Routine pediatric immunization programs have eradicated many of the
infectious diseases of childhood and have been one of the most remarkable
public health accomplishments. In 2000, the United States has achieved the
lowest rates of vaccine-preventable diseases and the highest rates of immunization
ever recorded.1 But despite such successes,
many individuals are challenging recommended vaccination programs. For instance,
a congressman has scrutinized government reports, has conducted hearings to
investigate the procedures for the licensure of vaccines by the US Food and
Drug Administration and for establishing guidelines for vaccine use by the
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, and has suggested that vaccine manufacturers have
unduly influenced vaccine policy.2 A recent
television news program questioned whether a link exists between autism and
the measles vaccine,3 causing many parents
to consider whether to abandon measles immunization for their children. Internet
Web sites are picturing children harmed by vaccines and are urging parents
to forgo immunizations for their children.4
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