One of the greatest public health success stories is the remarkable decrease in infectious diseases due to the use of vaccines. Unfortunately, the immense success of vaccination in America has lulled many parents into complacency with regard to vaccine preventable diseases like measles, meningitis, polio and diphtheria. In order for previous successes to be maintained, the public and their appointed legislators must realize these diseases still exist and can still debilitate and kill.
Vaccines are available for 20 different infectious diseases, and vaccines against 10 deadly diseases are recommended for use in all U.S. children. Vaccines not only protect the child that receives them, but just as important, they protect the health of the community in which the child lives. A scientific study in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that those who did not receive measles vaccine due to philosophical or religious reasons were 35 times more likely to contract measles, and could potentially increase the incidence of measles in their community by as much as 30 percent.
When vaccination levels are high, children who cannot be protected directly by the vaccines are protected because they are not exposed to the disease. This includes children too young to receive vaccinations and those with medical contraindications such as a child with leukemia who cannot receive the measles vaccine.
Without vaccines, epidemics of vaccine-preventable diseases could return, resulting in increased illness, disability, and death. With the eradication of some diseases, such as polio, so close at hand, any reduction in vaccination coverage for these diseases could erase many years of hard work and have an enormous negative impact on the public health of the United States.
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IOM report: no relationship between thimerosal vaccines and autism
Based on a thorough review of clinical and epidemiological studies, neither the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal nor the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine are associated with autism, says the new report.
The relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism
Highlights the lack of data to indicate an association between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Infant immunizations not shown to be harmful to infants' systems
Although most people realize the benefits of vaccinations, a recent survey showed that approximately one-quarter of parents believe that infants get more vaccines than are good for them, and that too many immunizations could overwhelm an infant's immune system.
AMA signs onto "Open Statement on Vaccines"
AMA signs onto the Sabin Vaccine Institute's Open statment on vaccines.
Fact sheet on new meningococcal vaccine available
Highlights new fact sheet on meningitis and the new meningococcal conjugate vaccine.