Get vaccinated video with Elmo and US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy! #science #sesamestreet

Get Vaccinated with the Surgeon General & Elmo!

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, and Elmo want you to stay healthy and get vaccinated!

Visit http://www.vaccines.gov/ today.

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FDA commisionner Margaret Hamburg schools us on measles and the measles vaccine!! #science

hamburgMargaret A. Hamburg, M.D., the Commissioner of Food and Drugs at the FDA, has written a terrific piece in response to the recent measles outbreak. Check it out here at the FDA blog. Hamburg emphasizes the importance of high vaccination rates, the safety of the vaccines, and the effectiveness of the vaccine!

In recent weeks we’ve seen an alarming outbreak of measles; a highly contagious and serious virus, especially in babies and young children who have not been vaccinated. This outbreak is particularly disturbing because measles was effectively eliminated from the United States in 2000 thanks to nearly universal vaccination, the single best way to prevent the spread of this disease.

Vaccination works with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to the measles. When more people are vaccinated, there are fewer opportunities for the disease to spread. A community generally needs more than ninety per cent of its members to be immunized against the virus in order to protect those who can’t be.

Before the first measles vaccine was approved in 1963, hundreds died from the disease each year. Others developed pneumonia, lifelong brain damage or deafness.

Let’s not return to these grim statistics. There is no shortage of measles vaccine. It should be used by everyone who has not been vaccinated to prevent measles and the potentially tragic consequences of the disease.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month: ~3 million preventable deaths a year #BodyHorrors

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Rebecca Kreston has written a terrific post on Body Horrors blog about the under-appreciated importance of vaccines and the lives they could be saving

Unbeknownst to many of the public, August was National Immunization Awareness Month. I know, I know: it’s been overshadowed by some very exotic and thrilling headliners this month. The Ebola epidemic blazing defiantly in West Africa. The jaw-dropping videos shown on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge clogging everyone’s social feeds. Vaccines are just not as sexy or as flamboyant as these issues. 

Kreston breaks down the numbers of deaths caused by ‘news-worthy’ killers compared to the number of deaths caused by diseases that can be prevented with vaccination.

But here’s the thing: Vaccine-preventable diseases kill an estimated three million people every year, with half of those deaths in children. That is five-hundred times the number of people who die every year from the devastating, progressive neurological disorder that is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (around 6000 deaths every year). That is seven-hundred-and-fifty-thousand times the number of people killed in shark attacks (about 4 deaths every year). So far, the Ebola epidemic has killed 1350 people in West Africa (as of August 22, 2014).

The post breaks down and explains diseases that cause thousands to hundreds of thousands of deaths a year and can be prevented through vaccination. Read the post and educate yourself!

Emily Oster explains and shows evidence for why we should aim for 100 percent vaccination #science

Oster

Emily Oster has written a terrific post for FiveThirtyEight about vaccinations and why we should aim for 100 percent vaccination. You may recall CauseScience’s previous post about herd immunity here. Oster puts together a great explanation for why we should vaccinate as many children as we can. Oster supports this with recent data from measles and pertussis and puts together numbers and stats to make her points. Great piece!

From a public health standpoint, this data argues for continuing to push to increase vaccination rates and stem any declines. A 95 percent vaccination rate in a state doesn’t mean every place in the state is at 95 percent. At rates even a bit lower, we start to see increases in whooping cough and measles cases. And remember that parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids are also putting other people’s kids at risk: Many of the victims of whooping cough are babies who are too young to be vaccinated.

Immunization Policy in NYC upheld!

An informative article in the NYTimes discusses the New York City vaccination policy in detail… specifically since it was recently called into question.

Unfortunately, we have the “freedom” to not let our children get vaccinated if we don’t want to in this country.  To counter this, an NYC policy states that unimmunized children can be bared from public schools when another student has a vaccine-preventable disease.  A nice way to keep disease from spreading…

Recently, several families in NYC have called this policy into question since their children have been kept from school because they were not immunized due to “religious” reasons; and that this policy prevents their religious freedom.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court Judge Kuntz wrote in his ruling that “religious objectors are not constitutionally exempt from vaccinations,” and has voted to uphold the policy.

Good work NYC.