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Loma Linda Doctor Urges Full Vaccination As New School Year Begins

Bill Smith

As the new school year begins, a Loma Linda doctor is urging students to get fully vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of infectious disease. 

Dr. Tyler Ladue, a family medicine physician at Loma Linda University Health, says the best way to not spread diseases like the measles is for everyone, especially young people, to get all their vaccines.

Ladue: “So generally in primary care, we recommend full vaccination in accordance with the vaccine schedule from the Centers for Disease Control. So we recommend getting regular preventative care, obviously, to make sure that you stay healthy and to make sure that you're up to date on all of your vaccines. So it's a good time of year, back to school time, to get an annual check-up and to make sure that you and your kids are all up to date on your vaccines.”

Ladue says there has been growing opposition to vaccines, and while he respects parents’ autonomy to make their own decisions, he does recommend full vaccination.

Ladue: “The alternative to getting these vaccines is really sort of rolling the dice and hoping that you and your family don't get sick from one of these preventable infectious diseases. And really in terms of staying healthy, this is a big step that you can take for you and your family, and it is something that is very safe and we know from decades of research that vaccines are not only extraordinarily safe but they work. And so we're getting a lot of resistance to that these days, there's a lot of misinformation out there, both in various social circles and online. And so we do recommend coming to us if you have any questions or concerns about vaccinating your family. Because the amount of information that's out there can be sort of overwhelming.”

Ladue stresses the importance of having a family care doctor that you can talk to about getting vaccinated.

Ladue: “We recommend having an established primary care physician who you can ask these questions to, whether that's a family medicine doctor for your whole family, an adult internal medicine specialist for adults, or a pediatrician for the children in your family, all of those specialties are very well-versed in vaccines and preventative care in general, that's their job. So we recommend, if you have any questions about vaccinating your kids, make an appointment with your primary care physician. And if you don't have one, it's a really good reason to get one.”

And Ladue says there are real repercussions to not getting vaccinated – like a decline in something called herd immunity.

Ladue: “So we are seeing more cases of measles these days, a big reason for that is because the decrease in herd immunity. And so herd immunity is a concept that when most of the population is vaccinated, there's not really any susceptible hosts for a virus to infect, thus decreasing transmission. So a lot of people, we think, were sort of lulled into a false sense of security thinking that these infectious diseases were sort of gone forever, when in truth the reason that these diseases were not being seen was because of the strong herd immunity. So we are seeing more of these across the board now, and a big part of that is people skipping vaccinations.”

Ladue says if you don’t know if you are vaccinated or not, there a couple ways to find out. If you were born in California, you can go to a primary care clinic and have them check the state database to see.

Ladue: “Another way to get those immunization records if the family has lost them, misplaced them in a move or something, is going back to your elementary school or high school, because usually you have to provide proof of that in order to be enrolled at school. So many schools will have those things still on file. But if you can't get that information and if you can't look it up in the database, please just make an appointment with a primary care provider and we can advise you on what things we recommend for you as far as catching up. Or sort of, you know, filling in the gaps in your vaccination history.”

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