Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Dispatch has reported that the lack of vaccinations among students in local schools has helped spread the mumps cases in our community (“Lack of vaccination helps spread mumps,” last Thursday).
With more than 150 cases now reported, there are evidenced-based actions that can be taken to prevent another outbreak.
Pediatricians statewide support parental education about vaccines to help parents make informed decisions and to help them understand the importance of keeping vaccinations up to date through routine well-child visits.
We support mandating vaccinations for entry into child-care settings at all levels, from birth to college. One simply needs to look at how one case of mumps at Ohio State University now is linked to at least 100 cases to understand how important it is for children who are in group care or close living settings to receive these critical vaccinations.
Additionally, attempts by special-interest groups to fracture the medical home in our state can lead to missed vaccinations and lack of parental education about important health topics. That’s why we work hard to ensure that any efforts to improve access to health care for Ohio children maintain the high quality and consistency of care available through a licensed pediatrician.
This is not the time to panic over the spread of preventable diseases like mumps, but it is the time to look at our public policies and utilize evidence-based medical practices that can prevent and eliminate these diseases in our local community.
More information about vaccinations for children of all ages can be found at ohioaap.org.
MELISSA WERVEY ARNOLD
American Academy of Pediatrics