Tag Archives: vaccination

Officials air concerns about potential for worse flu season

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Public health officials have warned over the past several weeks the U.S. flu season this year may be worse than usual following a tough flu season in Australia.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN that “in general, we get in our season what the Southern Hemisphere got in the season immediately preceding us and an intelligent guess” is that North America will most likely have a bad flu season.

Further, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, influenza chief at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Associated Press that: “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but there’s a chance we could have a season similar to Australia.” Continue reading

Confusion persists over timing of flu shots for older adults

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: KOMUnews via Flickr

Photo: KOMUnews via Flickr

Fall has arrived so it’s time for older adults to get their flu shots. Or is it?

Older adults are at greater risk of serious complications of the disease than those under age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They recommend that everyone get vaccinated by the end of October, if possible, as the best way to prevent the flu. Continue reading

Journalists around the country track vaccination rates

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

As many are reporting, the measles outbreak has parents and officials questioning state laws that allow unvaccinated children to attend school, under religious or philosophical exemptions. Forty-eight states allow religious exemptions, according to this map from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

News organizations are compiling interactive maps, databases and other widgets to show vaccination rates by state and, sometimes county. Some allow searching for specific schools.

USA Today has searchable data on exemptions in 13 states, with more to come. The states it covers include California, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia. (Update: As of Feb. 9, it has added Arkansas, Georgia, Washington and Wisconsin.) Continue reading

Vaccine waivers contribute to outbreak

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

In the wake of California’s public health director’s declaration that whooping cough has reached epidemic status, California Watch’s Christina Jewett looks at public health data and where the number of cases are highest.

She finds the most cases in Marin County, one of the state’s most affluent, and in Fresno County, which has “a vulnerable population gripped with child poverty and other ills.”

One contributing factor, according the Marin’s public health officer, is that more than 7 percent of kindergartners start school without vaccinations. Parents there are signing waivers to opt out of immunizations based on their beliefs that vaccinations are dangerous.

Jewett includes links for more information about such fears and about whooping cough. Her piece also includes the county-by-county data on whooping cough in California.

Mumps outbreak hits more than 1,500 in N.Y., N.J.

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

More than 1,500 cases of mumps in New York and New Jersey have prompted the CDC to update the public on the outbreak in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

According to the CDC, the outbreak appears to have originated with an 11-year-old boy who returned from a trip to the United Kingdom and then attended a summer camp for observant Jewish boys. The illness was transmitted to other attendees and staff members and has since spread as those people returned home. The CDC says 97 percent of the people with mumps “are members of the tradition-observant Jewish community.”

Child with mumps (Photo: Public Health Image Library)

Child with mumps (Photo: Public Health Image Library)

The CDC’s report includes information about how many of the people found to have mumps have been vaccinated – 88 percent had received one dose and 75 percent had received two doses.

The CDC says that, since 1967, when the mumps vaccine was licensed, to the early 2000s, the number of reported cases has gone from 186,000 to less than 500 annually but points out that “the effectiveness of the mumps component of the MMR vaccine is lower than that of the measles and rubella components.”

“The CDC hypothesized that the relatively closed social world of the communities and the large family sizes within them have played a role in preventing the disease from spreading further,” according to a brief from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.