According to Dr. Mark Grabowsky, of the Office of the (UN) Secretary General s Special Envoy, referring to the dramatic reduction in contagious diseases over the past century, The elimination of the diseases from the Americas is a triumph of public health. And how do we explain that triumph? It s because of good vaccines and effective immunization programs. Well, here s two reasons to make sure to get vaccinated.
First, Sacramento County has just officially updated the number of flu fatalities in the county to 24 individuals; 13 women and 11 men. So far, 98 people total have been hospitalized with the flu, predominantly of the H1N1 influenza A virus. These numbers give more justification to the fact that if you have not already received the flu vaccine, you should go out and get it now.
And second, because of our effective vaccines, measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome are no longer endemic in the United States, and haven t been for over a decade, according to Dr. Mark Papania of the CDC s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. More than 90 percent of the United States population has received the measles and rubella vaccines, which are given together. Outbreaks of these diseases have been associated with imported virus, mainly from Europe, and tend to cluster in areas where parents are refusing to vaccinate their children.
It seems as if we have come full circle. The prevalence of measles and rubella has been increasing in Europe due to lax views regarding vaccines, as well as increasing visibility of anti-vaccine groups. According to Dr. Gabrowsky, After 500 years, we have now returned to a situation where the Americas are free from indigenous measles and rubella with Europe once again a source of importations. And the greatest threat now to the highly successful U.S. immunization program is parents hesitancy to vaccinate their children.
ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says, We have been talking about the importance of vaccinations for years. There is really no good reason for a parent to chose to leave a child vulnerable to these completely preventable diseases.