Archive for the ‘vaccine’ Category

Anti-vaxxers celebrate victory in NJ as pro-vaccine bill falls apart

January 14th, 2020
Anti-vaccine protesters outside the NJ State House.

Enlarge / Anti-vaccine protesters outside the NJ State House. (credit: Twitter | NJ.com politics)

Amid raucous protest from hundreds of anti-vaccination advocates, state lawmakers in New Jersey have abandoned legislation to ban vaccination exemptions based on religious beliefs.

The bill, S2173, collapsed in the state Senate Monday as lawmakers realized it was a single vote shy of passage, according to The New York Times. The defeat came after a last-ditch effort to amend the beleaguered legislation, which ultimately generated new opposition.

S2173 would have prohibited parents from using religious beliefs as an excuse to get out of providing standard, life-saving immunizations for their children. Instead, only children with medical conditions that preclude a child from being vaccinated—as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—would be granted an exemption.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in anti-vax, CDC, immunization, Infectious disease, measles, outbreak, public health, religious vaccination exemptions, science, vaccine | Comments (0)

Unusual type of flu virus is dominating early start to this year’s flu season

December 10th, 2019
A child received a vaccination against influenza A (H1N1).

Enlarge / A child received a vaccination against influenza A (H1N1). (credit: Getty | BSIP)

The 2019-2020 flu season is up and running—and so far, it's off to a weird start.

Flu activity has been elevated since the start of November and is only expected to continue climbing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in its latest flu update. That's a few weeks earlier than in past years.

Flu season in the United States can ramp up in the fall and peak anywhere between December and March, then drag itself out as late as May. In the last 36 years, flu most often ramped up in December and January and peaked in February. But for this winter, the CDC says there's a 40 percent chance the flu will peak in December based on activity so far.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in CDC, flu, flu season, Infectious disease, influenza, public health, science, vaccine, viruses | Comments (0)

Unvaccinated Samoans must identify themselves with red flags, officials say

December 5th, 2019
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi receiving a measles vaccine to support the Mass Vaccination Drive

Enlarge / Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi receiving a measles vaccine to support the Mass Vaccination Drive (credit: Samoan Government)

People who have not been vaccinated against the measles virus must mark their homes with red flags, Samoan officials announced Tuesday.

The decree comes amid a devastating outbreak of measles, which was declared in October. As of December 3, officials have recorded 4,052 cases, 171 of which were recorded within the 24 hours before the tally. Officials also reported 60 deaths, 52 of which were in children aged 0 to 4 years old.

The outbreak has flourished after the vaccination rate of infants plunged to an estimated 31 percent last year. Health officials linked the drop in vaccination to the tragic deaths of two infants, who were given measles vaccines tainted with fatal doses of muscle relaxant. Two nurses were convicted in the cases and sentenced to five years in prison. Despite the convictions, anti-vaccine advocates have used the cases to drum up fear of vaccines.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in anti-vaccine, Infectious disease, measles, outbreak, samoa, science, vaccine | Comments (0)

Bonkers pricing of “free” flu shots shows what’s wrong with US healthcare

November 19th, 2019
A chain pharmacy uses it sign to advertise flu shots.

Enlarge / Regardless of the crazy pricing, you should get your flu shot. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

The annual flu shots that are free to those with health insurance are not immune from the convoluted and contemptible price-gouging that plague the US healthcare system.

Health insurance companies pay wildly different amounts for the same vaccines depending on how negotiations go with individual medical providers across the country. In some cases, providers have forced insurers to pay upward of three times the price they would pay to other providers, according to an investigation by Kaiser Health News.

The outlet noted that one Sacramento, California, doctors’ office got an insurer to pay $85 for a flu shot that it offered to uninsured patients for $25.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in ACA, aetna, cigna, health insurance, healthcare, healthcare costs, influenze, science, vaccine | Comments (0)

The world finally has an approved vaccine against Ebola

November 13th, 2019
A nurse in PPE administers a shot to a man in an outdoor clinic.

Enlarge / A man receives a vaccine against Ebola from a nurse outside the Afia Himbi Health Center on July 15, 2019, in Goma. (credit: Getty | PAMELA TULIZO )

Regulators in Europe have granted the world's first approval of a vaccine against Ebola—and health officials are wasting no time in rolling it out.

The European Commission announced at the start of the week that it had granted a landmark marketing authorization of Merck's Ebola vaccine Ervebo. The vaccine has been in the works since the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak. It is now being used in the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo based on a "compassionate use" protocol.

The current outbreak in the DRC has killed nearly 2,200 since August 2018, causing nearly 3,300 cases. The outbreak is the second-largest recorded, surpassed only by the 2014 West African outbreak that caused more than 11,000 deaths and 28,000 cases.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Democratic Republic of the Congo, drug approval, ebola, europe, Infectious disease, public health, science, vaccine, viral disease, virus, WHO | Comments (0)

Revised CA vaccine bill would revoke exemptions from infamous anti-vax doc

September 9th, 2019
Dr. Robert Sears examines 2-month-old twins. Sears is among the doctors who have been found to have issued fraudulent medical vaccination exemptions.

Enlarge / Dr. Robert Sears examines 2-month-old twins. Sears is among the doctors who have been found to have issued fraudulent medical vaccination exemptions. (credit: Getty | Don Bartletti)

Hundreds of dubious medical exemptions handed out by California’s infamous anti-vaccine pediatrician, Dr. Robert Sears, would be revoked under fresh amendments to a state bill designed to boost vaccination rates.

The bill’s author, state Senator (and MD) Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), came to an agreement on the amendments late last week with California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The bill, SB 276, aims to crack down on bogus medical exemptions, which surged in the wake of the state’s 2015 law eliminating vaccine exemptions based on personal and religious beliefs. Dr. Pan was prompted to author the bill after discovering that some “unscrupulous” doctors had been exempting children from vaccine requirements based on questionable or outright sham medical reasons—sometimes for hefty fees. The exemptions left some communities under-protected from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in anti-vaccine, medical exemptions, science, vaccine, vaccine exemptions | Comments (0)

“We’re embarrassed”: US is close to losing measles-elimination status

August 28th, 2019
“We’re embarrassed”: US is close to losing measles-elimination status

(credit: Paramount/CBS)

There’s a “reasonable chance” that the US will soon lose its status as a country that has eliminated measles. That’s according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The World Health Organization considers a disease eliminated from a country or region if it has gone at least 12 months without continuous spread of said disease. (This is different from disease eradication, which is when a disease is completely stamped out globally. Humans have only managed to eradicate two diseases: smallpox and rinderpest, which infects cattle and other ruminants.)

The US triumphantly declared measles eliminated in 2000—after spending decades tenaciously working to promote widespread vaccination. (The CDC had originally hoped to have it eliminated by 1982.) And in 2016, the WHO declared measles eliminated from the Americas altogether. WHO’s Regional Office for the Americas (PAHO) celebrated the news with announcements titled, in part, “Bye, bye measles!”

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in anti-vaccine, CDC, disease, Infectious disease, measles, outbreaks, science, vaccine, WHO | Comments (0)

Anti-vax teen that fought ban amid chickenpox outbreak loses in court—again

July 1st, 2019

Judges in Kentucky have handed down another legal defeat to the unvaccinated teenager who sued his local health department for banning him from school and extracurricular activities amid a chickenpox outbreak earlier this year.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday quietly sided with the health department, saying that it was acting well within its powers to protect public health. The appeals court quoted an earlier ruling by the US Supreme Court saying that “Of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”

The Northern Kentucky Health Department declared the latest court decision a “resounding victory for public health in Kentucky,” in a statement.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in anti vacine, chickenpox, Infectious disease, public health, science, vaccine | Comments (0)

Anti-vaxxers defeated: NY bans exemptions as doctors vote to step up fight

June 14th, 2019
Actress Jessica Biel supporting prominent anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in an effort to protect non-medical vaccine exemptions.

Enlarge / Actress Jessica Biel supporting prominent anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in an effort to protect non-medical vaccine exemptions. (credit: Instragram)

Anti-vaccine advocates received a blow in New York Thursday as state lawmakers banned non-medical exemptions based on religious beliefs—and there may be more blows coming.

]Also on Thursday, the American Medical Association adopted a new policy to step up its fight against such non-medical exemptions. The AMA, the country’s largest physicians’ group and one of the largest spenders on lobbying, has always strongly support pediatric vaccination and opposed non-medical exemptions. But under the new policy changes, the association will now “actively advocate” for states to eliminate any laws that allow for non-medical exemptions on the books.

“As evident from the measles outbreaks currently impacting communities in several states, when individuals are not immunized as a matter of personal preference or misinformation, they put themselves and others at risk of disease,” AMA Board Member E. Scott Ferguson, M.D. said in a statement. “The AMA strongly supports efforts to eliminate non-medical exemptions from immunization, and we will continue to actively urge policymakers to do so.”

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in anti vacine, California, Infectious disease, measles, new york, outbreak, science, vaccine | Comments (0)

Ebola spreads in Uganda, but not an international emergency, WHO says [Updated]

June 13th, 2019
A health worker puts on protective gear as he prepares to screen travelers at the Mpondwe Health Screening Facility in the Ugandan border town of Mpondwe as they cross over from the Democratic Republic of Congo, on June 13, 2019.

Enlarge / A health worker puts on protective gear as he prepares to screen travelers at the Mpondwe Health Screening Facility in the Ugandan border town of Mpondwe as they cross over from the Democratic Republic of Congo, on June 13, 2019. (credit: Getty | Isaac Kasamani)

UPDATE 6/14/2019, 1pm ET: The World Health Organization's Emergency Committee met today to discuss the spread of Ebola outbreak and declared (for the third time) that the ongoing outbreak does not constitute a “public health emergency of international concern" or PHEIC. It is an emergency for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, but does not meet the criteria for an international public health emergency, the committee concluded. Original story from 6/13/2019 follows.

Local and international health officials are scrambling to smother a flare-up of Ebola in Uganda, which spread this week from a massive, months-long outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak has sickened 2,084 and killed 1,405 since last August.

Uganda announced its first case stemming from the outbreak on Tuesday, June 11. The case was in a 5-year-old Congolese boy who traveled across the border with family a few days earlier. The Ugandan Health Ministry reported shortly after that the boy succumbed to his infection the morning of June 12. Two of his family members also tested positive by that time: the boy’s 50-year-old grandmother and his 3-year-old brother.

Today, June 13, the Ministry announced that the grandmother had also passed. In an urgent meeting over the situation, officials from Uganda and the DRC mutually decided to send the remaining family back to the DRC. That includes the 3-year-old boy with a confirmed case, as well as the mother, father, a 6-month-old sibling, and their maid. Health officials noted that the latter four family members are all considered “suspected cases.”

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in ebola, Infectious disease, public health, science, vaccine, WHO | Comments (0)