Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vaccines and herd immunity

Vaccines - ah, that long-controversial topic. Well, vaccines have resurfaced in the news this week. Some news about vaccines that might be of interest to you:
  • A recent study from CDC shows that more U.S. kids are immunized and that disparities among socioeconomic groups are decreasing. "While these disparities persisted through the study period, they did get smaller, and racial and urban/suburban/rural disparities were no longer statistically significant by 2008." Of course, "additional work is needed to make sure that the underserved groups of children are vaccinated and protected against vaccine preventable diseases," says the author of the study.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has released its 2010 immunization schedule for children. Changes include the addition of a recommendation to get the influenza A (H1N1) vaccine and revaccination for meningococcal disease.
  • This article in USA Today explains the concept of herd immunity and its importance. It includes the standard USA Today human interest components (too much for my tastes), but it is a good snapshot of immunizations and their importance among the community. Nationally, 1.48% of children have exemptions from school immunization requirements, but this number is much higher in certain parts of the U.S. A recent study found that children who are unvaccinated are 9 times more likely to contract chicken pox and 23 times more likely to contract whooping cough.
    The article states, "before vaccines became available, hundreds of thousands of Americans — including thousands of children — routinely came down with dreaded infectious diseases each year. Although vaccines have nearly eliminated many of these diseases, doctors say outbreaks in unvaccinated communities put everyone at risk."

No comments:

Post a Comment