The link between homebirth and vaccine rejectionismA number of people have asked why a blog about homebirth has posts about vaccine rejectionism. The reason is that homebirth advocacy and vaccine rejectionism are linked. I am not the only one who think so. At the recent 42nd annual National Immunization Conference sponsored by the CDC, officials of the Oregon Department of Health Services presented an educational session on The Association between Birth Place, Birth Attendant, and Early Childhood Immunizations.
Objectives:In other words, parents who chose a direct entry midwife were approximately 8 times more likely to reject vaccines than the average parent. Interestingly, those who chose a certified nurse midwife for their care did not share in vaccine rejectionism.
The objective of the present study is to assess the association between type of birth attendant, place of birth, and immunization seeking.
Oregon birth records for 2002, 2003 and 2004 were matched with the Oregon ALERT immunization registry. Shots in a 4:3:1:3:3:1 series received by age two were used for estimating population based rates. Birth location, such as in-hospital, at home, or birth center, and birth attendant were compared to rates of population capture into the registry by age two, and against UTD rates.
Overall 132,473 Oregon births were included in this study. While 97.9% of births were in hospitals, 82.7% had a M.D. as the attendant. The 2,200 children who were born in locations other than a hospital or freestanding birthing center were 8.8 times more likely not to be seeking or receiving immunizations than those born in hospitals. Those with a direct-entry or non-certified midwife in attendance were 7.4 and 8.8 times more likely to not be shot seeking as those with an M.D. However the 19,600 children born with a certified nurse midwife in attendance at a hospital were 1.1 times more likely to be shot seeking than those with an M.D. Similar results were obtained for UTD rates for these groups.
A birth outside of a hospital is a strong factor both for not seeking immunizations, and for not completing series for those that do seek immunizations.
This finding is not surprising. Homebirth advocacy and vaccine rejectionism are linked by fundamental traits. Both depend on a lack of understanding of basic science. Both depend on a lack of understanding of statistics. Both depend on a lack of understanding of the subject matter, childbirth or immunology. Because of this lack of basic understanding, both groups of parents are easily manipulated and misled by "alternative" practitioners. Moreover, both groups have a reflexive distrust in authority, and a belief that rejecting authority is, in itself, a mark of being "educated". In other words, neither homebirth advocacy nor vaccine rejectionism is based on scientific facts. Both are philosophical orientations that have more to do with the parents' views of themselves than with the actual risks and benefits.
Perhaps the most important way in which homebirth advocacy and vaccine rejectionism are linked is that both place young children at increased risk of death or disability as a result of parental ignorance.
Labels: vaccine rejection