Refusing immunizations puts children at increased risk of pertussis infection:
[Via EurekAlert! – Infectious and Emerging Diseases]
(Kaiser Permanente) A Kaiser Permanente study found that children of parents who refuse vaccines are 23 times more likely to get whooping cough compared to fully immunized children.
And then these infected children can spread the disease to children too young to be vaccinated and to the elderly, resulting in deaths that did not have to happen. 1000 cases in 1976. Up to 26,000 cases in 2004. Those are not encouraging numbers.
Herd immunity is what protects us all. It prevents epidemics. For pertussis, one of the most contagious diseases, substantially more than 90% of the population must be immunized in order for herd immunity to provide protection. But some people chose not to vaccinate, hoping herd immunity will prevent the spread to their child.
As this report demonstrates, there are distinct ramifications for these unvaccinated children. Pertussis is a nasty disease, especially in the young. An increase in the infection rate by 23-fold is certainly significant.