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Congressional Group Gives Bipartisan Support to Vaccine Safety

Posted 21 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2017 – A group of six high-ranking U.S. Senators and House members from both sides of the aisle issued a statement Tuesday supporting the safety and effectiveness of FDA-approved vaccines. The statement comes after reports that President Donald Trump has shown some support for the widely discredited "anti-vaxxer" movement. In early January, Robert Kennedy Jr., a vocal opponent of routine childhood vaccinations, said that Trump had asked him to head a new commission on vaccine safety. Various medical organizations expressed alarm at the time. However, the six Congressional leaders who penned the statement Tuesday said the debate over the safety of vaccines has long been over. They include Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ranking ... Read more

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Most U.S. Adults Support Routine Child Vaccine

Posted 2 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 – More than eight out of 10 Americans support mandatory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination for children attending public schools, a new survey finds. Despite some well-publicized opposition, this look at vaccination attitudes by the Pew Research Center finds that, overall, 88 percent of Americans believe that the benefits of the MMR vaccine outweigh any risks. Nearly three-quarters of the more than 1,500 adults surveyed said they believe there are health benefits from the MMR vaccine. Two-thirds are also confident there's a low risk of side effects from the vaccine. But the findings, released Thursday, reveal some differences related to age, race and education, said study lead author Cary Funk. "In addition to parents of young children, this analysis finds that adults under age 30, blacks and people with lower knowledge about science topics see a higher ... Read more

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Medical Experts Alarmed at Trump's Reported Support of Vaccine Skeptic

Posted 11 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 – The U.S. medical community is responding with reactions ranging from apprehension to dismay at reports that President-elect Donald Trump reportedly asked a renowned vaccine skeptic to head a new commission on vaccine safety. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has written articles and books claiming a link between childhood vaccines and autism, said Tuesday that Trump had offered him the post during a meeting earlier that day. A Trump spokeswoman threw some doubt on Kennedy's assertion, however, stating hours later that while the president-elect is interested in a commission on autism, no final decision has been made. Nonetheless, a host of medical societies, autism advocacy groups and individual physicians immediately denounced the potential development, which they said would shake the public's faith in a practice that regularly protects millions of people from ... Read more

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Health Tip: Getting Your Child Vaccinated

Posted 22 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

-- Vaccinations are a necessary part of keeping your child healthy, but the pain and fear may be difficult to endure. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests: Talk to the pediatrician about ways to manage your child's pain. Distract a young child during the shot by singing a song, blowing bubbles or playing a game. Act the doctor about using a numbing spray or cream. Breast-feed or offer a pacifier to babies during vaccination. Stay calm and reassure your child that everything is OK. Read more

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Deadly Measles Complication May Be More Common Than Believed

Posted 28 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 28, 2016 – A deadly complication of measles infection may be more common than thought, researchers report. While a case of the measles typically runs its course in two weeks, the virus can sometimes spread to the brain. Once there, it can lay dormant for years before reappearing as a progressive, debilitating brain disorder known as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), the researchers explained. It was once thought that SSPE affects one in 100,000 people, but the new evidence suggests it strikes those who catch the measles at a young age particularly hard. One in about 1,400 children who get measles before the age of 5 may eventually develop SSPE, as will one in 600 babies who contract measles before they are 12 months old, the researchers suggested. "SSPE is a late complication of measles. People get measles, they get better and then many years later – on average, ... Read more

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Measles Outbreak Among Amish Highlights Need for Vaccinations

Posted 5 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5, 2016 – The measles outbreak that struck an Amish community in 2014 illustrates the ongoing threat the infection presents – and the importance of routine vaccination, U.S. government researchers say. The outbreak, which ultimately infected 383 people in Ohio, was the largest the United States had seen in over 20 years. It was almost entirely limited to an Amish community, and most who fell ill had never been vaccinated against measles. In the Oct. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe the outbreak in detail. A key point is that the outbreak did not originate in the United States – where measles was declared "eliminated" back in 2000. Instead, the virus was "imported" when two unvaccinated relief workers traveled to the Philippines and unwittingly brought measles back to their ... Read more

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More Parents Believe Vaccines Are Unnecessary

Posted 29 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 29, 2016 – Pediatricians are encountering more parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated, mainly because they don't see the point of vaccines, a U.S. survey found. In the survey, conducted in 2013, about 87 percent of pediatricians said they had encountered vaccine refusals, an increase from the 75 percent who reported refusals during the last survey from 2006. The most common reason, provided by three out of every four parents: Vaccines are unnecessary because the diseases they prevent have been wiped out in the United States. "Because these diseases are gone, people no longer fear them, even though many of them are only a plane ride away," said Dr. Kathryn Edwards, co-author of a new American Academy of Pediatrics report based on the survey. "They don't seem to realize that these diseases do exist in other places, and could come here." The percentage of ... Read more

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Put Vaccines on Kids' Back-to-School List

Posted 21 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 19, 2016 – As parents start preparing to send their young ones back to the classroom, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it's a good time to remember that vaccines play an important role in keeping children healthy. So, make sure your child is up-to-date on immunizations and fully protected from diseases such as measles, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), the agency advises. "Parents should know that vaccines protect children from many serious illnesses from infectious diseases. The risk of being harmed by vaccines is much smaller than the risk of serious illness from infectious diseases," Marion Gruber, director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review at the FDA, said in an agency news release. Most side effects of vaccines are minor and temporary. For example, there may be soreness at the injection site or a child may develop a mild fever. ... Read more

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Vaccine Refusal a Driving Force Behind Measles Outbreaks, Study Finds

Posted 15 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, March 15, 2016 – A look at recent measles outbreaks in the United States finds more than half of the cases involved unvaccinated children. Vaccine refusal was also often the culprit in whooping cough (pertussis) outbreaks as well, according to the new study. "When vaccine refusal rates are high, the rates of measles and pertussis are higher," said researcher Dr. Varun Phadke, a fellow in infectious diseases at Emory University in Atlanta. In 2000, the United States was declared measles-free. But infected travelers returning to the country have caused outbreaks, and unvaccinated children are most at risk, research has shown. This study found that among more than 1,400 cases since 2000, more than half of patients had no history of vaccination. Most had nonmedical exemptions – based on religious or philosophical beliefs – not medical exemptions, researchers said. The report was ... Read more

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Measles Outbreak May Have Swayed Some Parents on Vaccines

Posted 8 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 8, 2016 – The measles outbreak that first began in California's Disneyland last year may have changed some parents' minds about childhood vaccinations, a new study suggests. Researchers found that parents with "high awareness" of the outbreak were more likely to voice confidence in vaccines, compared to parents who were surveyed about their vaccination views shortly before the outbreak. They also gave more support to state laws mandating childhood vaccinations, according to findings published Feb. 8 in the journal Health Affairs. Those shifts came only among parents who felt well-informed about the measles outbreak – which eventually spread from California to other U.S. states, Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But only one-quarter of parents in the survey were that well-informed. In fact, only around half were aware that ... Read more

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Ah-Choo! Sneeze 'Cloud' Quickly Covers a Room, Study Finds

Posted 23 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 23, 2015 – Just in time for cold and flu season, a new study finds the average human sneeze expels a high-velocity cloud that can contaminate a room in minutes. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came to that conclusion by analyzing videos of two healthy people sneezing about 50 times over several days. It's well known that sneezes can spread infectious diseases such as measles or the flu, because viruses suspended in sneeze droplets can be inhaled by others or deposited on surfaces and later picked up as people touch them. But it wasn't clear how far sneeze droplets can spread, or why some people are more likely to spread illness through sneezes than others. In a prior study, the team led by MIT's Lydia Bourouiba found that within a few minutes, sneeze droplets can cover an area the size of a room and reach ventilation ducts at ceiling height. ... Read more

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One in Five Pediatricians Drops Families Who Refuse Vaccines: Survey

Posted 2 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 2, 2015 – One of every five U.S. pediatricians regularly drops families who refuse to have their children vaccinated, a new survey shows. Doctors in the South and Northeast were more likely to take this hardline stance, said study lead author Dr. Sean O'Leary, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital Colorado in Denver. But O'Leary said he's heard anecdotally that pediatricians across the nation have come under pressure to refuse to take on unvaccinated children, following the Disneyland measles outbreak that occurred earlier this year. "I'm hearing the practice has become more common, particularly in California, following the outbreak," O'Leary said. "Parents say, 'I don't want to take my child to a clinic with non-vaccinators and expose them to risk,' so there is parental pressure on some pediatricians." An ongoing medical debate continues to ... Read more

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Many Americans Traveling Abroad Lack Key Vaccinations: Study

Posted 9 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2015 – Many Americans traveling overseas are not immunized against highly contagious diseases, new research shows. Outbreaks of certain infections – such as measles and hepatitis A – could be prevented if more U.S. travelers got the recommended vaccinations, the study authors said. "Americans planning international travel should see their health care providers or visit a travel clinic four to six weeks before the trip, to learn what vaccines are recommended before heading to their destinations," said study author Dr. Emily Hyle. She is an instructor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "Many travelers don't realize their risk of exposure to infections, and that many can be avoided with vaccination," Hyle explained in a news release from Infectious Diseases Week, the annual meeting of specialists in infectious illness. The study ... Read more

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1 in 8 U.S. Kids Not Protected Against Measles: Report

Posted 8 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 8, 2015 – In a finding that underscores the dangers of not vaccinating all children for measles, researchers estimate that one in eight American children are vulnerable to this highly infectious disease. The statistics are even more troubling for younger children: Almost a quarter of those under the age of 3 are susceptible to catching measles. "We simply cannot take our eye off of this disease," said Dr. David Kimberlin, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who was not involved in the study. "These new data show that we have not done as well with this as we should." Lead author Robert Bednarczyk is an assistant professor of global health and epidemiology from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta. He and his colleagues analyzed the results of a national survey of immunizations among U.S. ... Read more

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Childhood Vaccines Debate Rekindled at GOP Presidential Debate

Posted 18 Sep 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 17, 2015 – Some parents' long-simmering concerns over the safety of childhood vaccines received unexpected – and, in some quarters, unwelcome – notice during the second Republican presidential candidates' debate. While the link between vaccines and autism has long been discredited, an exchange toward the debate's end addressed a more recent parental concern – whether children are receiving too many vaccines too soon. And the potential fallout from that exchange has infectious-disease experts worried. Candidates Ben Carson and Rand Paul – both doctors – both argued Wednesday night that children probably are receiving too many vaccinations in too short a time, and that parents ought to have the right to deviate from the recommended schedule. The candidates said vaccines are safe and important, and dismissed fears that some vaccines might cause autism, but argued for ... Read more

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