Daily Clips

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Amid growing vaccine refusals, Texas gears up for legal fight
Associated Press
December 7, 2016
"Texas could be the epicenter for the nation's next major fight over stricter requirements for immunizations as rates of schoolchildren who refuse shots for non-medical reasons climb in America's second-largest state. The number of Texas kindergarten through 12th grade students who reported filing conscientious exemptions for at least one immunization last school year increased 19-fold since 2003 - though that is still less than 1 percent of enrolled students, according to the Immunization Partnership, a pro-vaccination Texas nonprofit. Texas requires parents to approve immunizations, rather than mandating shots and having families opt out if they object to them. Some Texas state lawmakers said Wednesday they want to create a system where students who oppose immunizations would have to opt out of otherwise standard immunizations - and could only do so after watching a video on the medical effectiveness of vaccines...'The fact is that people have a choice to not immunize, but we need the herd effect,' Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat who has filed an immunization 'opt-in' bill, told reporters Wednesday. 'We need a significant number to be immunized to not only protect themselves but to protect the larger community.'"
Non-medical vaccine exemptions increase 9%
December 7, 2016
"According to state data, roughly 45,000 Texas students opted out of school-required vaccines last year for non-medical reasons. That's a nine percent increase over the previous year. In an effort to improve immunization rates in the future, health professionals held a press conference at the steps of the State Capitol on Wednesday morning. Advocates said they aren't trying to make it illegal not to vaccinating, but they do want the public to be more informed about the decision. Since 2003, there has been a 19-fold increase in children not being vaccinated, according to state data. Of the 25 most populous counties in Texas, Travis County has the highest percentage of unvaccinated K-12 students. In North Texas, mumps cases have more than doubled in five years. That area has three times number of unvaccinated students as the statewide rate."
N.J. Pediatricians Say ‘Troubling’ Trend Against Vaccination Is Driving Patient Dismissal Policy
December 7, 2016
"Parents opposing vaccinations may find themselves between a rock and a hard place. In New Jersey vaccinations are required for school, but religious exemptions exist, and as they increase some doctors are adjusting with a new policy. Shopping around for a new pediatrician in northern New Jersey, one mother with a baby on the way knew she'd be asked about her family's health history. Now, one question has become an even more crucial part of the upfront conversation between a pediatrician and parent. That question is, 'Do you vaccinate your children?' For the first time ever the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying as a last resort, that doctors can dismiss a family from their practice if they refuse immunization. It's a response to what most pediatricians find troubling; an increasing number of parents who don't trust vaccinations. For the 2015-2016 school year - citing religious reasons, more than 9,500 kids got exemptions form vaccinations in New Jersey. That's a jump of nearly 600 percent from a decade ago."
What You Need to Know About the Spike In Mumps Outbreaks
December 7, 2016
"You don't hear about people getting mumps very often in the U.S. anymore, which is largely due to the mumps vaccine that became available in 1967, and that since 1971 has been part of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Since then, the number of cases per year has sharply declined...But according to the Centers for Disease Control, we are in the middle of a major spike right now: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that based on the latest report from the CDC, 3,832 provisional mumps cases have been recorded in 2016. Compared to the 1,329 cases recorded in 2015, that's a pretty big jump. The number of cases hasn't been this high since 2006...So what's the cause of this sudden increase in cases? Paul Offit, M.D... told WSJ that 'while most measles outbreaks these days are the result of large populations not getting vaccinated, mumps cases are more often due to faded immunity among those who were vaccinated years ago.' So basically, there's not much you can do except try to make sure your vaccine hasn't worn off. Still, Offit doesn't believe that having people get a third booster shot is the answer to preventing the spread of mumps."
Georgetown University student diagnosed with mumps
December 7, 2016
"Georgetown University students are checking their immunization records, to ensure they've received the mumps vaccine. This all comes after a student was diagnosed with the contagious virus. 'I was kind of surprised. I haven't heard about it being around for a long time. However I was also glad that Georgetown sent out the alert and let us know what was happening,' said Devin Slaugenhaupt. 'I definitely went back to check my immunization records and make sure that all my roommates are good as well.' 'I am pretty worried, especially because I am living in a very communal setting....it's really important to sanitize,' said Mica Bernhard."
Mumps outbreak prompts MU to recommend third MMR vaccine
The Columbia Missourian (MO)
December 7, 2016
"Although active mumps cases have begun to decline at MU, students and recent visitors are now being encouraged to receive a third measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. A statement on the MU Student Health Center's website said the decision was made after talking with public health officials. As of Wednesday, 193 mumps cases at MU had been identified, according to the health center's website. Of those cases, 24 are still active and 169 people are considered recovered, meaning they are no longer contagious and are back in class. MU spokesman Christian Basi said students are currently the most at-risk population, and that's why they are being urged to get the third vaccine. So far, there have been no cases among faculty or staff. Students who have already contracted mumps should now have immunity and shouldn't need the third shot, Basi said. The vaccine costs $86 without insurance, Basi said, and the health center will work with all students regardless of health insurance status."
200 unvaccinated students forced to stay home amid Auburn mumps outbreak
December 7, 2016
"King County Public Health has advised Auburn School District to exclude more than 200 students from school due to a mumps outbreak. The excluded students have not gotten their MMR vaccine and they cannot return until 25 days have passed after the last confirmed case. The district said they are trying to find a way to make sure those students don't fall behind. There are 44 potential mumps cases in King County - seven of which are confirmed cases. Over 60% of the cases are in children age 17 and younger, and 59% are up-to-date on their MMR vaccination. There are 39 cases in Auburn, three in Kent, one in Pacific, and one in Federal Way...However, a spokesperson for King County Public Health said the vaccination is effective, but not perfect. All four people with confirmed cases were vaccinated. 'People who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine are about nine times less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people who have the same exposure to mumps virus,' James Apa, a department spokesperson, wrote in an email. 'However, some people who receive two doses of MMR can still get mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close contact with someone who has the disease.'"
Whooping cough making its way through Centerville High School
December 8, 2016
"A warning to parents: Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is making its way through Centerville High School. The school board says there are at least six confirmed cases. Whooping cough is contagious, and is named after a deep, loud, breath that comes between coughing fits. Dr. David Roer of Pediatric Associates of Dayton said he has already seen three to four cases, and a few are from Centerville. The illness can last anywhere from two to 10 weeks. 'My friend has been out a few days, since Monday,' said Ben Meyer, a student at Centerville High School. 'He was coughing a lot, he coughed so much he vomited. He couldn't breathe,' added Aaron Goldschmidt. Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County said every high school student is required to have an immunization for pertussis. Generally, students get the shot at 11 years old, but may not get another shot until 21."
The vaccine you may not know about that could save your life
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 8, 2016
"Q: Why should I get the pneumococcal vaccine? A: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Some of these infections are considered 'invasive,' which means germs are able to invade normally germ-free body parts. Several pneumococcal illnesses include meningitis, pneumonia, lung infection, ear and sinus infections, and the blood stream infection bacteremia. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases reports that pneumococcal disease kills thousands each year, including 18,000 adults 65 years or older, in the United States. Seniors are more susceptible to pneumonia because aging can interfere with the body's ability to remove bacteria from the lungs. Seniors often have other health conditions, such as diabetes, or undergo treatments that can suppress the immune system, such as chemotherapy or steroids."
OPINION: Mr. Trump: Don’t become the first anti-vaccine president
December 8, 2016
"Dear President-elect Trump, Your record as a businessman is something of an open book to the people you will lead come Inauguration Day. But with no track record in governance, the policies you plan to put into effect are something of a black box. One that concerns me is what you will do about vaccination, a proven public health success story that has saved millions of children's lives worldwide. As the author of 'NeuroTribes,' a best-selling book on the history and legacy of autism, I have paid particular attention to your statements during the campaign and after the election about autism and other developmental disabilities...There are unsettling signs that you plan to de-emphasize support for autistic people and their families, and at the same time erode mandatory vaccination laws because you subscribe to the misguided theory that vaccines are responsible for triggering a global autism epidemic. That damaging misconception is one of the primary subjects of my book...By embarking on a debate about 'vaccine choice,' you are providing another distraction that will divert energy from the primary goal of ensuring a happier, healthier, more productive, and more secure future for every American...STEVE SILBERMAN, AUTHOR"
A Mother’s Plea: Don’t Let Flu Steal Your Healthy Child
Shot of Prevention
December 8, 2016
"As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children. We buckle them into their car seats, make them wear their bike helmets, hold their hand while crossing the street, and even get them their recommended childhood vaccinations. But what about getting our kids the flu vaccine? Sadly, only about 42% of adults and 60% of children received their annual flu vaccine last season. These statistics may not mean much to you, unless you or a loved one have had a personal experience with the flu. But they haunt me every day. As a mother who lost her healthy, five-year-old son, Joseph, during the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009, I want to do everything I can to ensure no other child dies from flu. Despite what many people may believe, influenza is not like the common cold. Influenza is a very serious and highly contagious disease that tends to develop quickly, especially in children. Influenza can also lead to hospitalization or death, even in otherwise healthy individuals. Every year in the U.S., approximately 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized, and on average, 100 children die each year from flu infection and its complications. According to the CDC, 80 to 90 percent of pediatric flu deaths over the past few years have been in unvaccinated children, many of whom were otherwise healthy."
The 21st Century Cures Act passes, potentially turning the FDA into a puppet of the pharmaceutical i
Respectful Insolence
December 8, 2016
"Well, it's done. Today, the Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill designed to weaken the FDA and empower pharmaceutical companies, sending it to President Obama's desk. There's no way Obama won't sign it, as it contains provisions funding his Precision Medicine Initiative, and he supported it all along. For all its flaws, I knew the bill's passage was inevitable since after the election, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the bill was a priority. I knew it even more when the Senate linked the bill to the 'Cancer Moonshot' initiative spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden in the wake of his son Beau's death from brain cancer. After all, 21st Century Cures Act funds the 'Cancer Moonshot' initiative...Let's recap before moving on, remembering that the bill that passed is actually in some ways than it was when I last wrote about it. The central premise of the bill is ideological nonsense. It turns out that radical reform involving weakening the FDA is not needed. The FDA already has the tools to do what the 21st Century Cures Act demands without weakening patient protections or scientific rigor."