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No Jab, No Play’: How Australia Is Handling the Vaccination Debate
The New York Times
July 24, 2017
"This much is clear: Australia's strict vaccination laws are working - and they're set to become even stricter. The state of South Australia has introduced legislation that would ban the enrollment of unvaccinated children in preschool and child care centers. The proposal would set fines of up to 30,000 Australian dollars, or about $24,000, on centers that admit an unvaccinated child. Notably, parents who object to vaccination on philosophical or religious grounds would not receive exemptions. Colloquially labeled 'no jab, no play,' the push follows the approval of similar laws in the states of New South Wales and Victoria. Together, they're a sign that the authorities may be losing patience with anti-vaccination forces. 'The under-immunization in some communities is of sufficient concern that we do need to raise the bar on what we require parents to do,' said Susan Close, South Australia's minister for education and child development. 'There will be people who have, without any scientific validity, ideological concerns about immunization,' she added. 'I'm not particularly interested in hearing an argument that isn't based in science.'"
Patients lacking vaccination spend on average nearly week in hospital
The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
July 22, 2017
"Anti-vaxxers and vaccination slackers suffering from preventable diseases are clogging Australia's hospitals and putting a massive burden on the public health purse. People with vaccine-preventable diseases spent a total of 338,686 days in hospital across the nation in 2015-16, new figures reveal. And in NSW, three of the top four areas where preventable diseases put people in hospital were in northern NSW communities where vaccination rates are notoriously low. The average length of stay in hospital for a vaccine-preventable disease was 6.7 days per patient, according to The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's new Healthy Communities report into Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations in 2015-16. NSW Health figures estimate the average stay in hospital for one night is between $1100 and $1500, making the impost on the public purse for vaccine-preventable diseases up to $508 million a year. Lismore pediatrician Dr Chris Ingall said he has seen first-hand the impact of vaccine preventable diseases in children who had not been vaccinated in the region."
Beyond The Nasty Needle: Trying To Make Vaccines More Comfy And Convenient
July 23, 2017
"News this summer of a flu vaccine patch sparked a lot of chatter. Could getting vaccinated be as easy as putting on a bandage? Could there be fewer, or at least smaller, needles in our future? Some companies and academic labs are working to make those things happen. They're refining technologies that involve tiny needles, less than a millimeter long, and needle-free injectors that can send a dose of vaccine through your skin in a fraction of a second. Some of these technologies are already available on the market, while others are still being tested... A flu vaccine patch is not yet available to the public. But one version developed by Georgia Tech's Laboratory for Drug Delivery showed promising results in its first human clinical trial, according to a study published in The Lancet in June. The patch, about the size of a small square bandage, has tiny, dissolvable needles filled with a dose of flu vaccine. It's placed on the arm and activated through pressure... Others in the vaccine-delivery business are taking a different approach, using a new twist on a needle-free device called a jet injector that has been around for more than half a century. Star Trek featured such a device, calling it a 'hypospray.'"
The HPV Vaccine Saves Lives, So Why Aren’t More Kids Getting It?
July 24, 2017
"The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes more than 30,000 cases of cancer in the U.S. every year. It's the primary cause of cervical cancer in women, and a contributing cause to several other types of cancer in women and men. We know that future cases of HPV-caused cancer could be avoided with a safe vaccine administered when a child is 11 or 12 years old, and yet only around half of kids are getting it. Why? CBS Sunday Morning ran a special episode focused on cancer with a segment on preventable cancers caused by HPV. Contributor Dr. Tara Narula made a convincing case that the failure to vaccinate all children is nothing less than a public health crisis, and it's hard to argue otherwise. Thousands of people will die from cancers caused by HPV, and many of those deaths could have been prevented. The problem, Narula argued, begins on the front lines of healthcare-with professionals with direct patient contact. 'The problem lies in part with pediatricians and other providers who haven't been aggressive enough in talking to parents about it.'"
HPV vaccine: Why aren’t children getting it?
July 23, 2017
"One in four Americans -- about 80 million of us -- are infected with the human papillomavirus, or HPV. It's the most common sexually transmitted infection, although most people don't develop symptoms or health problems. But around 30,000 cases of HPV-associated cancers occur in the United States every year. HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer in women, and the cause of many vulvar, vaginal, throat, tongue, tonsilar, anal and penile cancers. The good news is there's a vaccine for HPV which can prevent the majority of these cancers. It's recommended for all kids ages 11 or 12 years, before they're exposed to the virus, which is when it works best. Here's the bad news: only 63% of girls and 50% of boys are getting the vaccine. It's the most underutilized immunization for children. For cancer doctors, this is a public health crisis. So who is responsible? The problem lies in part with pediatricians and other providers who haven't been aggressive enough in talking to parents about it. Studies show that a forceful endorsement from a physician is the most important factor in whether children get the vaccine."
Number of cases of mumps statewide soars; officials urge the sick to stay home
July 21, 2017
"Some 18 new cases of mumps have been confirmed statewide, bringing the total number of cases so far this year to 172. The state Health Department said 12 of the new cases were on Oahu, four are on Kauai and two are on the Big Island. 'The important thing for people to remember is to keep their germs to themselves,' said Ronald Balajadia, state Immunization Branch chief. 'We encourage the public to stay home when sick, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, wash their hands frequently and make sure they are fully vaccinated.' In 2016, Hawaii saw just 10 cases of mumps... Hawaii has seen an influx of mumps cases since March, when the DOH was made aware of nine people with the viral infection. In December, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the country was in the midst of its worst mumps outbreak in a decade."
Colorado experiencing hepatitis A outbreak, already double last year’s total
Outbreak News Today
July 24, 2017
"Officials with the Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDHE) have reported a significant rise in hepatitis A cases statewide in 2017, particularly in men who have sex with men (MSM). Through July 21, officials report 49 cases year-to-date, more than the total from all of 2015 (24) and 2016 (23). The breakdown by county is as follows: Adams (9), Arapahoe (3), Boulder (2), Denver (6), Douglas (2), Eagle (1), El Paso (10), Garfield (1), Jefferson (2), Larimer (3), Pueblo (7), Summit (1), Teller (1) and Weld (1). About three-quarters of the cases are among men and more than 50 percent of the men had sexual contact with other men. About half the people who got sick were hospitalized and one death has been reported. 'We're working closely with local public health agencies and community partners to reach people who need a hepatitis A vaccination,' said State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. 'People at higher risk should get the hepatitis A vaccine, which is extremely safe and highly effective.'"
Lake County health officials investigate possible case of whooping cough
Lake County News (CA)
July 22, 2017
"A case of pertussis, or whooping cough, diagnosed in a child in Lake County earlier this month has led to an expanding public health investigation that has identified at least eight additional suspected cases and more than 50 contacts that may be at risk for infection. Lake County Public Health is making the community aware of this apparent outbreak so that steps can be taken to prevent or quickly diagnose and treat additional cases. Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be spread by coughing. The disease is generally preventable through vaccination. Infants too young for vaccination are at greatest risk for life-threatening disease. Despite efforts to prevent pertussis through vaccination, there are still epidemics every three to five years, often involving unvaccinated or undervaccinated children, the agency said. Health officials said the last epidemic declared in California was in 2014. In 2010, more than 9,000 cases occurred in California, including 10 infant deaths."
Vaccine Exemptions Driving up Whooping Cough Cases
July 23, 2017
"Whooping cough has been on the rise in the United States in recent years, and it may be due to vaccine exemptions. A study from Harvard University found that communities with high rates of nonmedical vaccine exemptions had a higher incidence of whooping cough (pertussis). The study also found that the current vaccine for whooping cough appears to lose its efficacy over time. 'When you look at counties that have a lot of pertussis cases, they are the same counties that also have a high level of vaccine exemptions, which suggests an association between the two. Our other finding is that 10- to 14-year-olds who had been vaccinated were as susceptible to pertussis as kids who had never been vaccinated - suggesting that the vaccine's effectiveness was not long-lasting,' Dr. Barry Bloom, senior author of the study and professor of public health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press release."
If You’ve Ever Had Lyme Disease, Blame the Anti-Vaxxers
July 23, 2017
"Lyme disease has been spreading for years, and thanks to global warming it's poised to explode over the next few years. That's bad. But it turns out there's a vaccine for Lyme disease. Or I guess I should say, there used to be a vaccine for Lyme disease. In 1998 the FDA approved a drug called Lymerix, and it was pretty effective until the chronic Lyme crowd and the anti-vaxxers started ranting: Influenced by now-discredited research purporting to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, activists raised the question of whether the Lyme disease vaccine could cause arthritis. Media coverage and the anti-Lyme-vaccination groups gave a voice to those who believed their pain was due to the vaccine, and public support for the vaccine declined. 'The chronic arthritis was not associated with Lyme,' says Stanley Plotkin, an adviser to pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur. 'When you're dealing with adults, all kinds of things happen to them. They get arthritis, they get strokes, heart attacks. So unless you have a control group, you're in la-la land.' But there was a control group - the rest of the US population. And when the FDA reviewed the vaccine's adverse event reports in a retrospective study, they found only 905 reports for 1.4 million doses. Still, the damage was done, and the vaccine was benched."
EDITORIAL: Parents, keep your children healthy with regular vaccinations
The Huntsville Item (TX)
July 21, 2017
"Most people at one time or another have dreaded receiving vaccinations but endured the momentary pain from the needle's prick to get the shot knowing it was for their own good. Vaccinations help millions of people every year keep from getting serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses. Vaccinations in children help keep down the spread of such illnesses as measles, chicken pox, mumps and polio, to name a few. It is hard to imagine what our communities would be like if vaccines had not been researched and developed to knock out the epidemics that were quickly spreading across cities decades ago. For example, polio was once America's most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, with the polio vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States. As responsible parents, we must not let scare tactics keep us from vaccinating our children. We must protect them and keep them healthy. A recent scare tactic spreading across social media is by a Victoria woman who claims her baby's doctor gave her the wrong vaccination, which has made her ill. The doctor documented the accidental administration of the vaccine which protects young teens against HPV. Medical experts said it did not harm the child."
OPINION: A look at the importance of immunizations
Glenwood Springs Post Independent (CO)
July 22, 2017
"August is designated as National Immunization Awareness Month. It's designed to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages, from infants to seniors, and to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious and sometimes-deadly diseases. While I know some in this valley oppose immunization, as a public health professional, I believe immunization is a shared responsibility. We all need to be current on our immunizations to help protect our entire community. Vaccines protect against serious diseases, and they are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. John Lawrence, PA is Mountain Family Health Center's medical provider at their Avon School-Based Health Center. He says, 'Vaccines create immunity to certain diseases by using small amounts of a killed or weakened microorganism that causes the particular disease'...CAROLYN HARDIN, development consultant for Mountain Family."
OPINION: Measles in Wichita. What does it mean?
The Wichita Eagle (KS)
July 23, 2017
"Recently, The Wichita Eagle reported a confirmed case of measles in Sedgwick County. This person was found to have been in contact with another individual infected with measles confirmed two weeks prior. The CDC reports that from January 1 to June 17 this year, 108 people from 11 states (now 12 with Kansas joining the ranks), were reported to have measles. This number has increased from a reported total of 70 people with measles in 2016. This has the potential to be a big medical concern for Wichita, as measles is highly contagious. It is spread via airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If 10 people are exposed to an infected person and they aren't protected, 9 of them will also become infected. A person can get measles just by being in a room where an infected person was, even up to two hours after that person has left...Dr. JESSICA KIEFER, family medicine physician, WesleyCare Family Medicine Residency."
LETTER: Re: July 16 article, ‘UT officials confirm mumps on campus, 7 diagnosed this week.’
Austin American-Statesman (TX)
July 23, 2017
"There has been yet another outbreak of a preventable contagious disease, this time mumps at the University of Texas. The increasing number and severity of these outbreaks have been predicted by the medical community due to the increasing proportion of young people who have not received the recommended vaccinations. Many parents have been swayed, not by the science and epidemiology of contagious infections and their prevention, but by social media fervor and misinformation. What appears to have helped initiate and perpetuate this parental failure is a study linking childhood vaccinations with autism. This study has been proven to be nonsense and the doctor involved has been disgraced and his license to practice medicine revoked. This study, in current lingo, was fake news. The real news is the avoidable harm that has and will come to people, both young and old, because of these science deniers... MARY SKILES, AUSTIN."
I shared my daughter’s diagnosis and all strangers want me to do is blame it on vaccines
July 21, 2017
"My daughter was sick for about four months before we finally knew what was going on; before she officially had a diagnosis. And within four hours of my publicly sharing her diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, I received the following e-mail: 'Hey, I don't want to get in your business but it's been weighing heavy on me. I'm not sure if you vaccinate or not but I've seen the damage they can do sometimes causing auto immune disorders, allergies, etc.' This stranger, without knowing anything else about my daughter's history, was pointing the finger at vaccines. And while she was the first (and probably the kindest in her approach), she certainly wasn't the last. As I have worked to learn more about this disease in the month and a half since my daughter's diagnosis, I have received no less than 20 emails making similar assertions. And comments on articles I've written about our experience do the same. 'Probably from vaccines,' these strangers will say. 'This is why we don't vaccinate.'"