Daily Clips

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The anti-vaccine movement’s influence may be waning
Vox
November 20, 2017
"Health researchers have been convinced the anti-vaccine movement is gaining traction in America. Earlier this year, Minnesota battled its largest measles outbreak in nearly 30 years - an outbreak sparked entirely by vaccine deniers. That scare was followed by a study in the prestigious medical journal JAMA showing large measles outbreaks have been on the rise in America recently, fueled by unvaccinated people. These developments - along with the election of Donald Trump, who in the past has suggested vaccines hurt children and cause autism - have had the public health community increasingly concerned. But now there's early evidence that the number of parents refusing vaccines for their kids has actually plateaued, at least in recent years. While vaccine refusal rates have overall increased since 2011, they leveled off 2013 through 2016, researchers writing in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases found."
Infant vaccination rates remain high despite racial, insurance disparities
Healio
November 21, 2017
"Although vaccination rates remain at or over 90% for many 19- to 35-month-old children, decreases in several vaccines were observed between 2015 and 2016, with notable disparities observed regarding insurance status and socioeconomic status. 'Vaccination is the most effective intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases in young children,' Holly A. Hill, MD, PhD, from the immunization services division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, and colleagues wrote. To examine immunization coverage in the United States for suggested pediatric vaccines in children between 19 and 35 months, the researchers gathered data collected from the 2016 National Immunization Survey-Child (NIS-Child). From this data, Hill and colleagues evaluated trends in coverage by month and year of birth through weighted linear regression."
How Do We Increase Vaccination Rates in Colorado?
5280 Magazine (CO)
November 20, 2017
"Colorado's had a contentious relationship with vaccines over the years, to say the least. That's mostly because it's one of just 18 states that allows parents to opt out of immunizing their children for personal reasons-instead of just religious beliefs or medical issues like a severe allergic reaction. The good news: More local kids than ever are getting their recommended shots on time, thanks to ramped-up efforts to keep track of and target undervaccinated populations in both rural, medically underserved areas and ultra-liberal urban centers. One of those successful initiatives involved an online tool that connected mothers-to-be with experts. In a three-year study published this month, Kaiser Permanente researchers showed that pregnant Colorado women who had the ability to engage with a medical authority figure-such as a pediatrician and a vaccine safety specialist-were more likely to have their babies immunized in a timely manner than local mothers who only received information about vaccines during their infants' well-child visits at two, four, six, and 12 months."
Action News Jax Investigates spike in unvaccinated students
WJAX-TV (FL)
November 20, 2017
"An Action News Jax investigation uncovers a spike in unvaccinated children in several local school districts. Parents can opt out of vaccinations, but many doctors warn the more children who aren't protected, the greater risk of an outbreak. Action News Jax investigator Letisha Bereola spent months combing through the data and pinpointed which schools have the highest percentage of unvaccinated children. Protecting their child is a parent's top priority. But with the large amount of contradictory or incorrect information online about the safety of vaccines, making smart choices for their safety can be tricky. 'It causes all kinds of problems. It causes tumors and stuff. That's what we are hearing and finding on the internet. That's the reason we opted out,' one father told us. But that's not true, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Vaccines are safe, rigorously tested and constantly monitored by scientists for any sign that they may cause harm, according to the World Health Organization."
Fort Myers mom has unique plea for vaccinations
WZVN-TV (FL)
November 20, 2017
"You've heard the strong opinions of people for and against vaccinations, but a Fort Myers woman's unique plea is one you've never heard before. Rachel Bell is a mother of four, but what happened to her second oldest has her entering the controversial debate over vaccines... Rachel is lobbying other parents to get their kids vaccinated because Jack can't get most vaccines... For her, that means begging other moms, even the ones who don't believe in vaccines, to get them, so their kids don't get sick and spread the virus to her superhero. 'It's hard for me because I know a lot of people disagree with it, and I feel selfish saying, 'So what? You gotta get your child vaccinated.' Bell is going up against a growing movement of anti-vaxxers, people who believe vaccines are more harmful that beneficial, particularly that they cause autism. There are people in Southwest Florida who agree."
State calls for extra mumps vaccination in light of outbreak
Daily News-Miner (AK)
November 21, 2017
"Cases of the mumps are on the rise in Anchorage, according to a health bulletin put out by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services... The state has identified 62 cases of confirmed, probable and suspected mumps, according to the bulletin. Most live in Anchorage or spent time there. It's the first outbreak in five years, according to the state health and social services website. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging people in high-risk groups to get at least three doses of the MMR vaccine."
Erie County reports first mumps case since 2015
Erie Times-News (PA)
November 21, 2017
"An Erie County adult was diagnosed with mumps in September, the county's first reported case of the communicable, viral disease since 2015 and only the third case in 19 years. Erie County Department of Health officials did not provide the patient's name because of privacy laws. 'This was an adult who traveled overseas and was exposed to the mumps virus while overseas,' said Charlotte Berringer, R.N., director of community health for the health department. 'We don't know the patient's vaccine status because we weren't given an accurate contact number, but no other cases have been reported.'"
Doctors warn of new clusters of highly contagious whooping cough
WSB-TV (GA)
November 21, 2017
"Doctors are warning parents about a powerful infection they are seeing in local emergency rooms. Channel 2's Linda Stouffer spoke with doctors as they discussed why they think whooping cough is showing up and their concerns because more people will be getting together over the holidays. Doctors said whooping cough gets its name from the way people who have it cough: with a raspy gasp. Emergency workers at Children's Healthcare Atlanta are seeing a new cluster of cases of the disease, also known as pertussis. 'In a young baby, it can be extremely serious, and we have had children who die every year, who died from complications from pertussis,' said Dr. Andi Shane, of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. 'The main challenge is children who are coughing a lot and unable to drink or eat well or stay hydrated.' Shane said the disease is highly contagious. Some young patients who are coming in have not been vaccinated."
At flu shot deadline, hundreds of Essentia Health employees could lose jobs
MPR News (MN)
November 20, 2017
"About 300 employees of Duluth-based Essentia Health could lose their jobs for refusing to comply with the company's new mandatory flu shot policy. Monday is the deadline for the company's 15,000 employees to get the vaccine, or receive a medical or religious exemption. Essentia says 98 percent have complied. Scot Harvey is not one of them. Harvey, who lives outside Chisholm on the Iron Range, has worked as an administrative representative at Essentia Health in Duluth for about a year. He said Essentia denied his request for a medical exemption because he missed the deadline to apply. 'I don't see how an employer can have the right to decide what I have to do to my body in order to keep a job,' he said. For years Essentia's flu shot policy for employees was purely voluntary, and about 70 percent got the shot. A couple years ago Essentia tried to motivate more employees to get vaccinated by making them explicitly opt out of getting the shot. That boosted the compliance rate to 82 percent."
Outbreaks worsening national shortage of hep A vaccine, says CDC
Becker's Hospital Review
November 20, 2017
"The U.S. is experiencing a shortage of the hepatitis A vaccine amid ongoing outbreaks of the disease nationwide, reports CNN. An outbreak in Southeast Michigan has sickened 495 people and caused 19 deaths since August 2016. A separate outbreak in California, which started in November 2016, has sickened at least 644 people and caused 21 deaths. California health officials declared the outbreak a public health emergency in San Diego County Sept. 1 and have administered at least 68,500 hepatitis A vaccination doses to help curb the outbreak. However, 'current supply is not sufficient to support demand for vaccine,' the CDC told CNN in a written statement. The agency has been working with public health officials to administer vaccinations to the most at-risk populations. CDC is also communicating with vaccine manufacturers 'to monitor and manage public and private vaccine orders to make the best use of supplies ... during this period of unexpected increased demand,' according to CNN."
OPINION: Shingles: Don’t Let It Get You The Way It Got Me
Kaiser Health News
November 20, 2017
"Shingles tried to kill me. Like an insidious invading army, the virus that more commonly causes chickenpox in children attacked the right side of my head, leaving me permanently deaf in my right ear. Shingles almost destroyed my voice box, too, and it caused my right eyelid and lower lip to temporarily droop. It struck out of nowhere. One day I was in Ocean City, Md., enjoying spring break with my family. The next day, I was knocking on my doctor's door in agony after feeling as though someone was repeatedly jabbing and twisting a butcher knife inside my head. That pain was actually an acute inflammation of the nerve endings in my eardrum. Now, five years later, having won my wretched battle with the virus, I have some advice for fellow middle-agers: Get the shingles vaccine. Particularly if you've reached the big 5-0."
EDITORIAL: Science Lights the Way
Scientific American
November 21, 2017
"In 1998 British researcher Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues published a paper showing a link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and the incidence of autism in children. During the following years the paper was exposed as an elaborate fraud and was retracted by the Lancet, the journal that published it. Dozens of follow-up studies have since shown zero connection between vaccines and autism. That paper, though thoroughly discredited, started a public panic (with celebrity backing) and resulted in tragic outcomes: record low vaccination rates among children, outbreaks of measles in theme parks, resurgences of diseases once considered rare. Nearly half the American public believes in the vaccine-autism link or is unsure about it. It is a case in which scientific evidence has struggled to convince. Sadly, this story is not unique in a political climate that disregards sound reasoning and widely accepted scientific fact... As Daniel T. Willingham writes in 'Trust Me, I'm a Scientist,' humans say they value accuracy. Somehow, though, they let emotions get in the way of seeing the world for how it truly is. This is where science can help us: by shining a light on facts in an uncertain universe, in uncertain times."