With a population of 127 million, Japan has the healthiest children and the very highest “healthy life expectancy” in the world—and the least vaccinated children of any developed country. The U.S., in contrast, has the developed world’s most aggressive vaccination schedule in number and timing, starting at pregnancy, at birth and in the first two years of life. Does this make U.S. children healthier? The clear answer is no. The U.S. has the very highest infant mortality rate of all industrialized countries, with more American children dying at birth and in their first year than in any other comparable nation—and more than half of those who survive develop at least one chronic illness. Analysis of real-world infant mortality and health results shows that U.S. vaccine policy does not add up to a win for American children.
Japan and the U.S.; Two Different Vaccine Policies
In 1994, Japan transitioned away from mandated vaccination in public health centers to voluntary vaccination in doctors’ offices, guided by “the concept that it is better that vaccinations are performed by children’s family doctors who are familiar with their health conditions.” The country created two categories of non-compulsory vaccines: “routine” vaccines that the government covers and “strongly recommends” but does not mandate, and additional “voluntary” vaccines, generally paid for out-of-pocket. Unlike in the U.S., Japan has no vaccine requirements for children entering preschool or elementary school.
Japan also banned the MMR vaccine in the same time frame, due to thousands of serious injuries over a four-year period—producing an injury rate of one in 900 children that was “over 2,000 times higher than the expected rate.”