Letter to the Editor

In her Sept. 11 letter, Margaret Tweet concludes with “The U.S. pushes the most vaccines for babies and young children in the developed world and has the highest rate of baby death.” While both facts are true, coupling them together presents a dangerous untruth.  Several factors impact the higher infant mortality rate in the U.S. and little valid evidence supports the claim that the vaccine push is one of these. Reporting differences are one factor. The U.S. is more likely to report an infant born at the threshold of viability as a live birth. Other countries are more likely to count them as miscarriages or stillbirths. Babies born in the U.S. tend to have a lower birth weight predisposing them to worse outcomes. The U.S.’s higher infant mortality rate is driven by higher infant mortality among those of lower socioeconomic status. Infants born to college-educated married women in the U.S. have mortality rates that are basically the same as those in other developed countries. A multitude of factors impact the higher infant mortality rate in the U.S., and drawing an unwarranted conclusion from a few correct facts is extremely dangerous.  

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