Vaccinate Your Family: The Next Generation of Every Child By Two has released their third annual State of the ImmUnion (SOTI) report. The 2019 report examines how strong our defenses truly are against vaccine-preventable diseases and what we can do, as public health advocates and legislators, to make our country stronger and more resilient in the face of disease outbreaks and other emerging health threats.
The SOTI highlights several action items and points for consideration broken down as follows:
- The initial section titled: “2018 Proved Vaccine-Preventable diseases are Still a Threat to the US” explores the landscape of vaccine-preventable disease in the United States for 2018.
- “2018 marked a difficult year in our fight against vaccine-preventable diseases. The country experienced a record number of flu deaths, measles cases and hepatitis A cases across the U.S.”
- Protecting Children is All of Our Responsibility
- In this section the report takes a deeper dive into the importance of herd immunity, or community immunity, in protecting the health of the public at large. Similarly, the report expands on the burden of disease in the community when populations are under vaccinated. This burden is described in both rates of morbidity and mortality as well as in economical indicators.
- “It’s far better to vaccinate children to prevent these diseases than to have to treat the illnesses. In fact, vaccines given to children born between 1994-2016 will prevent an estimated 381 million illnesses, 24.5 million hospitalizations, 855,000 deaths, and $1.65 trillion in total societal costs.”
- Adolescents are at Risk from Serious Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
- The SOTI describes adolescence as a pivotal time when it comes to immunizations, and that there are sometimes missed vaccination opportunities during this time in life.
- “There are now five vaccines recommended for adolescents. Unfortunately, since teens have fewer well visits with providers, missed opportunities to vaccinate can cause this population to remain under vaccinated and this at risk of diseases.”
- Ensuring Access to Affordable Vaccines for Adults
- Continuing the focus on the importance of immunization across the lifespan, the SOTI also addresses the importance of vaccines for adults. Similarly to adolescents, adults are also missing critical vaccinations.
- “As the country’s population ages, we can expect that by 2020, one of every four workers will be over the age of 55… Vaccines are a proven means of preventing and reducing the inevitably huge cost of maintaining the health of our aging workforce.”
- Protecting Pregnant Women Also Extends Protection to their Babies
- Pregnant women are an additional focal point for vaccinations and expectant mothers are not only protecting themselves, but their child as well when they receive a vaccine.
- “Almost all vaccines for infants start at two months of age or later, so the only protection for newborns from vaccine-preventable diseases is through vaccination of their mothers, who transfer protective proteins called antibodies to their babies across the placenta.”
- A Quick Reference Guide to Vaccine Safety and Oversight
- The SOTI also provides an overview of the aspects of vaccine safety and regulation including a description of safety and efficacy measures.
- “Vaccines are one of the most thoroughly tested medical products available in the U.S. Before a vaccine can be considered for approval by the FDA, a vaccine manufacturer must show it is safe and effective through clinical trials.”
Vaccinate Your Family, through their State of the ImmUnion publication, addresses the most pressing issues in the realm of immunizations today. NACCHO supports Vaccinate Your Family’s efforts in educating everyone on the importance of immunizations, while working to strengthen the community’s protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.