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The number of Australian children formally registered each year as vaccination objectors has doubled in the past decade.
There were just over 2000 children whose parents registered them as vaccination objectors during 2002, ensuring they go without childhood immunisations, and in 2013 the figure was almost 4000.
There are “pockets” – such as coastal and hinterland NSW and Queensland – where around one in 10 children born in 2013 were registered as vaccine objectors.
Nationally, the official vaccination objection rate increased from 1.1 per cent of all children to 2.0 per cent over the period.
“I wouldn’t be alarmed by the increase overall for Australia,” epidemiologist Brynley Hull, from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, told us last week.
“But I would be alarmed by the high rates in particular regions of Australia, where we have high objection rates and consequently you get low coverage and susceptible children.
These areas include the Richmond Valley in NSW, where the official vaccination objection rate in 2013 was 10.8 per cent. Noosa (7.2), Nambour (8.4) and NSW’s Sunshine Coast hinterland (8.5) also figure highly.
The study also found suburbs in the top 10 per cent of affluent post codes had higher rates of vaccination objection compared to poorer suburbs.
Most families who lodge an objection notice do so when their child is less than two years old.
The study took in Medicare-compiled data from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, to assess the number of families who lodge a vaccination objection notice each year.
Mr Hull presented the data at a national immunisation conference in Melbourne.
The New Daily
Every child, no matter where he or she is born, has the right to the opportunity of a healthy life and vaccines are one of the best ways to assure it. 22.6 million children in developing countries do not receive life-saving vaccines that parents in wealthy nations take for granted. GAVI exists to redress this inequity.
A summary of key moments from the replenishment launch event in Brussels, May 19-20, 2014 is captured the short video below.
Vaccines cross borders readily given their relative ease of administration and durable effects. Not only have vaccines contributed to long-term health gains in high-income countries and the decisive eradication of smallpox, but vaccination campaigns in developing countries have played an important part in reducing neonatal mortality. Yet the ongoing setbacks in the global mission to control poliomyelitis, which have included violent targeted opposition to polio vaccination projects in Pakistan, emphasise the political dimension of health programmes and of vaccination in particular.
Please read this important message from Amanda and take action now by calling Congress with the message that this matters to you!
Message from Amanda Peet:
Last year, I traveled to Kenya, and while I was there I had a chance to meet fellow moms and their kids. Some of these families had walked several miles for their children to receive what, to us here in the States, are routine immunizations against diseases that many of us have never, and will never, see in our lifetime.
I’m convinced that if mothers and fathers in the U.S. banded together, if we told all of our friends and brought this issue to our representatives in Congress, we could be on the right side of history.
In the next few weeks, Congress will decide how much funding will go to support critical health programs, including global childhood vaccines. But, they need to hear from YOU!
Routine immunizations save the lives of millions of children around the world every year. By voicing our support, we can make sure that U.S. support for global vaccine programs continues.
Please join me in giving children around the world a shot at life.
Amanda Peet – Actress and Shot@Life Global Advocate
Shot of Prevention
Nurses who work in hospitals facilitate patient care in several ways. They process individuals through triage, monitor clinical changes and often provide follow-up care after hospital discharge. One of the most important tasks for nurses is to provide health education for patients outside the hospital setting. Currently, one of the most important topics in medicine is the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases, including pertussis. New research, published in the Journal of Christian Nursing, suggested that nurses can play a prominent role in fighting this trend by educating patients and families about the importance of immunization.
‘Practitioners must build a trusting relationship’
According to the authors of the study, the average annual rate of pertussis infections in the U.S. jumped from fewer than 3,000 cases per year during the 1980s to 48,000 in 2012. Within the latter statistic were 20 deaths.
There are two main factors that drive the rising rate of pertussis in the U.S. One is the arrival of non-immunized immigrants, and the other is the increased utilization of non-medical exemptions from inoculation due to both religious and non-religious reasons. Language barriers, financial concerns and the availability of vaccines are also influential.
“Practitioners must build a trusting relationship with patients and reinforce the need for vaccinations through face-to-face contact, engaging parents to discuss concerns, and provide evidence-based research to guide recommendations and reassure patients of the safety of vaccines,” the authors wrote. This may entail creating educational materials for hospital waiting rooms, or reassuring parents that current formulations of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis do not contain thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that had been tied to autism. Another point that is important to raise during the discussion of pertussis is the fact that babies cannot be inoculated against this infection until they are at least 2 months old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before then, they are at their most vulnerable to the bacterial infection. To protect newborn children, nurses and other providers should talk to expectant mothers about receiving a pertussis shot during the third trimester, surrounding the baby only with individuals who had been previously immunized and, eventually, making sure a baby receives all the recommended vaccines as scheduled. The CDC also noted that most babies are infected by their parents, older siblings or caregivers who are not aware that they carry the disease.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) currently recommends that people who have not completed the three-dose vaccination series against hepatitis B virus (HBV) should receive the missed doses: ie, the three-dose regimen does not need to be restarted. How- ever, evidence suggests that a two-dose regimen may provide adequate seroprotection for healthy young adults. As the three-dose regimen has been shown to protect 90% to 100% of adults, it has gained widespread acceptance and is now standard clinical practice. However, deviating from the three-dose regimen may not leave healthy young adults vulnerable to HBV infection.
A two-dose regimen may provide adequate seroprotection for healthy younger adults.
Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine
For every 15 healthcare providers who receive the influenza vaccination, one fewer person in the community will contract an influenza-like illness, according to a study using California public health data from 2009 – 2012.
In an abstract presented on June 7 at the 41st Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), a researcher analyzed archival data from the California Department of Public Health to determine the relationship between vaccinating healthcare personnel against influenza and the rate of influenza-like illness in the surrounding community.
“This study suggests that there is a strong connection between how many healthcare personnel are vaccinated against the flu and how many cases of influenza-like illnesses are reported in the community,” said James F. Marx, PhD, RN, CIC, investigator and founder of Broad Street Solutions, an infection prevention consultancy. “More research would be helpful to further understand the impact of vaccinating healthcare workers on community influenza rates.”
For the 2011-2012 influenza season, the influenza vaccination rate of California hospital healthcare personnel was 68 percent. According to Marx, if 90 percent of California healthcare personnel were vaccinated – the goal set by the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 initiative – there would be about 30,000 fewer cases of influenza-like illness in California.
Influenza-like illness causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year and, on average, 24,000 people die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu.
Marx said: “It is critical that healthcare providers receive the flu vaccine since they come into contact with our most vulnerable community members.”
Beginning last flu season, the County of Los Angeles was one of 12 California counties that began requiring healthcare personnel to receive the influenza vaccination or wear protective masks. APIC recommends that all healthcare personnel – in acute care hospitals, long-term care and other facilities – require annual influenza immunization as a condition of employment unless there are compelling medical contraindications. Read the APIC position paper on influenza vaccination.
“Efforts to promote influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel have traditionally focused on protecting patients inside healthcare facilities,” said APIC 2014 President Jennie Mayfield, BSN, MPH, CIC. “Now we have evidence that through enhanced healthcare worker vaccination we can protect the broader community. This represents a tremendous public health opportunity.”
APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology)
Epidemiological data about congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) are scarce and rubella vaccine is not yet included in the childhood immunization schedule in Sudan. A study of Omer Adam, Ahmed Ali, Judith Hübschen and Claude Muller indentified and described CRS cases among Sudanese infants with congenital eye or heart defects.
BMC Infectious Diseases
Question: I have never had chickenpox. Do I still need shingles vaccine?
Answer: Not everyone knows the connection between chickenpox (a childhood disease) and shingles (a condition that usually hits adults). So let’s begin with that.
Chickenpox and shingles are both caused by the same virus: varicella-zoster virus. Once you have had chickenpox, VZV remains in your body’s nerve tissues for the rest of your life, alive but inactive. But it can be reactivated later in life, causing shingles.
Not long ago, nearly every kid got chickenpox. Today, fewer kids get it, thanks to the varicella vaccine (Varivax), which was approved in 1995. Shingles is also on the decline, thanks to the Zostavax vaccine, which was approved for older adults in 2006.
After you are first infected with the virus, it takes up permanent residence in your nerves. Specifically, it finds its way to the knots of nerve cells on each side of your spinal cord, called the dorsal root ganglia. The nerve fibers that sense pain in your skin lead to these ganglia.
When the virus reactivates (or “reawakens”) in the dorsal root ganglia, it travels down the nerves that lead to the skin. This causes a burning or tingling sensation or a shooting pain. Your skin may be extremely sensitive — so much so that you cannot stand clothing touching or rubbing the area.
After a few days, the virus reaches the skin. Painful, itchy blisters may cluster in patches, or form a continuous line that roughly follows the path of the infected nerve. That’s the usual pattern of shingles: first a few days of the unpleasant sensation, then the rash.
About 10 percent of adults who get shingles experience post-herpetic neuralgia. This is long-term pain in the area of skin where blisters occurred, even after the rash has healed completely. This condition may last for months or even years.
So, to your question: Since you never had chickenpox, should you get the shingles vaccine? Yes. There are several reasons. First, not everyone who becomes infected with VZV gets chickenpox. You may have been infected, and thus may be at risk for shingles.
The vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles by about 50 percent if you are 60 or older.
Although you asked only about the shingles vaccine, there’s another vaccine you should discuss with your doctor. Even though I said that you could have been infected with VZV and not developed chickenpox, it also is possible that you really never have been infected with VZV.
A simple blood test can tell you whether you have VZV in your body. If not, you are at risk for getting chickenpox as an adult, which can be a serious illness. You should talk to your doctor about getting the vaccine.