History of Vaccines Blog


Noviembre 23, 2018  Rene F. Najera

There were a lot of vaccine-related news in the world. Here are some of our top picks for you... Read more...

Posted in: General, Influenza, Measles, Vaccine Research

Noviembre 19, 2018  Rene F. Najera

Measles was originally eliminated from the United States back in the year 2000. By eliminated, we mean that the disease is no longer being transmitted from person to person in a regular way. It is no longer one of the different childhood diseases, and it shouldn't. Lately, it seems that measles is trying to make a comeback, especially in populations where there are enough unvaccinated (and, thus, susceptible) individuals to trigger an outbreak. So let's see what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health are reporting about measles... Read more...

Posted in: Measles

Agosto 8, 2018  Karie Youngdahl

Just last year, in the midst of ongoing measles outbreaks, Italian lawmakers cracked down on parents who avoided vaccinating their children enrolled in public schools. Parents would be fined if their children were not in compliance with 10 vaccination requirements by age 6.  On Friday, August 3, a new coalition of populist and conservative legislators in the Italian Senate reversed direction, passing a measure that would eliminate the requirement that parents demonstrate their schoolchildren are immunized. The measure was supported by the recently ascendant Five-Star Movement and the League (Lega). Five Star had promised, if elected, to address the vaccination requirements.  Read more...

Posted in: General, Measles, Public Health

Julio 23, 2018  Karie Youngdahl

Civil conflicts and unrest often occur hand in hand with disease outbreaks -- disruption to travel and national and local economies can lead to interruption of routine immunization activities, leaving children and others vulnerable to infection. Such is the case with significant increases in measles incidence in Venezuela, where civil unrest and an unstable economy are affecting all aspects of life. Domestic immunization activities have been affected in some areas, and young cohorts of children are under-unvaccinated and thus vulnerable to measles, one of the most highly communicable of the vaccine-preventable diseases. Read more...

Posted in: Measles

Abril 19, 2018  Karie Youngdahl

Seven measles deaths have occurred in Europe so far this year as the disease continues to circulate in under-vaccinated populations. By country, the highest number of measles cases in the European Union since January 1, 2018, occurred in Greece (1,008), Romania (757), France (429), and Italy (164). The 2018 deaths have all been reported from these 4 countries – Romania (3), Italy (2), Greece (1) and France (1). A total of 2,569 measles cases were reported in Europe in the first two months of 2018. In contrast, the United States has reported 34 cases of measles since the beginning of 2018 and no deaths. Because measles is a highly infectious, easily transmitted virus, vaccination rates need to be very high to stop transmission and end the circulation of measles virus in an area. The target immunization coverage for the second dose of measles-containing vaccine is 95%, but 20 of 27 European countries have rates below that level. Read more...

Posted in: Measles

Julio 11, 2017  Karie Youngdahl

A year of measles outbreaks in Europe have led to 35 deaths and more than 12,000 confirmed cases. Thirty-one of the measles deaths have occurred in Romania, where years of declining measles-containing vaccine (MCV) coverage is taking its toll. For 2015, the World Health Organization estimates two-dose MCV coverages at 88% of Romanian children, down from a high of 97% coverage in 2003. Measles remains endemic in 14 European countries. In most countries experiencing outbreaks this year, measles immunization rates are much lower than the 95% coverage needed to support herd immunity.Italy alone has recorded 3,300 confirmed cases of measles and one death this year to date – the last time the US, obviously a much larger country, recorded more cases was in 1991, the year of a major epidemic. Read more...

Posted in: Measles, Public Health

Octubre 12, 2016  Karie Youngdahl

Frequent visitors to this site will probably be acquainted with the name Maurice Hilleman and the man's work. During a long career with the U.S. Army, Squibb, and Merck, Hilleman developed dozens of vaccines and made important innovations in vaccinology. Before Hilleman died in 2005, Paul A. Offit, MD, himself developer of a widely used rotavirus vaccine, filmed a series of interviews with Hilleman and other scientists. Now Dr. Offit has produced and released a documentary using the footage, and we are proud to host a screening of it. It's an excellent film, with fascinating historical footage, animations, and insights into the world of infectious diseases prevention. Please join us for the screening -- we think you'll really enjoy the film. Read more...

Posted in: General, Measles

Septiembre 30, 2016  Karie Youngdahl

The World Health Organization Region of the Americas has achieved a milestone in disease elimination – the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on September 27, 2016, declared the Americas to be free of endemic measles. In the pre-vaccine era, the WHO estimates that measles killed 2.6 million children per year globally, and so measles elimination has done a great deal to combat a major threat to child health. The Region of the Americas is the first of the six WHO regions to eliminate transmission of measles. The United States was certified measles-free in 2000, and the last cases of endemic measles were reported in other countries of the region in 2002. The International Expert Committee for Documenting and Verifying Measles, Rubella, and Congenital Rubella Syndrome Elimination in the Americas was responsible for collecting reports from region countries to certify that measles has in fact been eliminated. Polio (certification in 1994), rubella (2015) and smallpox (1971) have been eliminated from the region as well, and, of course, smallpox has been eradicated globally (certification in 1980). Read more...

Posted in: Measles, Public Health

Febrero 6, 2015  Karie Youngdahl

I’ve been getting calls from reporters and producers in record numbers in the past weeks as US measles cases have been increasing. I’ve talked to people from Bloomberg Politics, the San Jose Mercury News, CNN, the Baltimore Sun, Men’s Health, Chicago public radio station WBEZ, CBS Interactive, Canadian radio show Day 6, Sirius XM’s Doctor Radio, and a local Philadelphia TV station. The one interaction I’ve had that distressed me was with a local TV station. They asked me to appear on a news magazine segment to talk about measles history and the history of the anti-vaccination movement. A few other segments would air on the same show, one about health insurance enrollment and one about, of all things, sport betting. Read more...

Posted in: Measles, Public Health

Enero 27, 2015  Karie Youngdahl

I've been closely following, as I'm sure most of you have, the recent outbreaks of measles originating from exposures at Disneyland. I wrote about this the other day (and included some information about a lesser-known measles outbreak in a small South Dakota town). Since then, reported cases of measles have climbed. As of the writing of this post, 88 measles cases have been reported and linked directly or indirectly to the initial exposures at Disneyland. It's too soon to know the vaccination history of every person who has developed measles, but usually what we see in measles outbreaks is that the great majority of cases are completely unvaccinated. A smaller number will have had one vaccine (not the recommended two), and an even smaller number will have been fully vaccinated. This is no surprise: the measles vaccine is highly effective at preventing disease, but 2-5% of individuals vaccinated once do not respond to the vaccine. So, some vaccinated individuals will remain unprotected. Read more...

Posted in: Measles