Archive

Posts Tagged ‘measles vaccine’

Why Should Vaccinated Individuals Worry About Measles Outbreaks?

The United States is well on our way to a record year for measles cases.  So far in 2017, we’re on track to see more cases this year than last year.

In the state of Minnesota alone, where a Somali-American community was encouraged to refuse MMR vaccine during visits from Andrew Wakefield and other vaccine critics, a drop in vaccination rates has resulted in a dangerous measles outbreak.  So far, the Minnesota Department of Health has identified 66 total cases spread among four counties, with many cases involving the hospitalization of children.

SOTI-MeaslesCasesIG As the number of measles cases in MN is expected to climb, health departments across the U.S. are beginning to identify other measles cases as well.

For instance, the Maryland Department of Health is investigating a potential outbreak after a patients was admitted to Children’s National Medical Center in the District.  The patient had previously sought medical treatment at Prince George’s Hospital Center in MD, exposing countless people in that area as well.  Meanwhile, a teenaged tourist staying in a NJ hotel contracted measles, and now the New Jersey State Health Department fear other people may have been exposed before the patient was treated at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ.

With measles cases emerging across the U.S., and large-scale outbreaks of measles being reported by the World Health Organization in places like Romania and Italy, it’s important to ask if measles outbreaks should be a concern to those who are vaccinated.  

Aren’t vaccinated individuals protected during outbreaks?  And if so, why should we care if others remain unvaccinated?

When it comes to infectious diseases like measles, one person’s decision not to vaccinate can negatively impact the health of others.  There are plenty of unvaccinated individuals who rely on protection from the vaccinated, to include children under one year of age who are too young to be vaccinated for measles, individuals who have medical reasons that restrict them from being vaccinated, or people with compromised immune systems.  These individuals are all at great risk of contracting measles and suffering serious complications and the only protection they have comes from those who are vaccinated.

soti-herdimmunityfb

In fact, in order to keep measles from spreading, about 92-95% of the population needs to be immune to the disease.  Unfortunately, in the case of measles, even small pockets of un-immunized individuals can threaten the herd immunity threshold.  This is exactly why we are seeing an outbreak in Minnesota.

What’s the big deal?  Is measles even that dangerous? Read more…

Expert Commentary – Don’t Sacrifice The Good (measles vaccine) For The Perfect

February 16, 2015 17 comments

journalsEvery Child By Two is pleased to launch the next article in their Expert Commentary series that will be permanently housed on the Every Child By Two website and referenced here on Shot of Prevention. This series features guest writer Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, a retired epidemiologist who volunteers his time to provide in-depth and expert analysis of articles which ultimately make false claims about the safety of vaccines.

Today we will feature Dr. Harrison’s latest paper Don’t Sacrifice The Good For The Perfect: A Review of Cathy Jameson’s “A Strong Message About Vaccines.” which critiques a recent article by a vaccine skeptic that downplays the seriousness of measles disease and the public’s concern over the outbreak that continues to spread throughout the nation.  Cathy Jameson complains that the measles vaccine is not 100% effective and implies that the vaccine industry cannot be trusted because they benefit from profits on their products.  However, as Dr. Harrison states, “then one should not trust any product since everything sold is done so to make a profit.”

Dr. Harrison states in his introduction

“Though it’s unfortunate that the measles vaccine doesn’t perfectly protect everyone, it does protect most, preventing unnecessary suffering, hospitalizations, disabilities, and even deaths. And, if everyone were vaccinated, then the risks to those with weaker immune systems would also be significantly reduced. In other words, Don’t Sacrifice the Good for the Perfect

Click here to begin reading Dr. Harrison’s latest expert commentary.

Family’s Exposure to Measles Reveals Importance of Herd Immunity

February 9, 2015 115 comments

After being notified that he and his family were exposed to measles, Dr. Tim Jacks signed on to the family’s online CaringBridge journal to vent his frustration.  His 3 year old daughter Maggie is fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia (blood cancer) and as a result has a compromised immune system.  His 10 month old son Eli received all his recommended vaccines, but is too young for his first dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The children were with their mother at a Phoenix Children’s Hospital clinic when they were exposed to measles.  Frustrated and concerned, Dr. Jacks wrote a journal entry as though he was speaking directly to the person who was responsible for putting his family at risk. The next day, Kid Nurse reprinted the story and Dr. Jacks and his wife were soon being interviewed by various national news outlets, to include CNN, FoxNews as seen here:

Dr. Tim Jacks, DO, FAAP is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

As an Every Child By Two Immunization Champion, he has given us permission to share his story here on Shot of Prevention, as well as on our Vaccinate Your Baby website.  Every Child By Two has also invited him to present  testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on The Reemergence of Vaccine-Preventable Disease: Exploring the Public Health Successes and Challenges at 10am on Tuesday, February 10, 2015.  

We hope that his personal experiences will help educate Congress about the plight of those who depend on herd immunity and the importance of protecting those who are most vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases.

DrJacksAndFamily

To the parent of the unvaccinated child who exposed my family to measles:

I have a number of strong feelings surging through my body right now. Towards my family, I am feeling extra protective like a papa bear. Towards you, unvaccinating parent, I feel anger and frustration at your choices. Read more…

Rosalynn Carter Urges “Don’t Politicize Vaccinations”

February 6, 2015 3 comments

As various politicians have spoken out on the issue of vaccination, Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, co-founder of Every Child By Two – Carter/Bumpers Champions For Immunizations responded with this article that appeared in the Huffington Post earlier today.  

Couch for Poster CroppedDon’t Politicize Vaccinations

By Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

For more than four decades, I have joined with many others working to ensure the timely vaccination of children, and today I am saddened to see an outbreak of measles infecting more than 100 people in 14 states, many of them vulnerable infants.

Our country has achieved the highest immunization rates in history and thankfully the vast majority of parents are choosing to vaccinate their children on time. Yet, some parents today are being swayed by misinformation that has caused them to delay or decline vaccinating their children, jeopardizing the health of many others. I want all people to know that immunizations are safe, and that they work.

The current vaccine debate is being played out in the media as a partisan one, but historically, support for vaccines has been very nonpartisan. Major White House initiatives date as far back as Thomas Jefferson, who supported mass vaccination against smallpox. John F. Kennedy signed into law the first federal support program for vaccines as part of the Vaccine Assistance Act of 1962. President George H.W. Bush’s administration set a goal of 90 percent immunization rates and led efforts to create model state plans which have become an integral part of the infrastructure serving every community. The Clinton administration’s Vaccines for Children program removed cost as a barrier to eligible families.

When my husband became president in 1977, I was dismayed to learn that fewer than 20 states required vaccinations for school entry. Betty Bumpers, wife of Arkansas Governor Dale Bumpers, and I had been working for many years to increase immunization rates in our home states. We renewed our efforts in Washington by working closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to stop the transmission of measles, and we encouraged the passage of laws mandating vaccines for school entry. We were able to accomplish this the first year we were in Washington and now laws exist in every state. We then helped develop an improved immunization program, which included large increases in research for vaccines. Dr. Bill Foege, the head of CDC remained in that position after we came home, and continued to track the outcome of our efforts. By July 1982, only one state reported cases of measles. We celebrated the news that during one week there were no new cases of measles in the United States.

PD_0003 (3)Sadly, in 1989, a measles epidemic swept the country, claiming the lives of nearly 150 people, including many young children, leading us to found our organization, Every Child By Two, whose mission it is to educate the public about the dangers of preventable diseases and the need to complete the primary vaccinations by age two.

Over the first decade, we visited every state to galvanize elected officials and public health advocates and to establish immunization coalitions that today continue to work tirelessly in their communities to keep children healthy. Most importantly, we have enjoyed bi-partisan support for our efforts at both the state and federal levels, resulting in sound public health policies that have been instrumental in reaching record high immunization levels throughout the nation.

The current measles outbreak, however, is a poignant reminder of the vulnerability of those who are not protected through immunization. And, as the debate turns toward the issue of personal rights versus public health, it is important to remember that the ultimate goal is keeping children healthy.

When our children enter a licensed daycare site or school, do they not have the right to be protected from acquiring a deadly communicable disease? I say they do. State laws requiring vaccination for school admittance are based on sound science and are there to protect our nation’s children. As these laws come under scrutiny, I urge parents to speak up in support of mandated vaccinations in schools and daycare facilities.

Opting out of vaccinations for children should be done only after careful deliberation with a licensed medical provider, and state laws should require that any parent who wishes to do so be informed of the serious consequences to their child and other children. And above all, vaccinations should not be politicized. For hundreds of years, politicians on both sides of the aisles have supported vaccinations by making real and meaningful laws to protect the public’s health. Let’s not turn children’s health into a battle ground.

ecbt_logo_color (72dpi)Rosalynn Carter is the co-founder of Every Child By Two – Carter/Bumpers Champions for Immunization.  

In response to this article, we hope that readers will sign onto Every Child by Two’s petition at Change.org, which expresses the belief that children should be protected in daycare and schools from deadly diseases!

Click here to add your name.  

It’s Time For Change.org

February 4, 2015 3 comments

schoolbusIn the midst of the current measles outbreak, now is the time for states to take action to prevent against further outbreaks and to protect children who attend licensed daycare and schools. Do you support protecting children against vaccine-preventable diseases?  Do you believe that vaccinating not only protects the individual, but also the community?

 If so, sign Every Child By Two’s petition on Change.org!

vtstate

Our petition calls for state governments to take two simple actions to support parents and the medical and public health communities: 1) Tighten laws for non medical exemptions to school vaccination mandates and 2) Release vaccination exemption rates for licensed daycare centers and public schools in every state.

We believe these steps will help protect children from needless illness.  If you agree, sign our petition today and share it with everyone you know who cares about their children’s and community’s health!    After attaining our signatory goal we hope that our partners will make use of this petition to reflects the public’s ongoing support for school vaccine mandates.

 Click here to view a detailed map of school vaccine mandate exemptions permitted in your state.

Giving MMR Vaccine Early To Protect Children Against Measles

January 27, 2015 31 comments

MeaslesAs the number of measles cases tied to the Disneyland outbreak continues to rise, parents are growing concerned about possible measles exposure in children who are not yet old enough to receive their first dose of MMR (measles, mumps rubella) vaccine.  The CDC recommendation is to administer the first dose of MMR between the ages of 12-15 months.  However, this recommendation leaves children under one year of age at risk, and so Abigail, like many other parents with young children, raised her concerns on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page by asking

Does anyone have information on giving the MMR vaccine early? My child is just 6 months old. We live in Southern California, a hotbed of the latest measles outbreak. We’re right in it…even our local grocery store was exposed. 

I’m a stay at home mom and he has no siblings, and at this point, we are not taking him to public areas often. But this outbreak is incredibly worrisome. I read that children who travel can be offered the MMR vaccine at 6 months. At what point should we consider it for our child? Any studies on early vaccination — risks, effectiveness, etc?

mary_beth_koslap_petracob

Every Child By Two Scientific Advisory Board Member, Mary Beth Koslap-Petraco, DNP, PNP-BC, CPNP, FAANP responds to Abigail’s question as follows:

Read more…

Measles Cases in U.S. at a Twenty Year Record High

It’s all over the news.  Measles cases across the U.S. are appearing in record numbers.     

Measles-Cases-300pxIn a special briefing held by the CDC this afternoon, it was announced that the U.S. is experiencing a 20 year record high number of measles cases.  From January 1st through May 23rd there have already been 288 cases of measles reported. 

That’s the highest we’ve seen in the period between January and May since 1994.  By the end of 1994, the U.S. had reached 764 measles cases.  Let’s hope this is not where we are headed. 

Of course, this is not the kind of record you want to break.  But here it is.

 

There have been 288 cases, covering 18 different states, all part of 15 different outbreaks, the largest of which have occurred in Ohio, New York City and California.  

 

The face of this outbreak is varied. 

  • Cases have occurred in people 2 weeks of age to 65 years of age, but approximately half of the cases (52%) were in people over 20 years of age. 
  • 90% of people who were infected with measles were either not vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown.
  • Only 10% of the reported cases were in persons who were vaccinated.
  • Among the 195 patients who had measles and were unvaccinated, 165 declined vaccination because of religious, philosophical, or personal objections, 11 were missed opportunities for vaccination, and 10 were too young to receive vaccination.
  • There have been no deaths from the measles cases so far but 43 cases have required hospitalization, most often for pneumonia. 

Identifying the risks.

While everyone should be concerned about the outbreaks and take precautionary measures (due to the fact that measles is highly contagious and no vaccine is 100% effective), there are some people who are especially at risk.  These include anyone who is unvaccinated, as well as travelers and children who may be under-vaccinated or not up to date on their MMR vaccination. Read more…