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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Fighting Vaccine Hesitancy

From January 1 to December 5, 2019, 1,276* individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 31 states. CDC will now be updating these data monthly.
  • This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992. More than 75% of the cases this year are linked to recent outbreaks in New York. Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in U.S. communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.
  • The majority of cases are among people who were not vaccinated against measles.
  • Measles can cause serious complications. From January 1 – December 5, 2019, 124 of the people who got measles this year were hospitalized, and 61 reported having complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.
Psychology Today:
A systematic review published earlier this year in the journal Vaccine identified the top reasons U.S. parents are hesitant to vaccinate their children. The review included 71 studies that asked participants open-ended questions about vaccinations.
The review found the most commonly-described reasons were that vaccines can cause illnesses, can overwhelm a child’s immune system if they get too many vaccinations at once, and that vaccines contain harmful ingredients. Parents also expressed fears that naturally-developed immunity is better than immunity from vaccines, and that vaccines are simply an avenue for profit-making.

But, in reality, the evidence shows that childhood vaccines are extremely safe. A systematic review published in the journal Pediatrics found rare cases of skin rash, an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vaccine, and fever. It found no evidence that childhood vaccines lead to autism or leukemia.

This is notable because a fraudulent study published in the British journal The Lancet linked the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine to autism and colon inflammation. In 2010, the journal fully retracted the study after media reports that the author manipulated the evidence. Since then, medical scholars have called the debacle “the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years.” To help, public health officials have created interventions that can help pediatricians talk with vaccine-hesitant parents.
 Tess Lanzarotta at The Washington Post:
Pro-vaccine advertisements are more likely than anti-vaccine advertisements to be removed from Facebook, often because they fail to meet the requirements for “political” advertising. This probably occurs because pro-vaccine advertisers believe their messages convey scientific truth, rather than a political position. This failure, however, also reflects a broader mistake by pro-vaccine forces: They have assumed the scientific merits of vaccination are self-evident and sufficient to convince a skeptical public.
But they need to stop assuming and start organizing as a political movement that employs calculated marketing, applies political pressure to de-platform anti-vaxxers, strengthens legislation surrounding vaccination and maintains social pressure to undergo vaccination. This set of strategies could potentially calm anxiety among parents, which has been fueled by misinformation online, and beat anti-vaxxers at their own game.