vaccination

The reason there is no universal flu vaccine is because the influenza virus constantly changes. That's why we get jabbed with a new vaccine every season; the vaccine from the previous year is unlikely to work against the strains of flu circulating this year.

The hunt for a universal influenza vaccine is based on targeting parts of the virus that don't change. In theory, antibodies generated against these portions of the virus should confer protection against all influenza viruses. Whoever develops and successfully demonstrates such a vaccine should win a Nobel Prize.

But this may not be the only strategy for the creation of universal vaccines. Indeed, a team of researchers who are concerned by mosquito-borne illnesses has described a very clever idea for the development...

How can we get more parents to vaccinate their children? That is one of the questions that keep me and others in the pro-science community awake at night. 

A new correspondence in The Lancet may bring us one step closer to an answer through its analysis of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program in Ireland that began in 2010. 

The HPV vaccination program targeted girls aged 12–13 years. At the beginning of the program, the percentage of girls who were vaccinated was above 80%, reaching its highest level of vaccination in 2014–15 of 86.9% (see figure below.)

However, the high rate of vaccination dropped to 72·3% in 2015-16 (see figure below)...

Measles, which still kills about 90,000 people around the world every year, isn't the only microbe making a comeback. Rotavirus could too, a bug that causes diarrhea and kills around 200,000 children under the age of five.

The CDC immunization schedule recommends that babies receive their first dose of rotavirus vaccine at the age of two months. However, only about 73% of American children have completed all doses. Once again, we are flirting with a preventable disaster....

It's a shocking number. Last year, nearly 90,000 people around the world died from measles. This is the same disease that anti-vaxxers mocked as "Mickey Mouse measles" following the Disneyland outbreak, implying that the viral infection isn't serious.

But it is serious. Deadly serious. As recently as the year 2000, more than 500,000 people died from measles every single year. The reason for the dramatic decrease in deaths is because of a concerted global effort to eradicate the virus through vaccination. And it is clearly paying off.

To demonstrate the benefit of vaccination, the CDC calculated the number of deaths that are still occurring worldwide due to measles and the number of deaths that would have occurred had there been no global eradication program from 2000 to...

We‘ve written extensively about the move by some to avoid routine vaccinations of children on the totally unproven grounds that some vaccines contain mercury or might cause autism. The truth is, of course, that vaccination not only prevents disease in vaccine recipients but also via herd immunity, can protect those who can’t be vaccinated for medical or other reasons. Considering the coverage anti-vaxxers have garnered at times, one might fear that most children entering school are at risk of measles or chickenpox or other ills. However, some recent statistics from the CDC should help allay these concerns.

Writing in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Dr. Michael Underwood and colleagues...

Every semester, I would start my lecture on Bordetella pertussis by playing the sound of a baby with whooping cough - loudly and for a long enough time that my students almost couldn't bear to listen to it anymore.

The sound of a baby that cannot breathe is one of the most upsetting sounds imaginable and I hope that, by listening to it, they gained an appreciation of how horrific whooping cough can be. Of course, we then would shut the sound off and go on with our lecture - something that a parent of an infant with whooping cough cannot do.

If you want to listen to it, and I encourage you to, click here. If you want to fully understand what whooping cough does to infants, watch...

i_love_vaccines_t_shirts-rcc3bcf37b21247b9845621ed86a9e63d_804gy_1024A New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that a recent New York City mandate, requiring a flu vaccination for kids as a condition for attending school or daycare, was invalid.

State Supreme Court Judge Manuel J. Mendez found that NYC's mandatory influenza vaccination requirement for children aged six months through five years who are in, or plan to attend...

HPV vaccine one-shot now!Pertussis, or whooping cough, is one of those vaccine-preventable diseases that have been on the rise because of waning immunity and low rates of revaccination, as well as fears of some parents.

One issue that has concerned some parents is the rare occurrence of fevers and seizures, or so-called febrile seizures, in babies post-vaccination. Such seizures...

HPV vaccine one-shot now!When babies come down with whooping cough, the odds were that mom was the proximate source of the contagious viral illness. Not any more, according to a new study: it is more likely that a sibling is the source, new research reveals. That is the bottom line of a study led by Dr. Tami H. Skoff of the CDC and colleagues, "Sources of Infant Pertussis Infection in the United States."

The...

PregnantIn a recent New York Times column, Jane Brody encourages pregnant women to get vaccinated, both for their own health and for the benefit of their newborn babies.

She first condemns the anti-vaccination movement, citing it as a reason why many pregnant women skip vaccinations: Most women now of childbearing age are too young to have witnessed the harm associated with these...