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View Diary: It's flu season (featuring a shot without pain!) (263 comments)

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  •  Thanks for posting all this -- I'm a big believer (9+ / 0-)

    in flu shots and in vaccinations in general. I published an article a number of years ago (in the Statistical Bulletin, now defunct) on the epidemics of childhood diseases in the 1980's that occurred as a result of the drop in vaccination rates. National surveys had documented a drop in vaccination rates among children and the Reagan Administration took a courageous stand to address the problem -- they discontinued the surveys!
    Once Clinton was in office and we got the Vaccines for Children program passed (my organization was in the lead on that one), the immunization rates started climbing. Rates for individual antigens are pretty high -- many are in the 90's, but newer ones and the pertussis vaccine are lower.  However, when you look at the rate of young children being fully immunized, meaning having gotten all their recommended vaccines, between 20&30% have missed at least one vaccine.
    Haven't looked at the newest data, but generally pertussis (whooping cough) is lower because parents are still frightened by the high fever that was sometimes associated with it. They don't realize that it's a different vaccine now and doesn't have the same problems. Not surprisingly, we've never gotten the incidence of whooping cough down to a really low level.
    One other thing -- one of my favorite false facts/fallacies is an argument the anti-vaccine people have used in publications. They claim that rates of some of childhood diseases first covered by vaccines (e.g., measles/mumps/rubella) went up after the licensing and administration of the vaccine. What these people fail to report is that prior to the licensing of the vaccine, these diseases were not "Reportable Infectious Diseases" meaning that health care providers were not required to report them. Reporting was, therefore, hit or miss.
    The reporting requirement was established at about the same time as vaccine licensure -- so what really went up was the reporting of the diseases. Such a bald-faced set of lies especially given that these immunization opponents don't show the incredible drop in incidence of the diseases with the increase in immunization. Polio wiped out in our part of the world, haemophilus influenzae type b illnesses, once a major cause of developmental delays in children, now a fraction of what it once was.  Vaccinations are a major success in disease prevention and in a way, the most natural kind of prevention since they make use of the body's own defenses.

    If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

    by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:39:55 AM PDT

    •  I am in complete agreement, excellent informative (5+ / 0-)

      comment.

    •  wonderful comment! (5+ / 0-)

      thanks!!

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:36:42 AM PDT

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      •  just one more bit from CDC (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT, ladybug53, ER Doc

        first on Hib from before and after the vaccine:

        Before the first vaccine was licensed, an estimated 20,000 cases of Hib invasive disease occurred each year, and Hib was the leading cause of childhood bacterial meningitis and postnatal mental retardation (8,18). The incidence of disease declined slowly after licensure of the polysaccharide vaccine; the decline accelerated after the 1987 introduction of polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines for toddlers and the 1990 recommendation to vaccinate infants. In 1998, 125 cases of Hib disease and Haemophilis influenzae invasive disease of unknown serotype among children aged less than 5 years were provisionally reported: 54 were Hib and 71 were of unknown serotype (CDC, unpublished data, 1998). In less than a decade, the use of the Hib conjugate vaccines nearly eliminated Hib invasive disease among children.

        http://www.cdc.gov/...
        and in 2009 there were 38 cases of Hib in children younger than 5.  Pretty amazing!

        If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

        by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:54:17 AM PDT

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        •  yeah (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tamar, ladybug53, ER Doc, ebohlman

          I'm old enough to emember treating HiB, both epiglottitis and meningitis.

          Happy to forget about them.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:23:24 PM PDT

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          •  We had a baby the next town over die from (0+ / 0-)

            haemophilus influenzae type a earlier this year.  Do you know if that is becoming more common?  We're very close to Canada and relatively close to Alaska, where I think there was some concern about serotype replacement, especially among the indigenous people.  Do you think it's possible Hia is replacing Hib in some areas of the country?

            I would love for H. influenzae epiglottis and meningitis to remain just a memory, but am worried that won't be the case.

          •  I have a hard time imagining a scarier condition (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT

            than epiglottitis (the epiglottis is the little piece of tissue in your throat that blocks off your airway while you're swallowing so you don't get food in your lungs. In epiglottitis, it swells up so it's blocking the airway all the time).

            "We recommend, as a precautionary measure, that people with respiratory infections should be advised not to blow their vuvuzela in enclosed spaces and where there is a risk of infecting others."

            by ebohlman on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:33:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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