Ron Smith, MD
I have these specific goals.
- I want to educate parents with accurate information about vaccines, while allowing them to tangibly demonstrate their understanding.
- I want to preserve a parent’s constitutional right to choose not to vaccinate.
- I want to provide their children’s physicians with proof of that education, and hopefully then preserve the patient-parent-physician relationship.
- I want to provide physicians with a library of concise information about important current and emerging infectious disease that they may encounter on medical mission fields.
Infectious Disease Library
How PedsVax Vaccine Education Works
In my practice, we chose not to sever our patient relationships when parents chose not to vaccinate or to do so on their altered schedule. More and more, parents were calling to join our practice because their present physician refused to continue caring for them unless their children were fully immunized.
I felt this was wrong on two specific points. First, I believe that it is a parent’s right to choose not to vaccinate. Second, no parent ever decided to vaccinate against their conscience because their physician demanded they do so. Education and engaging discussion with them is effective, because even if they remain unconvinced about vaccination, parents make an informed decision.
The question remained, though, how do we engage parents? Sometimes vaccine discussions can last thirty or forty minutes to fully explain and answer question?
My solution was to develop an engaging, multimedia online slide course with a short open-book quiz. This if effective because it allows parents to read accurate vaccine information in an non-confrontational environment. Any questions they still have can then be addressed with more focused answers.
The educational materials and quiz are all free to parents, of course. It is my pleasure to offer physicians members of the American College of Pediatricians free reporting of the quiz results for documentation in their practice.
Medical History Moment
Unfortunately, the smallpox virus was not completely destroyed. Today, known smallpox virus exists in two places in the world; the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, and the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR Institute) in Koltsovo, Russia. While these are high-level containment centers, we have to remember the story of Janet Parker, to understand that as long as smallpox is present anywhere, we are at risk.
Smallpox scabs like the ones in this image were once used for variolation but were also collected for study. This is very problematic and poses some genuine risks even today. In 2014, the CDC reported workers clearing out a little-used cold-storage room belonging to the Food and Drug Administration found a cardboard box containing six sealed glass tubes labeled with the scientific name for smallpox, “variola.” Two of the tubes contained viable smallpox virus for the severe strain called variola major.
Vaccination for smallpox reportedly is only good for about seven years, so the vast majority of the world today is susceptible. The official US statement is that presently there is enough vaccine to cover our population, but there is no proof of these supplies. What about the rest of the world?
As long as smallpox exists in these two labs, or in some as yet hidden sample bottles of scabs, we are at risk. The coronavirus pandemic would pale in comparison should smallpox suddenly burst back onto the world stage.
The library is intended to include common and uncommon infections. It should be useful for everyone from parents and physicians to missionaries and missionary organizations. My particular interest is in Level 4 Hot infectious bacteria—those infections where there are no specific antivirals or antibiotics and no vaccines. I hope to bring light to other scourges of which many westerners are unaware.
Measles, Whooping Cough, and other infections for which we already vaccinate.
Besides the educational slides and quiz, you will find original content with references.
Dengue is also know as breakbone fever. It is among the most painful of infections. There is a vaccine, but it is not as effective because of peculiarities of the four strains of Dengue virus.
Recently, two counties in south Florida have been found to now be ridden with the mosquito Aegpytus scapulis which is the insect vector for Yellow Fever. This virus has not been present on US soil since the mid 1900s. There is a vaccine, but no specific treatment.
This is one of the most deadly viruses in the world with mortality rates as high as 90%. There are, at present, five strains, and its close cousin, the Marburg virus. It has circled the globe. There is no specific treatement. A new viral vector mRNA vaccine has been shown to be effective.