Recent News

Flu vaccinations rise sharply in both children and adults

Dec 14 2018

​Last winter’s dreadful flu season may have had a silver lining: Flu vaccine uptake rose sharply this fall in both children and adults, according to newly released data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that the number of children and teens vaccinated as of mid-November was up nearly 7 percentage points over last year at that time and coverage among adults was up 6.4 percentage points. The data, which were drawn from three CDC-sponsored surveys, do not indicate whether more people will be vaccinated overall this winter — or that last year’s flu season is changing behavior this winter. The increase could mean that more people were inspired to get their flu shot sooner this year. “It’s a good sign, but it’s too early to interpret,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy. The increase in early vaccinations may be due to fresh memories of last winter. But Osterholm said other factors could also be at play.

Source: STAT News STAT News

Opinion: No, the flu shot isn’t perfect. But for the good of everyone, get one anyway.

Dec 14 2018

It’s shaping up to be another rough season for the flu in Colorado, but with great snow flying early in the mountains and sunshine here in Denver, everyone wants to go-go-go without stopping to get their shots. We’d like you to pause for a moment and realize what immunizations can do for your whole family, and for your neighbors. There’s been an outbreak of chickenpox in North Carolina because of apathy and anti-immunization sentiment there. Eighty thousand Americans died of the flu or complications last season, the worst since the 1970s, including about 180 children. Worldwide measles cases were up 30 percent last year. It’s hard for our medical community to admit sometimes, but a lot of people will get the flu – and that includes many who thought they were getting ironclad immunity by flocking to flu shots.

Source: The Denver Post The Denver Post

This Mom Is Spreading Awareness About the Flu Vaccine After Her 6-Year-Old Passed Away

Dec 12 2018

After Christy Pugh and her husband, Dave Splan, lost their 6-year-old daughter Emma to complications from the flu last year, they're taking every measure to remind parents how important it is to give your children the flu vaccine. Emma was one of the 185 children to pass away from the flu in the US during 2017 despite receiving her flu shot in October four months earlier. But according to the CDC, 80 percent of the pediatric flu deaths in 2017 occurred in children who didn't get a flu shot that season.​ "Emma came home from school with a runny nose and a fever," Christy told POPSUGAR. "We had had plans to take her away that upcoming weekend to an indoor water park so we took her to the doctor to confirm if it was a cold or the flu." Unfortunately, Emma's condition worsened. She began throwing up on Friday evening, so her parents took her back to the doctor for some antinausea medicine, which didn't alleviate her symptoms. Christy and Dave then took Emma to the pediatric emergency room at Stamford Hospital, where they spent the night.

Source: Yahoo Yahoo

Subway train travel linked to spread of flu-like illnesses

Dec 12 2018

Despite the commuter cold being a widely accepted concept, it has never been proven that public transport contributes to the spread of airborne infections. Now new research on the London underground commute has proven a link does exist. The study, published on December 4, 2018 in Environmental Health, will help to inform measures to control the spread of infectious disease. By comparing Oyster card route information and Public Health England data on flu-like illnesses, Dr Lara Goscé from the University of Bristol's Department of Civil Engineering and Dr Anders Johansson from Bristol's Department of Engineering Mathematics, discovered higher rates of airborne infections in Londoners that have longer tube journeys through busier terminals. Dr Goscé explained: "Higher rates [of influenza-like cases] can be observed in boroughs served by a small number of underground lines: passengers starting their journey in these boroughs usually have to change lines once or more in crowded junctions such as King's Cross in order to reach their final destination.

Source: Science Daily Science Daily

No vaccine? No job! Court affirms employer’s ability to condition employment upon vaccinations

Dec 12 2018

On December 7, 2018, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employee who was terminated for refusing to take a rubella vaccine was not discriminated or retaliated against, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (“ADA”). See Hustvet v. Allina Health System, Case No. 17-2963. In this case, Janet Hustvet worked as an Independent Living Skills Specialist. In May 2013, Hustvet completed a health assessment, during which she stated she did not know whether she was immunized for rubella. Subsequent testing confirmed she was not. Her employer -- Allina Health Systems -- then told Hustvet she would need to take one dose of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (“MMR vaccine”). Hustvet stated to an Allina representative that she was concerned about the MMR vaccine because she had previously had a severe case of mumps and had “many allergies and chemical sensitivities.” Later, Hustvet refused to take the MMR vaccine, and was terminated for failure to comply with Allina’s immunity requirements. Hustvet then sued Allina, alleging discrimination, unlawful inquiry, and retaliation claims under the ADA and Minnesota state law. The district court granted Allina’s motion for summary judgment, and Hustvet appealed.

Source: National Law Review National Law Review

Researchers find racial inequity among adolescents receiving flu vaccine

Dec 11 2018

​Black adolescents living in the United States tend to receive the influenza vaccine at significantly lower rates than their white and Hispanic counterparts, according to Florida State University researchers. A new study, led by former FSU graduate student Noah Webb, along with current graduate student Benjamin Dowd-Arrow and Associate Professors of Sociology Miles Taylor and Amy Burdette, was recently published in Public Health Reports. "Our findings are important because black adolescents and young adults consistently have worse health profiles than white and Hispanic adolescents and young adults," Dowd-Arrow said. "The black population is also more likely to reside in multigenerational homes, where there is a very real threat of unvaccinated teenagers spreading the flu to unvaccinated children and grandparents." Although disparities exist among the three racial/ethnic groups examined, the team also identified low influenza vaccination rates in adolescents across the board when compared with other age groups.

Source: Medical Xpress

Flu Shot Tied to Heart Failure Survival

Dec 11 2018

​Getting the flu shot each year is associated with better survival outcomes for heart failure (HF) patients, a large, Danish cohort study found. After adjustment for education, household income, prescriptions, comorbidities, and inclusion date, patients getting at least one influenza vaccination during the median 3.7 years of follow-up had an 18% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.81-0.84) and death from cardiovascular causes (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.81-0.84). The more years vaccinated and the earlier in the flu season it was done, the lower the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular death (both P<0.001 for trend), reported Daniel Modin, BSc, Med, of the University of Copenhagen, and colleagues in Circulation. If causal, the effect would be nearly on par with the 20% to 25% mortality reduction seen with beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, they noted, although cautioning that their observational findings couldn't prove a direct effect.

Source: Medpage Today Medpage Today

Waiting Room Videos for Increasing HPV Vaccination: Promise and Pitfalls

Dec 10 2018

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide, affecting >79 million people annually in the United States alone.1 HPV’s more serious sequelae (cervical and other anogenital cancers, genital warts, high-grade cervical dysplasia, and possibly HPV-positive head and neck cancers) are largely preventable through vaccination. Taken together, HPV vaccines have a remarkable potential to dramatically reduce the incidence of HPV-related cancers and other diseases. Yet, the vaccine is still largely underused in many countries. In the United States, as of 2016, only 43.4% of adolescents ages 13 to 17 years had completed the recommended number of doses.2 This is well below national goals and reveals an urgent need to identify interventions that can be used to improve vaccine uptake.

Source: AAP News & Journals Gateway

Regular flu shots may save heart failure patients' lives

Dec 10 2018

Getting an annual flu shot can save heart failure patients' lives, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation. Flu season usually begins in the fall and runs through the spring, with cases often peaking during the winter months. Annual flu vaccination is regarded as a safe, low-cost way to reduce flu-related deaths and complications and is routinely recommended for patients with histories of heart disease and stroke. However, little is known about the possible impact a simple flu shot may have on the survival of heart failure patients. Influenza can be very serious or even fatal for patients with heart failure because heart failure patients are often older than 65, have compromised circulation and other health complications, and infection may exacerbate heart failure symptoms. Moreover, heart failure is expected to increase over the next decade as the population ages, highlighting a greater need to provide better care for these patients.

Source: Science Daily Science Daily

Dr. Peter J. Hotez: “A Scary Anti-Science Movement Has Become Very Strong in Texas”

Dec 10 2018

​In December 2017, Texas Monthly published a feature about Peter Hotez, a scientist pushing back against Texas’s anti-vaccine movement as the state risked a deadly measles outbreak. At the time, Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, was fighting attacks after authoring a pair of provocative articles: “Texas and Its Measles Epidemics” for the scientific journal PLOS Medicine and “How the Anti-Vaxxers Are Winning,” an op-ed for the New York Times. Last month, he offered a more thorough argument in his book Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism. In the work, Hotez draws on his experiences as both a vaccine scientist and as the father of an autistic child to debunk a link between vaccines and autism. (His daughter, Rachel, was diagnosed with autism in 1994 at nineteen months old.) Hotez believes Texas is especially at risk for a measles outbreak, as the number of Texas children granted exemptions from school vaccine laws for “reasons of conscience” has increased steadily from around 3,000 in 2003 to just under 45,000 in 2015. “The political action committees like Texans For Vaccine Choice are very powerful,” Hotez said on the National Podcast of Texas. “They’re making a lot of headway in terms of making it harder and harder to vaccinate your child and easier and easier to exempt out.”

Source: Texas Montly Texas Montly