Recent News

What’s The History Of Vaccinations In Colorado?

Apr 08 2019

​There's a lot of news around vaccinations right now. Measles outbreaks are popping up in New York and California. As a result, Colorado lawmakers want to address the fact the state ranks dead last nationwide in vaccination rates for kindergarten students. Public health experts have warned that makes the state ripe for an outbreak. A bill introduced Friday aims to increase that rate by making it harder for parents to exempt their children, but Gov. Jared Polis has indicated he’s skeptical. All the vaccination talk prompted Toni Freed to ask Colorado Wonders: “What is Colorado's policy on mandatory vaccinations and how did it evolve?" Freed has a personal connection to the issue. Both her uncles contracted polio before there was a vaccine for it.

Source: CPR CPR

Guest commentary: Vaccinations are a must to stop outbreaks, make communities safe

Apr 01 2019

Today, there are outbreaks of measles in Oregon, Washington, New York, Texas and Illinois and individual cases in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky and New Jersey. More than 206 people had been confirmed to have the disease in 2019 alone — a threefold increase from the same period in 2010. Believe it or not, measles was declared eradicated from the United States in 2000. Now we hear daily of families afraid to leave home with their newborn for fear of contracting the disease. These outbreaks are a blunt reminder of how vulnerable we are in Colorado. For the 2017-18 school year, Colorado’s vaccination rate for Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) ranked 49th out of 50 states, with a coverage rate of 88.7 percent for two doses of MMR, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Colorado allows for three types of exemptions (medical, religious and personal) for children to be able to attend school without immunizations.

Source: The Aspen Times The Aspen Times

Vaccinations: Your Choice, Others’ Children

Apr 01 2019

In 2000, the U.S. declared that it had eliminated measles within its borders. On January 15, 2019, an adult who had traveled overseas went to a few retail outlets and an urgent care in Stapleton before being diagnosed with measles and hospitalized. “We got lucky,” says Dr. Sean O’Leary, a Stapleton parent and pediatric infectious disease and vaccine specialist with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital, and also a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The Public Health Department tracked down everywhere this person went and who they came into contact with, and there were no secondary cases in this instance.” Elsewhere in the U.S., hundreds of measles cases have found their way into ERs this year, part of a growing number of vaccine-preventable diseases on the rise. A thoroughly debunked study combined with alarmist social media have created fears of vaccines in some parents’ minds. A longitudinal study of over 600,000 children, however, just last month affirmed—again—that there is no link between autism and the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine.

Source: Stapleton Front Porch Stapleton Front Porch

Nearly 5,000 students get shots at Temple University amid mumps outbreak

Mar 30 2019

A mumps outbreak on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia has reached the triple digits. The city health department said the number of confirmed and probable cases of mumps at the school reached 108 as of Thursday. Nearly 5,000 students and faculty members have taken advantage of free vaccine booster shots, with more than 2,500 people given shots Friday during the second clinic offering the MMR vaccine, according to city health officials. The first clinic at the school Wednesday saw more than 2,200 people. "It's just really scary to me so I decided to go and get it," one student said, CBS Philly reported. Officials are having a tough time containing the outbreak, which started in February. Mumps, which is transmitted through saliva, is easily spread on campus with students in close contact with one another. And because symptoms can take a long time to show up, the virus that causes flu-like symptoms and a swollen neck is being spread unknowingly.

Source: CBS News CBS News

Measles outbreak: How Rockland County became ground zero – then hit the 'third rails' with emergency declaration

Mar 30 2019

Ed Day stood at the podium in the standing-room-only media room and touched three third rails of political discourse, raising calls of anti-Semitism, howls from anti-vaccination groups and pushback from civil libertarians. The Rockland County Executive declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in Rockland's six-month-long measles outbreak, barring unvaccinated youngsters under 18 from public places for 30 days. Public places include schools, places of worship, shopping centers and restaurants. Parks and outdoor areas are not included. Those with medical exemptions are not included in the ban. The declaration, put in force at the stroke of midnight March 27, quickly became an international story, sparking a debate that blends religion, public health and government action. Day said he saw the declaration as the only tool he had to reverse the measles outbreak’s troubling trajectory, one that could ratchet up considerably with the upcoming Passover and Easter holidays.

Source: USA Today USA Today

An Outbreak Spreads Fear: Of Measles, of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, of Anti-Semitism

Mar 29 2019

Erica Wingate was working at a clothing store in town this week when a male customer, with the black hat and sidelocks typically worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews, started coughing. Another shopper standing next to him suddenly dropped the item she had been holding and clutched her child. “She was buying something, and she just threw it down,” Ms. Wingate recalled. “She said, ‘Let’s go, let’s go! Jews don’t have shots!’” A measles outbreak in this suburban New York county has sickened scores of people and alarmed public health experts who fear it may be a harbinger of the growing influence of the anti-vaccine movement. But it has also intensified long-smoldering tensions between the rapidly expanding and insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and secular society. The authorities here in Rockland County have traced the spread of measles to ultra-Orthodox families whose children have not been vaccinated.

Source: New York Times New York Times

CDC: Flu Activity Still ‘Elevated’ in U.S.

Mar 29 2019

​Flu season may have peaked but isn't quite over yet, with flu levels remaining "elevated" across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In total, the CDC estimates that between Oct. 1 and March 23, up to 46,800 people have died in connection with the flu. There have been up to 35.9 million flu illnesses and up to 16.8 million medical visits for the flu, the agency estimates. "While levels of outpatient flu-like illness peaked in February, overall influenza activity remains elevated," the CDC says. The agency also says another pediatric flu-related death was reported last week, bringing the total deaths reported this season to 77 as of March 23. There were 185 child flu deaths reported last flu season and 110 deaths reported in the 2016-2017 season. The highest rate of pediatric flu deaths tallied this season has been in Health and Human Services Region 8 – which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming – with 3.2 child flu deaths per 100,000 population.

Source: U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report

Polis Is Wary Of Govt. Toughening Vaccination Exemptions. This Medical Expert Isn't

Mar 29 2019

Colorado's low childhood vaccination rate worries Gov. Jared Polis. He told us this week he's "elevating" the issue. But he also said he's wary of any moves by the legislature to make vaccination exemptions harder to come by. "The minute you try to have the government forcing anybody to do something with their kids, you're going to create distrust of vaccinations, which is already a problem," he said. "We want to go the other way." The issue is important because immunizations are a price of entry into a state's public education system-- to prevent the spread of disease. In Colorado, parents can exempt their kids from vaccinations for medical, religious, and personal reasons. Some states only allow medical exemptions, others also allow religious exemptions. According to Dr. Jana Shaw, who specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, Colorado's online exemption request form is a "particularly easy one."

Source: Colorado Public Radio Colorado Public Radio

New York county declares measles outbreak emergency

Mar 27 2019

A county in New York state has declared a state of emergency following a severe outbreak of measles. Rockland County, on the Hudson river north of New York City, has barred unvaccinated children from public spaces after 153 cases were confirmed. Violating the order will be punishable by a fine of $500 (£378) and up to six months in prison. The announcement follows other outbreaks of the disease in Washington, California, Texas and Illinois. Vaccination rates have dropped steadily in the US with many parents objecting for philosophical or religious reasons, or because they believe discredited information that vaccines cause autism in children.

Source: BBC News BBC News

The True Dollar Cost of the Anti-Vaccine Movement

Mar 26 2019

​Two years ago, a 6-year-old boy playing on his family’s farm in Oregon cut himself. His parents cleaned the wound and stitched it, and everything seemed fine—until, six days later, he began having muscle spasms, arching his back, and clenching his jaw. The boy had tetanus, the first case in a child to occur in Oregon in more than 30 years. Tetanus is rare because a routine childhood vaccine prevents it. The boy’s parents had elected not to vaccinate him. A case report written by a physician who treated him along with staff members at the state health department and published this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relates what happened next. The boy was airlifted to a university medical center and given immunotherapy and the first dose of the vaccine regimen he had missed. His spasms were so severe he could not open his mouth or breathe, so he was admitted to an intensive care unit, placed in a medical coma, and put on a ventilator. His body couldn’t regulate itself; his heart rate sped up and his temperature soared and dipped, so he had to be pumped full of IV drugs to keep his vital signs under control.