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Tougher State Laws Curb Vaccine Refusers

Posted 18 Dec 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 18, 2017 – A Washington state law aimed at discouraging nonmedical childhood vaccine exemptions seems to have worked, a new study finds. The legislation, enacted in 2011, required parents to talk to a doctor before they could get their child exempted from vaccinations for nonmedical reasons. Researchers found that after the law went into effect, the state's overall vaccine exemption rate fell by 40 percent. And it remained consistently lower through 2014 – the most recent year the researchers assessed. "Not only did the rates go down, but they remained remarkably stable," said lead researcher Dr. Saad Omer, of Emory University's Vaccine Center in Atlanta. Right now, all U.S. states allow children to skip vaccinations for medical reasons. And 47 states, Omer said, allow exemptions due to families' religious beliefs, "personal beliefs," or both. Three states allow only ... Read more

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Anti-Vaxxers More Likely To Vent On Twitter

Posted 9 Oct 2017 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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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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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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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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Mumps Cases Hit 10-Year High in U.S.

Posted 22 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21, 2016 – Mumps cases have hit a 10-year high in the United States, and the contagious disease is especially common on college campuses, an infectious disease expert says. Before a mumps vaccine became widely available in the United States in 1967, nearly every child would get infected. Since then, cases have declined more than 99 percent, but outbreaks still occur, according to Dr. Cristie Columbus. An infectious disease specialist, she is vice dean of Texas A&M College of Medicine's Dallas campus. Symptoms include enlarged salivary glands – which cause puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw – along with fever, fatigue and head and muscle aches. Up to 40 percent of people with mumps have mild symptoms or none at all and may not realize they are sick. But, they can still spread the disease to others. Mumps symptoms typically begin 16 to 18 days after infection. They last a ... 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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