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Anti-Vaxxers More Likely To Vent On Twitter

Posted 14 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 9, 2017 – American parents who oppose childhood vaccines often take to Twitter to vent, share and seek reinforcement for the widely disproven notion that these shots can trigger autism, new research shows. But the phenomenon is unevenly spread, the researchers noted, with states such as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania leading the pack when it comes to the highest prevalence of Twitter-based vaccine-bashing. The findings stem from the sifting of roughly 550,000 tweets posted between 2009 and 2015. All of the tweets contained at least one reference to both autism and vaccines, and about half were found to express anti-vaccine sentiments. "Unfortunately, these results were not terribly unexpected," said study author Theodore Tomeny. Why? Tomeny suggested "that sites primarily based on user-generated information, like Twitter, may be popular ... Read more

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Measles Making a Comeback in the United States

Posted 3 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 3, 2017 – Less than 20 years ago, health experts thought it was only a matter of time before measles was completely eradicated in the United States. But over the past 15 years, the disease has gained a new foothold in the United States, likely due to parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, a new study suggests. From 2001 to 2015 measles cases in the United States remained very low (less than 1 case per million people), but there's still been a signficant rise, the study found. Overall, measles incidence doubled – from 0.28 per million in 2001 to 0.56 per million in 2015. Infants and young children were hit hardest, and most cases were among the unvaccinated, the research showed. The findings suggest that, "being unvaccinated rather than failure of vaccine is the main driver of measles spread," said lead researcher Nakia Clemmons, an epidemiologist at the U.S. ... Read more

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Vaccine Campaign in Poor Countries to Save 20 Million Lives

Posted 10 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 8, 2017 – In poor countries, childhood vaccines will save 20 million lives and $350 billion in health care costs by 2020, a new study says. "Vaccination is generally regarded to be one of the most cost-effective interventions in public health," said study leader Sachiko Ozawa, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Pharmacy. "Decision-makers need to appreciate the full potential economic benefits that are likely to result from the introduction and sustained use of any vaccine or vaccination program," she said in a university news release. Researchers examined the impact of Gavi, a global vaccine alliance launched in 2000 to provide vaccines to children in the world's poorest nations. Gavi has contributed to the immunization of 580 million children and has operated mainly in the 73 countries included in the analysis. The study ... Read more

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Vaccination 101: Make Sure Kids Are Up to Date

Posted 28 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 28, 2017 – As the new school year begins, make sure your child is up to date on all vaccinations. "Schools are a great environment for spreading bacteria and viruses because students are in crowded classrooms, sharing things and in close proximity to one another," said Zachary Klase. He's an assistant professor of biological sciences at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. "A major factor contributing to many viral outbreaks is being in an environment where you are close to others such as attending the same class, playing on the same sports team or living in a residence hall," he added in a university news release. Vaccinations protect against diseases like meningitis, tetanus, measles diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B. All 50 states require public school children to be vaccinated unless they have a waiver, and colleges ... Read more

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Anti-Vaccine Family Members, Friends Spur Many Moms to Delay Baby's Shots

Posted 18 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 18, 2017 – If a pregnant woman hears anti-vaccine messages from family or friends about childhood immunizations, she's much more likely to delay her baby's shots, new research shows. And that's true even if she hears positive messages after the discouraging ones, the New Zealand investigators found. "Pregnancy is an important time for educating about infant immunization," said study co-author Dr. Cameron Grant, head of the department of pediatrics, child and youth health at the University of Auckland. "This very important aspect of medical education should not be left until after the child is born. Health professionals caring for pregnant women have a very important role to play in determining the immunization intentions of these future parents, and in promoting infant immunization," he said. The study included information from more than 6,000 pregnant women in New ... Read more

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Time to Catch Up on Reading, Writing and Routine Shots

Posted 26 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 26, 2017 – Of all the items on your child's back-to-school checklist, getting vaccinated is probably your kid's least favorite. But those shots are essential for keeping children healthy, pediatricians say. Vaccination requirements may vary somewhat from state to state. But all 50 states and Washington, D.C., require children to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), polio, measles and rubella. If your child hasn't already been vaccinated according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended schedule, it's not too late, said Dr. David Kimberlin. He is vice chair of pediatrics and co-director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's division of pediatric infectious diseases. "The best way to treat diseases is to prevent them in the first place, and the diseases on the vaccine schedule are all preventable for ... Read more

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Just a Few Vaccine Refusers Could Endanger Many

Posted 24 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 24, 2017 – With a small percentage of U.S. parents not vaccinating their children for "non-medical" reasons, a new study warns that even a few such families can trigger a big jump in local measles cases. Based on data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the analysis projects that just a 5 percent drop in MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine coverage would triple the number of American kids aged 2 to 11 who would catch the highly contagious virus. "The meaning is that even small declines in vaccine coverage in children owing to vaccine hesitancy may have substantial public health and economic consequences that will be larger when considering unvaccinated infants, adolescents and adults," explained study author Nathan Lo. Lo is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate in the division of epidemiology at Stanford University's School of Medicine. He conducted ... Read more

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Making the Most of Childhood Wellness Visits

Posted 21 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, July 21, 2017 – Babies born today will have about a dozen wellness visits by the time they reach age 3. At that point, these checkups typically drop to just once a year, often before kids head back to school. So it's important to make the most of each visit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. These visits include a physical exam as well as developmental, behavioral and learning assessments. They're also your opportunity to ask questions. With limited time in the exam room, make your list of questions in advance and prioritize them in order of importance. Also, ask any caregivers who spend lots of time with your child if they have questions or concerns that you should bring up. Talk about school safety with the pediatrician, including on the playground and in the cafeteria, especially if your child has allergies. And ask about any precautions to take if your ... Read more

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Travelers to Europe Need Measles Protection: CDC

Posted 20 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 20, 2017 – Americans traveling to Europe should take steps to protect themselves against measles, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises. Since January 2016, more than 14,000 cases of measles have been reported in Europe. And 35 people across Europe have died from the highly contagious infection in the past year, the World Health Organization says. "Most measles cases in the United States are the result of international travel," said Dr. Gary Brunette, chief of the CDC's travelers' health program. "Travelers get infected while abroad and bring the disease home. This can cause outbreaks here in the United States," Brunette said in an agency news release. The 15 European countries reporting cases so far this year are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, ... Read more

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Parents, Get Your Teens Their Vaccines!

Posted 17 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 17, 2017 – Many American teens may not get recommended vaccinations, and their parents might bear some of the blame, a new study suggests. The national poll of 614 parents with at least one teenager found that more than one-third didn't know when their teen's next vaccine was due. And half incorrectly thought that their doctor would contact them for an appointment at the appropriate time. "When kids are little, their pediatricians usually schedule visits to coincide with the timing of recommended vaccinations," said Sarah Clark. She is co-director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan. "As children get older, well-child appointments occur less often and health providers may not address vaccines during brief visits for sickness or injury. Many teens may be missing out on important vaccines simply because ... Read more

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Immunizations for High Flyin' Travelers

Posted 26 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 26, 2017 – Nothing spoils a trip faster than getting sick. And a good way to protect yourself is by getting certain vaccinations before you leave home. Regardless of your destination, make sure you're up to date on routine immunizations like MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), DPT (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), varicella (chicken pox), polio and the flu shot. You may also need other vaccinations (as well as medications), depending on where you're going, how long you'll be there, what you'll be doing, and whether you'll be traveling to a country outside the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends scheduling a visit with your doctor four to six weeks before your trip to go over your needs – some shots must be given weeks in advance. The CDC has a travel health website (see below) that lets you look up recommended as ... Read more

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Many U.S. Travelers Skip Measles Shots, Despite Infection Risk

Posted 15 May 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 15, 2017 – More than half of eligible Americans traveling abroad don't get a measles vaccine, and a key reason is lack of concern about the disease, a new study finds. "Measles has been eliminated in the U.S. since 2000, which means that all measles cases in the country can be traced back to an imported case – either a foreign visitor or a U.S. resident returning from international travel," said study lead author Dr. Emily Hyle of Massachusetts General Hospital's division of infectious diseases. "Since more than 60 percent of the measles importations into the country are due to returning U.S. travelers, increasing the number of travelers who are immune to measles will reduce the number of measles cases," she explained in a hospital news release. Two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended for adult travelers without evidence of measles immunity. ... Read more

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When Parents Get Vaccinated, Their Kids Do Too

Posted 17 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 17, 2017 – When parents get a flu shot, their kids are more likely to be vaccinated against not only the flu, but also other diseases, new research reveals. Investigators first focused on the flu vaccine, and found that the kids of parents who got the flu shot were nearly three times more likely to get the shot themselves. But the trickle-down effect did not stop there. When parents got flu shots, they were also more likely to make sure their kids were vaccinated against other diseases, especially the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV vaccine protects against several cancers, including cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men. And the reverse held true. "Parents who chose not to immunize themselves for influenza were more likely to have children who weren't immunized against other diseases, such as HPV," said study lead researcher Steve Robison, from the Oregon ... Read more

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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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