Mar 25 2010
It has been alleged by Great Minds such as Jenny McCarthy that the US recommends far more vaccinations than other countries. Her precise statement was, “How come many other countries give their kids one-third as many shots as we do?” She put this into the context of wondering if our current vaccine schedule should be less rigid. The entire piece was filled with what could charitably called less-than-truthful assertions, but examining simply this one assertion might be useful. Dr. John Snyder has an excellent analysis of the most important assertion, that of the possible benefits of an “alternative vaccination schedule” which I would encourage you to read.
First, we need to parse out this “more shots than everyone else” statement. Some countries–Haiti, for example–give far fewer vaccines due not to fewer recommendations but to adverse economic conditions. Because of this, they have very high rates of vaccine-preventable diseases. They want to vaccinate more, but can’t. Then there are countries who can afford to vaccinate. Let’s look at what three industrialized nations recommend before six years of age.
Vaccinations, by disease and country, 0-6 years of age
|Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertusis||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Influenza||Not reported||Not reported||Yes||No|
|Meales, mumps, rubella||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|BCG (disseminated TB)||Yes||No||No||No|
The chart, as I’ve presented it, is somewhat imprecise. Some vaccinations are given in a single shot, others in multiple shots, but these generally represent the childhood vaccinations in each country, and the links provided will take you to the more detailed information.