Vaccines are one of the most important and crucial aspects for the long-term health of babies and young children. Except for a tiny, and irresponsible, minority of individuals who are opposed to vaccinations, greater than 95% of children are fully vaccinated for most vaccine preventable diseases by kindergarten. Unfortunately, a recently published article in Pediatrics provided evidence that teens are not keeping up with vaccinations that are critical to avoid infections from serious, and deadly, diseases. The study examines how vaccination rates have changed over the three year study period, and some of the reasons why they are not getting vaccinated.
(more…) «Survey identifies reasons for not…»
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Maryland is proposing revised vaccination regulations that would require incoming kindergartners to receive a chicken pox booster vaccination (varicella vaccine). It is also requiring seventh graders to get a booster against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, (DTaP vaccine). In addition, Maryland also wants to include a vaccine against Meningococcus, a bacterium that causes meningitis, meningococcemia, septicemia, and rarely carditis, septic arthritis, or pneumonia. The state also wants to increase the requirement for the number of MMR vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella.
If the proposed changes go into effect, Maryland would be aligned with standards recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. To this date, 36 states have adopted such standards. The new guidelines, if adopted, would to into effect in 2014.
According to David Bundy, an assistant professor of pediatrics and childhood adolescence at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center,
The recommendations for these immunizations are not new nationally, this is just updating the state’s requirement to reflect the existing recommendations. It just makes us all look like we’re in alignment with what we’re doing, and it tightens the safety net at schools for kids who may be missing vaccines.
I’m sure the anti-vaccine crowd will be complaining soon.
The study is published in the Lancet (how ironic), and the conclusions (from the original study) state that 91-100% of participants (who received the vaccine) had high titers of antibodies for each strain of meningococcal B. By the way, the placebo group were in the 29-50% range for the placebo group.
Just in case you might wonder if there’s a placebo effect that causes an immune response to the bacteria, it’s probably not. There is usually a background seropositive individuals in a population, since individuals may be exposed to the bacteria on a usual basis. Even at 50%, the risk is so high that the vaccine (which is nearly 100% effective) is still necessary.
One more conclusion from the authors of the Lancet article:
No vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported and no significant safety signals were identified.
Just in case anyone was wondering.