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“Vaccinate Your Family” Focuses On Vaccines Throughout the Life Span

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.18.56 AMToday, in anticipation of its 25-year anniversary, Every Child By Two (ECBT) announced the expansion of its original mission of ensuring timely vaccination of all children by the age of two, to now include the importance of ensuring timely vaccination of people of all ages.

Through successful collaborations with national, state and local immunization partners since the organization’s inception in 1991, ECBT has made enormous strides towards removing immunization delivery barriers; reducing ethnic and racial disparities; educating the public about the importance of timely immunizations and the safety of vaccines; and supporting the development of sound public health policies.

Every Child By Two Executive Director Amy Pisani explains,

“As the science evolved and evidence that young children can be further protected through vaccination of pregnant women, adolescents and adults, our Board of Directors recognized the need to expand the official mission of the organization. We simply could not reach our goal of protecting our nation’s young children unless we also focused on protecting their families, caregivers and other close contacts.”

PD_0006Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Every Child By Two’s Co-founder and President adds,

“As our 25-year anniversary approaches in 2016 it is the perfect time for our Board to assess the successes of the past and reassess where our goals should be focused in the coming years. We have achieved so much over the past 25 years, but until people of all ages are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, we cannot rest.

As part of its expanded mission, ECBT also announced that their popular Vaccinate Your Baby (VYB) website and Facebook page (which reaches nearly seven million followers annually), has been replaced with the new Vaccinate Your Family website and Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page

Changing the names will help in ECBT’s efforts to educate people of all ages about the importance of vaccinating  against a number of diseases that will impact them at different times throughout their lives.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.06.49 AM

With the introduction of the new Vaccinate Your Family program, families can now go to ECBT’s social media platforms or the new website (VaccinateYourFamily.org) to obtain information about vaccines needed for pregnant women, children, adolescents and adults.

The new website, created specifically for the public, houses scientifically-accurate information on vaccines needed at each stage of life; details about the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases; answers to questions about the safety of vaccines; and personal stories from families who have been affected by deadly, but preventable infectious diseases.

Additionally, with the launch of this new initiative, ECBT is highlighting a number of new resources to promote the importance of vaccinating grandparents against influenza and whooping cough (also known as pertussis) in an effort to protect those too young to be fully vaccinated, and those who may be immune-compromised.Toolkit promo_Twitter-05

Rosalynn Carter explains the importance of the new initiative when she says,

“Vaccinating against these diseases will not only keep adults healthier, but will also help protect the whole family, including vulnerable newborns who are at higher risk of serious complications from these diseases. Since many grandparents have a personal connection to the vaccine-preventable diseases that used to gravely affect our society, they can also remind their adult children why we must remain vigilant in our efforts to vaccinate all family members.”

Amy Pisani adds,

“No one wants a loved one to be the victim of any illness, but it is especially heartbreaking to lose someone we love, or watch them suffer from a disease that could have been prevented through timely vaccination.  Every Child By Two strives every day to ensure that no more families suffer the loss of a loved one due to a preventable disease.  We take our mission very seriously.”

We hope you will visit the new Vaccinate Your Family website and let us know what you think.  You can also join the conversation on our Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page.

 

Help Launch New “Vaccinate Your Family” Initiative on #GivingTuesday

December 1, 2015 Leave a comment

2015-Its-Time-for-Giving1-300x300We have a day for giving thanks.

We have two days for getting deals.

And on December 1st we have #GivingTuesday;

a day when people are encouraged to celebrate generosity and give back.

As Every Child By Two (ECBT) continues our annual partnership with the Giving Tuesday initiative, we wish to thank you for your generous support over the years and ask for your continued support this year as we broaden our organizational mission.

With less than five employees, Every Child By Two has always been a small nonprofit with a big mission. We pride ourselves in putting our combined expertise and our passion into every project we undertake because we know that our programs have the potential to save lives.  Therefore, our gift – today and everyday – is one of health!

Since the organization’s inception in 1991, Every Child By Two has made enormous strides towards

  • removing immunization delivery barriers
  • reducing ethnic and racial disparities
  • educating the public about the importance of timely immunizations and the safety of vaccines
  • and supporting the development of sound public health policies

Thanks to your support, ECBT’s Vaccinate Your Baby initiative has exceeded our wildest expectations. Messaging from our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, our Shot of Prevention blog and our @ShotofPrev and @EveryChildBy2 Twitter accounts continue to reach as many as 7 million people each year with scientifically-accurate news and information highlighting the importance of timely immunizations.

As we approach our 25 year anniversary in 2016, Every Child By Two is expanding our mission to help reduce the incidence of preventable diseases among people of all ages.  Our new Vaccinate Your Family initiative, set to be revealed with the launch of a new website later this week, will focus on protecting people of all ages by promoting immunizations throughout the life span.

Our new site will include information on vaccines needed at each stage of life, to include vaccines for pregnant women, children, adolescents and adults.  It will also provide details about the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases, answer questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, and include personal stories from families who have been affected by deadly, but preventable infectious diseases.

GivingTuesdayVYFImageThis #GivingTuesday, Every Child By Two needs your support to ensure that this new Vaccinate Your Family program will make as big as an impact as our Vaccinate Your Baby campaign has. By making a tax deductible donation, you can help ensure that we continue to educate our communities about the importance of immunizations through the proliferation of credible vaccine resources.

Please visit our Every Child By Two donation page and consider a contribution that demonstrates the value of vaccines. Whether you can give $15, $50, $500, or more, your contribution this #GivingTuesday is critical to Every Child By Two’s newly expanded mission to save lives through timely vaccination.

We are truly grateful for your support and for all you do to ensure the health of our communities.

With Warmest Regards, 

Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two 

Why Delay Vaccines For Your Child?

October 8, 2015 57 comments

I hear this often.  

“I plan to vaccinate, but I’m going to wait until my child is a bit older and better able to handle the vaccines.”  

And this.

“I’ll vaccinate my child.  I just prefer to space them out for my child and only do one at a time.”

Parents who choose to delay vaccines, or design their own vaccination schedule, do so because they believe it will be safer for their baby.

They typically want their children to be protected from preventable diseases, but they’re not convinced they need to follow the CDC’s recommended schedule in order to do that.

Some parents find it hard to accept that one schedule can be suitable for all children and so they feel more comfortable with a schedule that they design themselves – one which gives them the freedom to administer their children’s vaccines one at a time, or maybe even when the child is older.  Some parents make these decisions because they’re concerned that the recommended schedule somehow puts their child at risk of suffering some adverse event or reaction.  Essentially, parents who delay vaccines, or space them out, believe they’re providing a safer option for their child.

Unfortunately, the opposite can be true.

Deviating from the well-tested and recommended schedule can actually put a child at greater risk of disease, without ever reducing their risk of adverse events.  Parents often fail to see the harm in spacing out vaccines, but they also fail to acknowledge the increased risk of disease and the data that supports the safety of the recommended schedule.

How can it be safe for such a small child to receive so many vaccines at a single visit?

Some parents worry that too many vaccines administered at such a young age may overwhelming a baby’s immune system.  Some might even believe that this could lead to injury or developmental delay.  It’s understandable that parents have these fears, but a good hard look at the science indicates that there is simply no evidence to support those fears.

Vaccines are designed to facilitate a baby’s own immune system, not overload it like the diseases have been known to do.  From the moment a baby is born they grow and thrive in a largely unsterile environment. Every day a baby’s immune system is bombarded with trillions of new threats in the air they breathe, on the hard surfaces they touch, and in everything they put in their mouths.

While children today receive more immunizations than their parents did, today’s vaccines are safer and contain less antigens.  Antigens are the elements of the vaccine that contain the weakened or killed versions of the germs that cause the disease.  They are the critical part of the vaccine that stimulate the immune response.  A child who receives all the recommended vaccines based on the 2014 childhood immunization schedule may be exposed to up to 315 antigens through vaccination by the age of 2However, in 1980, that figure was as high as 3,041 antigens.  So the argument that today’s schedule is more dangerous simply because there are more vaccines is simply not supported. Read more…

Every Child By Two Parent Advocate Receives Childhood Immunization Champion Award

April 20, 2015 2 comments

Each year I look over the list of Childhood Immunization Champion Award winners and I am truly inspired. 

During National Infant Immunization Week (April 18-25, 2015) the CDC and the CDC Foundation recognizes “Champions” from every state.  While the Champions are often public health professionals, doctors and nurses, being selected as a Champion isn’t just about doing your job.champ-award

Being a Champion requires an extraordinary effort.  It’s about going above and beyond.  And it’s about promoting childhood immunizations in a way that exemplifies a commitment to change, even in the face of adversity or resistance.

IN-TornhoutThis year I’m proud to say that I know a true Champion, and she is a parent advocate just like many of you.  The truth is that Katie Van Tornhout didn’t need a formal award to be considered a Champion in my eyes, but I’m thrilled to know that her passion and commitment are being recognized by people who devote their entire professional lives to promoting childhood immunizations.

callie_van_tornhoutI came to know Katie in a very unfortunate way.  After five years and four miscarriages, Katie and Craig Van Tornhout celebrated the birth of their daughter Callie in 2010.   Although their baby arrived a few weeks early, she was truly a miracle.  Despite the fact that they had barely left the house with Callie after her birth, their joy quickly turned to grief when a disease called pertussis, also known as whooping cough, claimed her life at just 38 days old.

It is in these challenging moments of adversity that we are often tested, and yet it was through the pain and sorrow of their loss that the Van Tornhouts – along with their angel Callie – have become forceful agents of change.  Since losing her daughter, Katie has been determined to spare other children from pertussis and prevent other parents from suffering a similar tragedy. Read more…

Timehop Brings Back Pertussis Memories Too Painful to Forget

January 28, 2015 2 comments

When the Timehop app was introduced to Facebook not everyone was thrilled.  While most people loved being reminded of photos and updates shared on Facebook in years past, others complained that there were some events they would prefer not to be reminded of;  the loss of a job, the details of a difficult divorce, or the pain of losing someone we love.

PertussisAlmost three years ago, shortly after Jonathan and Kathryn lost their infant son Brady to pertussis, they reached out to Every Child By Two and expressed an interest in advocating for pertussis vaccinations.  They hoped that by sharing their son’s story they could help educate people on the dangers of pertussis and the importance of vaccination, especially in preventing exposure among children, like Brady, who are too young to be vaccinated themselves.

Being tasked to help them write their story was a challenge.  How could I ever hope to do it justice?

Then it occurred to me… Kathryn had been recording Brady’s story all along as she continuously updated her friends and family of his condition on Facebook.  I read her posts and could immediately empathize with the emotional roller coaster they were on.  The hope.  The fear.  The unimaginable sorrow of watching their beautiful baby suffer, and ultimately lose his life as a result of a preventable disease.  

Brady’s story was originally shared here on Shot of Prevention.  We then worked to also get it posted to a site called Shot By Shot, which serves as a virtual library of personal stories of vaccine preventable diseases.  From there, Brady’s story went viral.

Today we honor all our Every Child By Two parent advocates who continue to help us raise pertussis vaccine awareness.  This day not only marks Brady’s third angel-versary,  but also the fifth angel-versary of Carter Dube, and later this week the fifth angel-versary of Callie Van Tornhout.

While Timehop may be reminding you of a fun winter outing, a delicious dinner shared among friends, or an exciting new promotion, Brady’s mom Kathryn has been using Timehop with Facebook to remind us of how precious life is.  Brady may not be here with us physically, but his battle was not entirely lost.  Brady continues to fight today, as his family and friends share his story, in hopes that no more children are lost to pertussis.

💕 my bubba it was the calm before the storm 

󾬏 my bubba it was the calm before the storm 󾍄

Ugh I hate this disease!! No family should have to endure this pain vaccination is so important

Ugh I hate this disease!! No family should have to endure this pain 󾍄 vaccination is so important

Kathryn Riffenburg

18 hrs · Timehop · 

Our life turned upside down. I remember the ambulance ride and the rushing of the doctors when we reached Boston. We felt like we were dropped in the middle of a tornado everything happening so fast. We entered Boston with our son and left without him. I will also stand by what I advocate. Vaccines are important and save lives. Too many like Brady die because someone chooses not to vaccinate, and he was too young to receive his vaccines.

 — feeling heartbroken.

Our life turned upside down. I remember the ambulance ride and the rushing of the doctors when we reached Boston. We felt like we were dropped in the middle of a tornado everything happening so fast. We entered Boston with our son and left without him. I will also stand by what I advocate vaccines are important and save lives. Too many like Brady die because someone chooses not to vaccinate, and he was too young to receive his vaccines.

Kathryn Riffenburg

6 hrs · Timehop · 

This was my last update of Brady’s health. It was the worst pain to endure. Kissing your baby on the forehead and saying goodbye for the last time is something a parent should never have to do. These communicable diseases are nothing to take lightly. They take babies from there parents, siblings and families. The best line of protection we as parents can give to your own baby as well as other babies like Brady, is vaccination. Another parent should not be planning their child’s funeral because of these diseases. Or anything for that matter. Please light a candle for our bubba and tell his story to at least one other person today 💕

 — feeling emotional.

This was my last update of Brady's health. It was the worst pain to endure.  Kissing your baby on the forehead and saying goodbye for the last time is something a parent should never have to do.  These communicable diseases are nothing to take lightly. They take babies from there parents, siblings and families. The best line of protection we as parents can give to your own baby as well as other babies like Brady, is vaccination. Another parent should not be planning their child's funeral because of these diseases. Or anything for that matter. Please light a candle for our bubba and tell his story to at least one other person today 󾬏

We thank Kathryn for allowing us to share her personal posts, and we continue to thank all the strong and courageous parents who continue to share their personal sorrows in a public way in hopes of a better tomorrow.

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…

Shot of Prevention’s Year in Review: Most Popular Posts from 2014

December 31, 2014 4 comments

As we prepare for the challenges of 2015, we want to thank everyone who has contributed to our success in 2014.  Once again, the past year has been one of tremendous growth.  We’ve seen a record number of views and shares on a variety of Shot of Prevention blog posts, and we’re especially grateful to our blog contributors and many new subscribers.

In looking back over our efforts from this past year,  we would like to share a list of some of our most popular blog posts from 2014.  We hope that you will revisit these posts and share them with others so that we can continue to engage more people in these important immunization discussions.

1. Our Life Without Emily: Flu, Fear, Guilt and Regret

Emily Lastinger This blog post was written by Joe Lastinger, Board Member of Families Fighting Flu, who lost his young daughter Emily to flu.  He explains that guilt and regret are often the hidden forces behind a lot of the good that is done in the world.  And he explains the guilt and regret that he feels in his failure to adequately protect his daughter from influenza. To here more about Emily’s story, click here.

2. Mother’s Facebook Updates Detail Son’s Tragic Death

BradyAndJonInfants don’t get begin getting immunized against pertussis until they are two months old.  Prior to that, they remain vulnerable to this highly contagious disease at a time when they’re most fragile. In this post, Kathy shares the story of her son Brady’s battle with pertussis in the same way that she did with her closest friends and family; through her Facebook status updates.  This small glimpse into one family’s heartbreak reminds us of how fragile a young life can be, and highlights how important adult pertussis boosters are in preventing pertussis in infants. Read the story for yourself here.

3. Infant Dies at 38 Days But Her Story Tries To Save Lives

Families_callie_van_tornhout

After five years and four miscarriages, Katie and Craig Van Tornhout celebrated the birth of their miracle baby, Callie.  But their joy quickly turned to grief when Callie contracted pertussis and lost her life at just 38 days old. This story, which you can read here, talks about Callie’s struggle, but also highlights the important work the Van Tornhout’s have done to try to save the lives of other children by advocating for adult Tdap boosters in their community and across the country.

4. Measles Outbreaks Are Concerning, Even to the Vaccinated

measles-cases-616px

The U.S. is experiencing a record number of measles cases, with 610 cases in 24 states so far this year. This is the highest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000. This may also explain why our fourth most popular blog post of the year was one that explained why measles outbreaks are concerning even to the vaccinated.  To find out why everyone should be concerned about measles outbreaks, read the blog post here.

5. The Cost of Vaccine Misinformation

Image courtesy of the Refutations to Anti-Vaccine MemesDr. Dorit Reiss, is a Professor of Law, at the University of California Hastings College of Law.  She  has contributed several guest posts throughout the year, utilizing her legal expertise to examine the social policies of immunization.  This particular post, which ranked as our fifth most popular blog post of the year, highlights the cost of vaccine misinformation.  In this post, Dr. Reiss explores who may be liable when harm occurs as a result of a parent’s decision not to vaccinate – a decision often based on misinformation from a third-party. Read the details of Dr. Reiss’ explanations here.

If you have suggestions for topics you would like us to address in 2015, or you would like to contribute a guest post for publication, please feel free to let us know by commenting below or emailing us at shotofprevention@gmail.com.  

If you want to ensure you don’t miss any of our new posts in 2015, simply subscribe to Shot of Prevention by clicking the link at the top right of this page.  You can also “Like” our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page to receive updates on important immunization news and join in on group discussions.   

Thanks again for your continued support and best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!