In the past few months, San Diego has seen a spike in the number of hepatitis A cases; the San Diego County Board of Supervisors puts the latest count at 516 cases, including 357 hospitalizations and 19 deaths. Vaccines, in fulfilling their original purpose, are preventative health tools meant to impede the potential for outbreaks of disease. Yet, outbreaks do occasionally occur and expose a large number of uninfected individuals who may not be immunized against diseases that are normally vaccine-preventable.
When it comes to keeping up with vaccinations, “booster” doses—doses administered after a completed series for added protection—are sometimes skipped. The CDC recommends that after age 19, adults should receive a Tdap booster dose every 10 years, yet only one out of every five adults receives a Tdap booster.
“You’re going to catch pneumonia.” We’ve all heard the phrase – and maybe even had it directed at us. But, providers know it is not that easy to “catch” pneumonia. In reality, people catch the bacteria, viruses or fungi that can eventually cause pneumonia. With this often-misunderstood illness, providers have an opportunity to educate patients about the severity of pneumonia and help them determine the immunization recommendations that are right for them.
In early 2017, nearly 900 children in Ocean County, New Jersey faced possible revaccination when state health officials discovered that a pediatrician administered mumps, measles, chicken pox and other vaccines that had been improperly stored. The New Jersey example gives a glimpse into an important question among practices and clinics: how best to store vaccines.
When presented with a patient or a parent that is concerned about the use of vaccines, clinicians have many choices about what to do. One approach worthy of consideration is educating patients on the vaccine approval process that has led to what the CDC reports as the safest vaccine supply in U.S. history.
A number of recent articles and studies have looked at effective approaches for keeping patients on track with their immunizations and increasing overall uptake. In addition to being effective strategies, they are also feasible for providers to deploy.
While numerous studies have demonstrated its efficacy, HPV vaccination rates remain lower than other vaccinations recommended for the same age group, teens and pre-teens. Providers have an opportunity to consider how they communicate and deliver HPV vaccines to increase inoculation rates for teens.
As the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said, “Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future.” Medicine is ever-evolving, and this is especially true as it relates to vaccines. Vaccination research continues to advance the effectiveness of current vaccines and address new threatening viruses.
From prominent higher education institutions to popular sports teams, mumps have been in the spotlight. 2016 has seen more mumps outbreaks than any other year in the past decade. Reported cases are nearly tripled from 2015, according to the CDC.
While we know flu shots are the best form of protection from the virus, medical research has also shown that the vaccine guards against additional medical illnesses particularly for those with chronic health conditions.
To many doctors’ dismay, vaccine hesitancy, the delay or refusal of immunizations, is on the rise. According to a recent report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors are seeing more children whose parents have decided to forgo one or more of the recommended vaccinations.
A preferred preventative option for needle-shy adults and children has fallen from favor this flu season, and health officials are worried that many may now skip vaccine-based prevention altogether.
In August, we lost a giant in the field of epidemiology, a man credited with leading the war on history’s most lethal disease – smallpox. The passing of Dr. Donald A. Henderson leaves us to both appreciate his life’s work, and learn from, and apply, its lesson.
If you ask any pediatrician, it’s a tough call to decide who is more in pain from shots and immunizations – children or their parents. In reality, there’s both a physical and psychological component to shots, and both can be managed and mitigated with proper care, attention, and planning.
For years, the extent of the health advice given to college freshmen has been simple: beware the freshman 15, referring to the weight gain common among the first year away from home. But, there’s another health matter that freshmen should consider and take action on: immunizations.