How strong are the country’s defenses against vaccine-preventable diseases and how well are U.S. citizens protected? What we can do to make our “ImmUnion” stronger and more resilient in the face of emerging health threats?
Every Child By Two (ECBT) has shared a special report on the State of Our Nation’s “ImmUnion” with members of congress to highlight the power of vaccines and suggest areas of action to fortify the health of our nation. While the medical community has the ability to protect Americans of all ages from deadly infectious diseases, public health workers continue to battle disease outbreaks across the nation that threaten the health and wellbeing of our citizens. Many Americans continue to lack access to life-saving vaccines that can protect themselves, their families and their communities from preventable diseases, while others fail to realize that vaccines are available to protect them from many different life-threatening diseases.
This comprehensive 2017 State of the ImmUnion Report highlights the successes of vaccines, the economic and societal savings incurred from vaccines, challenges facing the public health system, and key areas we must focus on to achieve optimal protection for all Americans.
ECBT is hopeful that this report will not only help congressional leaders learn more about the vaccination rates in their home states, but that it will also help public health advocates prioritizing the benefits of immunizations in the years ahead.
ECBT is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure this message reaches every level of state and federal government – from the local public health department, to the President of the United States. But we need your help!
You are an important part of the equation. Join us in helping to make sure that immunizations remain a public health priority by taking these simple steps:
1. Support critical public health funding.
Having an adequate public health budget ensures that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the states and the territories are all prepared to:
- respond to existing and emerging vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks,
- conduct community outreach,
- educate providers and the public
- maintain immunization registries, and
- provide vaccine services to the community.
The report highlights the success of vaccines and discusses the economic and societal saving that occur as a result of a well-vaccinated population.
Unfortunately, federal vaccine appropriations have not met the levels requested in annual justification reports from the CDC, and state appropriations are nearly non-existent. This has resulted in a loss of personnel and the disbanding of several highly effective statewide coalitions which had supported immunization efforts for decades.
Additionally, if and when the Affordable Care Act is repealed, nearly $600 million in funds that currently support the CDC and state immunization activities may be eliminated. You can learn more about the critical funding issues here, and if you want to ensure legislators reallocate these funds, take a moment to add your name to Every Child By Two’s Vaccine Funding Support Statement here.
2. Support the science behind vaccines and the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule.
The public must be continually reassured that the timing of vaccines is carefully considered prior to CDC recommendation, and that vaccine safety is heavily monitored with pre and post licensure procedures. There are many disproven myths about the safety of vaccines and we need immunization champions who are well-informed and ready to respond to concerns with evidence-based responses. This report includes specific resources that can be helpful in addressing vaccine safety and policy concerns and even provides links to state specific immunization rates.
3. Join your local immunization coalition to see how you can work to advance the State of the ImmUnion in your local area.
Learn more about the vaccination rates in your state, and the impact vaccine-preventable diseases are having there, by accessing the resources cited in the State of the ImmUnion report, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics’ interactive map and the CDC’s VaxView. If you want to connect with other immunization advocates in your state, simply send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help connect you with your local immunization coalition.
4. Communicate directly with your state and federal legislators to encourage them to support a strong State of the ImmUnion.
Whether you call, email or Tweet your state and federal legislators, grab their attention by including any of the informative graphics from this special report. Simply include a link to the PDF report of the 2017 State of the ImmUnion along with some of the images we’ve compiled in our State of the ImmUnion social media toolkit and you’ll be helping to get the message out. (And don’t forget to tag @ShotofPrev in your tweets so we can help amplify your message.)
Every Child By Two’s Vaccinate Your Family campaign is an initiative aimed at raising awareness of the critical importance of vaccines across the lifespan. We are encouraged by the actions of so many devoted immunization champions all across the nation, and we hope you will join our efforts to ensure a strong “State of the ImmUnion”. Be sure to subscribe to our Shot of Prevention blog, like our Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter at @ShotofPrev to continue to receive updates on how you can join us as a voice for positive change!
Founded in 1991 by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Former First Lady of Arkansas Betty Bumpers, Every Child By Two works to protect families and individuals from vaccine-preventable diseases by raising awareness of the critical need for timely immunizations for people of all ages, increasing the public’s understanding of the bene ts of vaccines, increasing con dence in the safety of vaccines, ensuring that all families have access to life-saving vaccines, and advocating for policies that support timely vaccination. Learn more at ecbt.org.
It’s encouraging to see what can be accomplished when we insist on accurate vaccination messages.
Earlier this week, a concerned parent who frequently comments on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, alerted us to an article on The Discovery Channel’s TLC site entitled “5 Things to Consider When Deciding to Vaccinate Your Child”. Unfortunately, the article contained numerous inaccuracies and ignored a great deal of scientific evidence regarding vaccines. Since the average parent is not especially well-versed on this issue, the concern was that this type of reporting could misled readers into forming negative opinions of vaccines based on false information. Every Child By Two shared their concern with various health related organizations and their consensus was that something needed to be done to correct the false information and ensure parents received scientifically accurate evidence about vaccines. The AAP offered to draft a letter of concern and multiple organizations signed on in support.
The letter that they delivered to The Discovery Channel last night read as follows:
One of the most important decisions parents make to ensure their children’s health is the decision to vaccinate them against potentially deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases. To do so, parents need accurate, complete information about immunizations – which they often look for online. So we were astounded when we found an article on a Discovery Company website that perpetuates dangerous myths and untruths about vaccines. We cannot understand how a company that celebrates the latest in scientific achievements would feature an article so inaccurate and wholly biased against science.
The article, “5 Things to Consider When Deciding to Vaccinate Your Child” by Josh Clark begins with the claim that medical science has already “conquered” diseases like polio and pertussis, or whooping cough. Polio is still endemic in parts of the world, and pertussis is killing infants here in the United States. Several states have declared epidemics of pertussis this year. Measles, too, is making a comeback, with more cases in the U.S. in 2011 than in 15 years. These diseases pose real threats to children who are unprotected by vaccines.
As with all medications, vaccines do carry some risks, most commonly fever and pain at the injection site. These risks are tiny compared to vaccines’ benefits. But instead of an honest discussion of the facts, Josh Clark perpetuates false and misleading notions. A few errors were corrected in the second version of the article posted May 16, but we cannot understand how they ever made it through your review process. It would have been easy, for example, to learn that the vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella does not and never did contain thimerosal, and thimerosal has been removed as a preservative from all other childhood vaccines in the United States, except for some influenza vaccines.
The fallacies don’t stop there. Read more…
Several weeks ago, there was a link to a petition that was posted on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page. The petition was in objection to an anti-vaccination ad running every hour from April 11th – 28th on the large CBS jumbotron in New York City’s Times Square.
If you didn’t know much about the organizations who have sponsored the ad – the National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC), in conjunction with Mercola.com – you just might think that they were providing viewers with government sponsored vaccine information. The concern is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. These two organizations are directly opposed to the government’s public health efforts and childhood vaccinations.
The debate over this ad is quite complex. However, in a recent Salon.com article, Dr. Parikh does a fine job of highlighting some of the most critical concerns with this anti-vaccination messaging.
One particular concern raised by this ad is one of ethics. If advertising messages are harmful to the health of the general population, is there no one who has a responsibility to restrict those messages? Should the organization that is selling the advertising space be held accountable for the advertising messages they display? Dr. Parikh explores these questions among others, and acknowledges his many concerns. Read more…