Posts Tagged ‘ Vaccines ’

Vaccine Education Programs May Not Be Effective

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their children–or who have decided against vaccination–are not likely to be swayed by awareness programs meant to educate parents about the importance of giving kids vaccines against preventible diseases like measles and mumps.  The programs, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics, can actually make parents express more reservations about vaccines. More from Reuters:

The study’s lead author told Reuters Health that the research is an extension of his work in political science that found it is difficult to correct people’s misinformation.

“We found political misinformation is often very difficult to correct and giving people the correct information can backfire,” said Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“We were interested in seeing if the messages public health agencies were putting out were effective,” he said.

Specifically, Nyhan and his colleagues examined public health campaigns about the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Although national U.S. MMR vaccination rates are high, the researchers write in Pediatrics that there are states where the rate dips below 90 percent, which is a commonly used threshold for so-call herd immunity. Herd immunity is the point where high vaccination rates within a population may also offer protection to the unvaccinated.

They also write that maintaining high levels of MMR vaccination is important because of the increasing number of measles cases reported in the U.S. and recent outbreaks in the UK. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can lead to death.

Another study published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers in the same journal found that vaccinating U.S. kids born in 2009 according to the routine immunization schedule will save about $70 billion and prevent over 40,000 early deaths and over 20 million cases of disease.

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Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

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High Number of Measles Cases Reported in California

Monday, February 24th, 2014

At least 15 cases of measles have been reported in California since January 1 of this year, a marked increase from the same time last year, by which time only two cases had been documented.  More from UPI:

Dr. Ron Chapman, state health officer and director of California Department of Public Health in Sacramento said the cases occurred throughout California.

“Immunization is the best defense against measles, with 99 percent of persons developing immunity after two doses,” Chapman said in a statement. “With an outbreak in the Philippines and measles transmission ongoing in many parts of the world outside of North and South America, we can expect to see more imported cases of this vaccine-preventable disease.”

Imported cases can spread to the community, especially among unvaccinated persons, including infants too young to be vaccinated, Chapman said.

High immunization rates in California have kept preventable childhood diseases, such as measles, at record lows during the past 20 years.

In 2000, measles was declared eliminated in the United States, but the number of cases per year in California ranged from four to 40 cases due to infected visitors or unvaccinated Americans visiting countries where measles still occurs.

Among the California cases with measles onset in 2014, three traveled to the Philippines, where a large outbreak is occurring, and two traveled to India, where measles is endemic, Chapman said.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is spread through the air when someone who is ill with the disease coughs or sneezes.

It is recommended children get their first dose of MMR — measles, mumps, rubella — vaccine at 12 to 15 months. The second dose of MMR is usually administered before children start kindergarten at ages 4 to 6. Immunized adults do not need boosters.

Image: Baby being vaccinated, via Shuterstock

Keep track of Baby’s vaccinations with our helpful schedule.

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

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HPV Vaccine Rates Remain Low, Report Finds

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Only about a third of American girls–and less than 7 percent of boys–received the vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, in 2012, a number that is too low for what public health officials had hoped would take hold when the vaccine was first introduced.  This is the finding of a report from the President’s Cancer Panel, which urged action to improve vaccination rates in order to prevent cervical, vaginal, anal, and some oral cancers.

Among other recommendations, the panel suggests that pharmacists be allowed to administer the vaccines, and that pediatricians be proactive in recommending the vaccine to patients.

The panel’s report has slightly different data from earlier findings, such as one report from the CDC that 1 in 5 boys are receiving the vaccine, and another CDC report, released in 2013, that said half of girls receive the vaccine.

The vaccine was first recommended for girls ages 11 and 12 beginning in 2006, and then recommended for boys in 2011.

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The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

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Rotavirus Vaccine May Carry Small Risk for Babies

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Babies who receive a vaccine against rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea, may face a small risk of a dangerous intestinal blockage, a new study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.  More from NBC News:

But researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the risk is very small and vaccination is still worthwhile. Vaccination “is still very beneficial,” said Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, who worked on one of the two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Before vaccination was introduced in the U.S. in 2006, rotavirus sent about 200,000 children to the emergency room, put 55,000 to 70,000 in the hospital, and killed 20 to 60 children under 5 years old each year. Vaccination has made a dramatic difference, averting 65,000 hospitalizations from 2007 to 2009, according to CDC estimates.

Two rotavirus vaccines are licensed in the U.S., RotaTeq since 2006 and Rotarix since 2008. In 1999, another vaccine, RotaShield, was voluntarily withdrawn a year after it hit the market because of an association with intussusception, the “telescoping” of one segment of intestine inside another. The blockage that results can tear the intestines.

In a five-year study of Rotarix, DeStefano’s team found 5.3 extra cases of intussusception per 100,000 vaccinated infants. Less than one case would be expected per 100,000 unvaccinated infants.

In a seven-year study of RotaTeq, another group of researchers found 1.5 extra cases of intussusception per 100,000 vaccinated infants. Again, less than one case would be expected per 100,000 unvaccinated infants.

“I would call this a relatively small risk,” said Dr. Katherine Yih, a researcher at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, who led the RotaTeq research. “It’s about one-tenth the additional risk of the original vaccine that was recalled in 1999.”

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Measles Remains Global, Domestic Threat 50 Years After Vaccine

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A half century after the vaccine against measles was introduced in 1963, the life-threatening disease has been eliminated in the U.S. but remains a global threat, claiming the lives of 430 children – 18 every hour – every day.  The international presence of measles is of domestic concern as well, putting families who choose not to have their children vaccinated at risk of exposure if they encounter an infected person who brought the disease from another country. More from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

In an article published on December 5 by JAMA Pediatrics, CDC’s Mark J. Papania, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues report that United States measles elimination, announced in 2000, has been sustained through 2011. Elimination is defined as absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months. Dr. Papania and colleagues warn, however, that international importation continues, and that American doctors should suspect measles in children with high fever and rash, “especially when associated with international travel or international visitors,” and should report suspected cases to the local health department. Before the U.S. vaccination program started in 1963, measles was a year-round threat in this country. Nearly every child became infected; each year 450 to 500 people died each year, 48,000 were hospitalized, 7,000 had seizures, and about 1,000 suffered permanent brain damage or deafness.

People infected abroad continue to spark outbreaks among pockets of unvaccinated people, including infants and young children. It is still a serious illness: 1 in 5 children with measles is hospitalized. Usually there are about 60 cases per year, but 2013 saw a spike in American communities – some 175 cases and counting – virtually all linked to people who brought the infection home after foreign travel.

“A measles outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The steady arrival of measles in the United States is a constant reminder that deadly diseases are testing our health security every day. Someday, it won’t be only measles at the international arrival gate; so, detecting diseases before they arrive is a wise investment in U.S. health security.

Image: Child getting a vaccine, via Shutterstock

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