effect.But when it was then given to a million children, it was found to be a rare cause of something called intussusception, which is an intestinal blockage where your small intestine telescopes into itself and can compromise blood flow to the intestinal surface, which can lead to severe bleeding [and] can also lead to invasion of bacteria. And of the million children then that got that vaccine, about 100 developed this intussusception, which is to say, one per 10,000. And again, even though the vaccine was tested in 10,000 children pre-licensure, you weren’t going to be able to detect an event that occurred in 1 per 10,000 children.

If, however, there’s a pattern that’s being reported, as was true actually with the rotavirus vaccine in 1998, suddenly there were 10, 12, then 15 children who had intestinal blockage caused by — or felt to be caused by — the rotavirus vaccine, then you can go back and you can do the more definitive way to answer the question, which is to look at children who did or didn’t receive that vaccine, to see whether or not that adverse event was more common in the vaccinated group.Parents reasonably thought: “My child was fine; they got an MMR vaccine; then they developed the first symptoms of autism.Could it have been the MMR vaccine that caused that autism? Fortunately, it’s an answerable question, and it can be answered by looking at what has been now tens of thousands of children who did or didn’t receive the MMR vaccine to answer the question: Was your risk greater for getting autism if you received the vaccine? Because viruses or bacteria are spread from one person to the next, the only way in which you can really effectively stop transmission is to vaccinate a critical number of people in the population.Of those 500 people, 465 had either been previously immunized with measles or had had measles.

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