Many Americans hold beliefs about the flu vaccine that are at odds with the best available scientific evidence. For example, a recent study found that more than two-fifths, or 43 percent, of Americans believe that the seasonal flu vaccine can give us the flu. Scientific research strongly suggests that this is not true. Because most modern flu shots do not contain a live virus, the shot itself simply cannot get us sick with the flu.
Only about 37% of American adults bothered to get a flu shot this past flu season. That's actually a decrease from the previous season, when about 43% got one. Partially as a result, 80,000 Americans died from the flu. On the flip side, we did buy more organic food than ever before.
When what's absent in a story carries equal or more weight than what is actually reported, the damage goes beyond ratings. It undermines public health.
The media reports of a polio-like condition mostly impacting children sound pretty scary. But let's give acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM, some well-needed context.
Municipalities may feel justified in trying to up the ante in the vaccine wars. Drunk drivers who kill somebody can be charged with manslaughter. Perhaps they have a point in saying this law should be extended to those who, through negligence, sicken or kill another person with a vaccine-preventable illness. That is certainly a far more palatable option than filling up tiny coffins.
A mumps outbreak has infected nearly 400 people in Alaska -- because apparently being stubborn and getting mumps is preferable to getting vaccinated.
If the goal is guaranteeing the safety of children, as well as protecting the general population being from infectious diseases, then why is the act of shaming playing any role in vaccine compliance?
A new study analyzes U.S. vaccination rates in children, specifically focusing on nonmedical exemptions in states and counties. The recommendations, however, fall short of the realities of medical practice.
Mosquitoes transmit a wide variety of nasty microbes, from viruses like dengue, yellow fever and Zika, to parasites like malaria. The sheer number and diversity of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes makes vaccine development a challenge. But what if a vaccine could, instead, target the mosquito?
Despite the reality of measles, rotavirus, and a plethora of other infectious diseases, there's yet another anti-vaccine movement afoot in California. And its aim is to turn the clock back to the 10th Century.
Last year, Italy had more than 5,000 cases, for an incidence of 8 per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the United States had 118 cases, for an incidence of roughly 0.04 per 100,000 people. The populist politicians and anti-vaxxers are to blame.
It's another vaccine success story, this time about rotavirus vaccines. Not only do the vaccines prevent the sometimes dangerous dehydration that accompanies this infection, they are also associated with a decreased occurrence of non-febrile seizures in infants and young children.