Category Archive: Vaccines

Anti-Vaxxers Spin Tragic Deaths in South Korea

A string of tragic deaths in South Korea fueled the latest wave of anti-vaccine conspiracies on social media. Five South Koreans died within days of receiving their annual flu shots, according to a report from Reuters. The deaths were unsettling, but Kim Joong-gon, a South Korean public health official, said there is no evidence that the flu shot was the cause of death. He said the country would continue to provide residents with vaccinations.  “We have reviewed whether it is appropriate to continue the vaccination or better to suspend and wait for the results,” Kim said. “We came to the conclusion that...

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Governors Question Credibility of FDA as Americans Wait for COVID-19 Vaccine

The governors of two of the most populous states in the union have cast doubts about the integrity of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that he would be establishing a commission in California to review each vaccine’s safety after the FDA approves the first vaccine. He told reporters that his state “won’t take anyone’s word” for the safety of the vaccine — even if that “anyone” is the highly respected, career medical professionals at the FDA.  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo similarly cast doubts about the veracity of...

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New PSA: Vaccines for Coronavirus and Other Diseases Are Critical

According to a USA Today/Suffolk poll, two-thirds of Americans say they won’t get the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available, and one in four say they don’t ever intend to get it. But a new PSA from the Alliance for Aging Research’s “Our Best Shot” campaign tells us that not only should every American get the coronavirus vaccine, but staying up-to-date on other critical vaccines is imperative. As a country, we’ve battled COVID-19 for the majority of 2020, and since spreading to the United States from China, we continue to learn more about it everyday. As pointed out by the Alliance for Aging Research, we know that older populations...

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Measles Resurgence Shows Its Time To Change How We Talk About Vaccines

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited vaccine hesitancy as a top global health threat. The viral spread of anti-vaccine information (pun very much intended) is leading to a resurgence of measles in the United States, where inoculations are readily available as part of the MMR and MMR-V vaccines. More than 300 people have contracted measles in New York, roughly 100 cases have emerged in the Pacific Northwest, and additional outbreaks are springing up in California, Texas, and Illinois. Affluent parents opting out of vaccination stands in stark contrast to an ongoing measles outbreak in Madagascar – where many want...

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Russian bot accounts spread misinformation about vaccines

New research published in the American Journal of Public Health found some unsettling trends in online health communication. The same Russian Twitter accounts that promoted division ahead of the 2016 Presidential election were also responsible for spreading false information and escalating hostility and derision in the debate around vaccines. Some anti-vaccine messaging encouraged users to click links to malicious websites, while pro-vaccine messages served to turn the vaccine “debate” into a wedge issue. The bots also attempted to sew the idea that safe vaccines are only available to the elite. The study’s authors wrote, "This is consistent with a strategy of promoting...

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Low Vaccine Rates in 15 Metro Areas Put Americans at Risk for Epidemic

New research published in the open access journal PLOS Medicine shows that in states where parents can obtain a religious or philosophical exemption from vaccinating their children, parents are increasingly choosing not to vaccinate. The number of kindergarteners who have never received a measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is increasing, and children who are not fully vaccinated according to the CDC’s recommendations reached 27.8 percent in 2015. Researchers also honed in on vaccination rates at the county level, identifying the following 15 metropolitan areas for having the most nonmedical vaccination exemptions: Seattle (WA) Spokane (WA) Tacoma (WA) Portland (OR) Phoenix...

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Fighting the Flu

At least 30 children have died from the flu this year. And while the exact count of adults won’t be known for some time, dozens of deaths in North Carolina are being attributed to this year’s outbreak, according to a new piece by the director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald.  According to Dr.  Darria Long Gillespie, “Studies suggest that among people who die from the flu, anywhere from 75 to 95 percent of them were not vaccinated. The flu vaccine is a crucial tool in protecting all of us from the flu and its complications." This is another blow to the...

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What’s the Worst that Could Happen If We Ditch Vaccines?

Last month, researchers with Stanford and Baylor Universities answered “what could go wrong?” if parents in the U.S. broadly gave in to the anti-science rhetoric of the anti-vaccination movement. The researchers used data on real measles outbreaks monitored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a mathematical model predicting how many children would contract measles if fewer and fewer parents choose to vaccinate their children. The authors estimate that even a 5 percent decline in the number of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) shots issued could result in three times as many measles cases every year. Those in...

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Happy Birthday to the Rabies Vaccine

Though we celebrated America’s birthday earlier this week, today, another anniversary deserves recognition. 132 years ago, French scientist Louis Pasteur first administered his experimental rabies vaccine to a young boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. TIME reported: "One hot July morning in 1885, feverish little Joseph Meister was dragged by his frantic mother through the streets of Paris in search of an unknown scientist who, according to rumors, could prevent rabies. For nine-year-old Joseph had been bitten in 14 places by a huge, mad dog and in a desperate attempt to cheat death, his mother had fled from their home...

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PETA Wants the U.S to Stop Funding Animal Research. Should We?

The animal activist group, PETA, recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging our country to stop funding medically important animal research. PETA attempted to pin one of the biggest issues in modern research – the fact that many experiments can’t be replicated – solely on the fact that we look to animals to guide scientific knowledge. HHS threw some major shade in its response to the group, casually name-dropping fifteen “critical discoveries” in human medicine that all originated from animal research. Certainly, not every species serves as an appropriate model for medical research. For example, the gender of many reptiles,...

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