Flu vaccine during pregnancy – protects the infant

flu vaccine during pregnancy

The modern healthcare system of developed countries have done an outstanding job in reducing the burden of infectious diseases over the past few decades. However, some susceptible groups, such as infants, remain at significant risk to these diseases. Research has recently shown that the flu vaccine during pregnancy protects infants from that disease. This is more data that provides evidence that getting vaccinated, even during pregnancy, is important to infant health.

In a new paper published in Pediatrics, by Dr. Julie H. Shakib et al. of the University of Utah Medical School Department of Pediatrics, examined the health of infants born to influenza-immunized mothers. The short version is that the babies born to these mothers had a smaller number of laboratory confirmed influenza infections and fewer hospitalizations compared to infants born to non-immunized mothers.

I could almost stop there, bold, underline and italicize those results, and move to another article. Lucky for me, the readers of this blog demand real data to support the above conclusion. And I’m here to do just that.

Continue reading “Flu vaccine during pregnancy – protects the infant”

The Informed Parent – a science based book review

The Informed Parent

There are innumerable myths and tropes about raising children. My mother used to tell me to not go into the pool until 30 minutes (or some random number) after I ate; and she always told me I’d catch the flu or a cold if I didn’t put on a jacket during winter. Of course, neither are science based, and neither are “facts.”

But those were innocuous little myths. I don’t like being all that cold, so putting on a coat isn’t the worst thing ever. It had nothing to do with whether I’d catch a cold or not.

Unfortunately, some myths about parenting and raising children are dangerous. The whole “vaccines cause XYZ” mythology have infected the internet have caused some drops in vaccination, especially amongst those who should know better.

We need better resources for “science based parenting,” and a new book, The Informed Parent – A Science-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Yearsmay become one of the more valuable tools to separate the wheat of good science from the chaff of pseudoscience and woo.

Because our children deserve the best that science can provide.

 

Continue reading “The Informed Parent – a science based book review”

Pediatric and adult flu mortality 2015-16 – update 4

In the USA, we’re nearing the heart of the flu season, with pediatric flu deaths peaking during the next 6-8 weeks. Flu mortality during the 2015-16 season (which generally starts on October 1), the CDC has reported that there have been 18 pediatric flu deaths through 27 February 2016, an increase of 4 from last week.

Now, I know some of you may say “only 18,” but since pediatric flu is mostly prevented with a vaccine, we could prevent these deaths. During the last 3 years, there were 171 pediatric flu deaths in 2012-13, 11 in 2013-14, and 148 in 2014-15 – most of the pediatric flu deaths happened after this week.

It seems that the the numbers are lower, so far, than in previous years. However, this flu season may be several weeks late, probably as a result of warmer weather (no, warm weather does not block the flu). Flu mortality across all ages crossed the threshold for an “epidemic” last week, so these numbers might increase. Let’s hope they don’t, but as opposed to what people believe, flu is dangerous.

In fact, according to CDC reports, the influenza-B strain is more prevalent this year than in the past, and the flu vaccine is more effective against B strains of flu. So, it’s possible (though still early) that the lighter flu season can be attributed to vaccines.

Continue reading “Pediatric and adult flu mortality 2015-16 – update 4”

Pediatric and adult flu mortality 2015-16 – update 3

In the USA, we’re nearing the heart of the flu season, with pediatric flu deaths peaking during the next 6-8 weeks. Flu mortality during the 2015-16 season (which generally starts on October 1), the CDC has reported that there have been 11 pediatric flu deaths through 6 February 2016. This is a slight increase from the previous two reports.

Now, I know some of you may say “only 11,” but since pediatric flu is mostly prevented with a vaccine, we could prevent these 7 deaths. Moreover, it’s early. During the last 3 years, there were 171 pediatric flu deaths in 2012-13, 11 in 2013-14, and 148 in 2014-15 – most of the pediatric flu deaths happened after this week.

It seems that the the numbers are lower, so far, than in previous years. However, this flu season may be several weeks late, probably as a result of warmer weather (no, warm weather does not block the flu). Flu mortality across all ages crossed the threshold for an “epidemic” last week, so these numbers might increase. Let’s hope they don’t, but as opposed to what people believe, flu is dangerous.

In fact, according to CDC reports, the influenza-B strain is more prevalent this year than in the past, and the flu vaccine is more effective against B strains of flu. So, it’s possible (though still early) that the lighter flu season can be attributed to vaccines.

Continue reading “Pediatric and adult flu mortality 2015-16 – update 3”

Pediatric flu deaths 2015-16 – Update 2

flu mortality 2015-16

In the USA, we’re nearing the heart of the flu season, with pediatric flu deaths peaking during the next 8-10 weeks. So far in the 2015-16 flu season (which generally starts on October 1), the CDC has reported that there have been 7 pediatric flu deaths through the 4th week of December. This is unchanged from the previous report.

Now, I know some of you may say “only 7,” but since pediatric flu is mostly prevented with a vaccine, we could prevent these 7 deaths. Moreover, it’s early. During the last 3 years, there were 171 pediatric flu deaths in 2012-13, 11 in 2013-14, and 148 in 2014-15 – most of the pediatric flu deaths happened after this week.

It seems that the the numbers are lower, so far, than in previous years. However, this flu season may be several weeks late, probably as a result of warmer weather (no, warm weather does not block the flu). Flu mortality across all ages crossed the threshold for an “epidemic” last week, so these numbers might increase. Let’s hope they don’t, but as opposed to what people believe, flu is dangerous.

Continue reading “Pediatric flu deaths 2015-16 – Update 2”

Legal rights of children to vaccination

Legal rights of children to vaccination

We sometimes, in the arguments about vaccines, forget about the legal rights of children to vaccination – yes, this is a right. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss discussed how the child’s rights to good health care –including vaccinations–can take precedence over the wishes of parents (another article by her can be found here).

There is a belief amongst the antivaccination crowd that the parents have the absolute right to manage the healthcare of their children. Except for the fact that this has never been true – courts, as Dr. Reiss discussed, can intervene whenever parental healthcare choices (or lack thereof) harm the child. That’s how it works not only in the USA, but in most of the developed world.

Since children don’t have the ability to make their own healthcare choices, we assume that parents have that ability. But if the parents don’t, or make bad choices like not vaccinating, then courts and government officials have to make those choices. Continue reading “Legal rights of children to vaccination”

Sexually transmitted infections after HPV vaccination of young women

HPV quadrivalent cancer preventing vaccine, known as Gardasil (or Silgard in Europe), can reduce the risk of several types of cancer by blocking sexually transmitted (along with a few other pathways) infection by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 40 HPV sub-types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. Additionally, some HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. HPV is generally transmitted from personal contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex. About one-quarter of those sub-types are implicated in a number of genital, anal and oral cancers.

In a broad review of all of the published clinical research involving HPV vaccines, there is a clear scientific and medical consensus that HPV vaccines are extraordinarily safe, they quickly reduce HPV infection rates in populations of adolescents and young adults, and by reducing HPV infection rate, we will eventually have a real and statistically significant reduction in the risks of many types of cancer.

And as I’ve said many times, there are just a handful of methods, supported by real scientific evidence, to reduce the risk of cancer–quit smoking, lose weight to be clinical “skinny”, stay out of the sun, remove radon gas from your house, and get the HPV vaccine. No, eating a non-GMO, organic blueberry-kale shake will absolutely have NO effect on your risk of getting cancer, unless you find that so disgusting that you lose substantial weight. Continue reading “Sexually transmitted infections after HPV vaccination of young women”

Why we vaccinate for the flu–to save children’s lives

flu-vaccine-facts-mythsSeasonal flu is associated with an estimated 54,000 to 430,000 hospitalizations and approximately 3,000 to 49,000 deaths annually in the USA. It has been reported that influenza infection rates in the community are highest among children–even though influenza is usually a self-limiting illness, severe complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis, myocarditis, and death, can occur in children.

We’ve all heard the excuses and myths about the flu vaccines. They just aren’t trueNo, they really really really aren’t true. By the way, Mark Crislip, MD, thinks those of you who make up whiny excuses for not getting the flu vaccine are dumbasses.

Because of the serious consequences of the annual flu, the CDC recommends the flu vaccine for all children aged 6 months. A recent study published in Pediatrics revealed that the flu virus can have significant repercussions for children. The authors described serious complications from the flu for children including deaths. And many of those deaths occurred in children without underlying medical risk factors. Continue reading “Why we vaccinate for the flu–to save children’s lives”

CDC: 90 percent of children who died from flu not vaccinated

Learn about Who Needs A Flu Vaccine.http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/whoshouldvax.htm

The 2012-2013 flu season is beginning to wind down from a moderately severe season. Sadly, according to the CDC, 105 children died this season from the flu. And a preliminary review of the data by the CDC found that 90% of those children who died were not vaccinated for this season’s flu. In case that wasn’t clear, over 90 children died from influenza, a vaccine-preventable disease. 

This review by the CDC indicated that 60 percent of deaths occurred in children who were at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications, but 40 percent of the children, who had died, had no recognized chronic health problems. The proportions of pediatric deaths occurring in children who were unvaccinated and those who had high-risk conditions are similar to what the CDC has observed in previous flu seasons.

Earlier this flu season, the CDC had strongly recommended that children get the flu vaccine, and those who had never been vaccinated for the flu before, get two doses of the vaccine. And despite the various myths about the flu vaccine, it is extremely effective, it will not give a child the flu, and it has an incredibly high safety profile

Many of us who discuss medicine know that every medical procedure involves a risk and a benefit. With the flu vaccine, there are few risks, and even those are minor. But the benefit is immense for children. Saving lives. And in my view of the world, saving even one life, one child, is worth it. Parents who don’t give the flu vaccine to their children put them at a small, but significant risk of severe complications to the flu, up to and including death. Maybe next year someone will read this article, and think, “I want to save my child’s life.” I can only hope.

 

Visit the Science-based Vaccine Search Engine.

Key citations:

Pediatric flu vaccination–it saves children’s lives

If you have any reluctance about having your children receive their annual flu vaccination, look at the chart below:

Flu deaths

 

Children die from the flu virus–282 innocent children died from the flu in 2009-10, 122 in 2010-11, 34 in 2011-12. So far this flu season, 6 children have died. The number varies from highs during pandemic years, such as in 2009-10, and lower in non-pandemic years. 

The CDC predicts that 2012-13 could be serious, and the current flu vaccine protects against 3 subtypes of the seasonal flu in North America: 

  1. A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like
  2. A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like
  3. B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like

There are no valid excuses for avoiding a flu vaccination. Just in case you believe the myths about the flu vaccine, they’re not true. The vaccine does not itself cause the flu. The vaccine is safe for pregnant women. And most of the other myths have been solidly debunked

Get a flu vaccination for your kids. Because Vaccines Save Lives.

Key citations

Visit the Science-based Vaccine Search Engine.