Vaccine News Roundup

October 19, 2018 Rene F. Najera

It’s Friday, so it’s time to take a look at this week’s vaccine news:

In the United States, more children are going unvaccinated:

"While most children are receiving recommended immunizations, the number of children who aren't being vaccinated by 24-months-old has been gradually increasing, a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. 

Uninsured and Medicaid-insured children were less likely to be vaccinated, according to the 2017 survey. The survey used data from the 2017 National Immunization Survey-Child and focused on children ages 19- to 35-months-old.

Since 2001, the percentage of unvaccinated babies and toddlers quadrupled from 0.3 percent to 1.3 percent in 2015."

In Arizona, a program by the state department of health services to teach children about vaccines was canceled after protests from a small, but vocal group of parents:

"The pilot online course, modeled after programs in Oregon and Michigan, was created in response to the rising number of Arizona schoolchildren skipping school-required immunizations against diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough because of their parents' beliefs.

But some parents, who were worried the optional course was going to become mandatory, complained to the Governor's Regulatory Review Council, which reviews regulations to ensure they are necessary and do not adversely affect the public. The six-member council is appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey, with an ex-officio general counsel.

Members of the council questioned the state health department about the course after receiving the public feedback about it, emails show. The state responded by canceling it.

The complaints that ended the pilot program came from about 120 individuals and families, including 20 parents who said that they don't vaccinate their children, records show."

In California, a state senator is facing a challenge from an independent candidate, and there is discussion about vaccine policy between them:

"The 2105 mandatory vaccination bill sparked anger and fury at the State Capitol, where hundreds of parents showed up to demonstrate their opposition. SB 277 eventually passed and became California law.

Since that time, vaccination rates in California have risen to 95 percent, the second highest reading reported since 2002, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Frame said he is strongly opposed to mandatory vaccinations.

“After seeing my mother going through chemotherapy, I do not agree with mandating any medial procedures, right now,” Frame said. “And, when you see a health care system that is based on profit and that is based on chemicals over natural remedies, you know to me, we need to at least have a choice."

When asked if he is an anti-vaxer, Frame replied, “I wouldn’t call myself anti-vax."

“I’d call myself pro-informed consent. And that just means making a choice, choosing what’s injected into our babies’ bodies,” Frame said. “I think that’s not too much to ask. And when it comes to vaccines, there are adverse effects."

Pan disputes that vaccinations are harmful and his bill protects parents.

“I would actually argue that they have a choice,” Pan said. “Because they can still educate their children. They can still home school their child. They can do independent study through the public school system.”"

Dr. Peter Hotez, father to an autistic child, talks in an interview about his experiences while promoting the use of vaccines for public health and how vaccines did not cause his daughter's autism:

"Just before that time, Hotez’s daughter, Rachel, born in 1992, was diagnosed with autism. As he and his wife struggled to understand Rachel’s needs, Hotez was gathering up the data showing how spurious the vaccine-autism link was, and learning that most researchers were looking elsewhere to understand the condition. But these messages were often crowded out by vaccine doubts, Hotez says.

“It’s still a source of tremendous frustration, and I’m trying to turn it into something positive by writing this book.”

The book blends the history of vaccination and the anti-vaccine movement with Hotez’s personal history as an autism dad and vaccine scientist. Together, the narratives make a compelling argument for why vaccines are one of the most important tools humans have in our battle against disease — and why the turn against these life-saving shots by some requires our urgent attention.

But is Hotez just preaching to the converted, or will he be able to quell vaccine doubts? I asked him about that, his experience with cyberbullying, why the public health community has failed to defend vaccines, and what’s at stake if vaccine skepticism isn’t addressed head-on. Here’s our conversation, edited for length and clarity."

In Texas, dozens of students don't want to comply with the requirement to get the meningococcal vaccine as a condition for attending the University of Texas at Austin:

"Out of 78 total students at UT exempt from the meningococcal vaccination for the 2018–19 school year, 68 were exempt for reasons of conscience.

According to data obtained by The Daily Texan through a Texas Public Information Act request, the remaining students were exempt for medical reasons, age and one reason that could not be determined.

Under the Jamie Schanbaum and Nicolis Williams Act of 2011, all students under the age of 22 attending a university in Texas must get vaccinated for bacterial meningitis, a fatal infection that causes swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain. However, students can file an affidavit to receive an exemption from this requirement for medical reasons or reasons of conscience."

And now, some quick links:

That’s if for this week. As always, if you see some vaccine-related news that we should know about, feel free to contact us or put it in the comments.

Thank you for your time.

Header photo by LuisRicardo on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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