From Ada, Oklahoma, USA:
My 11 year old daughter has diabetes, my sister just had a baby, and is choosing not to immunize, and I am very disturbed by my sister's decision. Will it possibly jeopardize my daughter's health to be around an unimmunized child? Since diabetes appears to be in my family's genes, how can my sister's choice of not immunizing her daughter affect her daughter if she does one day develop diabetes?
I have a sense that your sister has read somewhere that immunisation may increase the risk of developing type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes. This fiction has been firmly discounted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and by the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta as well as by the Public Health Department in New Zealand where some of the studies were carried out. (See a previous question on this topic.) I hope your sister will talk again to her pediatrician about this because immunisation really is one of the cornerstones of child health.
However, I don't believe that this decision should significantly affect your daughter. Also, in the rather unlikely event that your niece is genetically susceptible to diabetes, then if she gets measles for example, that may precipitate the onset of clinical diabetes, but it would not actually cause the autoimmune process. Not being immunised would make her vulnerable to the conditions targeted by immunisation; but not to other infections.
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