Vaccines have been protecting people since their creation. They protect the population against diphtheria, hepatitis A, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, polio, and other diseases. In addition they save the United States a significant amount of money when factoring in the cost that would have been spent treating these diseases. Barriers exist to widespread vaccination including the complex delivery system, costs of acquiring/administering vaccines, and a growing number of parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.The passage of the Vaccinate All Children Act of 2015 would provide incentives to states to improvvaccination rates and ultimately increase protection for the population.
The proposed Vaccinate All children Act of 2015 would prohibit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from awarding grants to public entities of a state for preventive health service programs unless the state requires each student in public elementary or secondary school to be vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The bill provides an exception for students whose health would be endangered by vaccination in the opinion of a physician. The result of implementing this bill would be increasing vaccination rates of children in states that would like to continue receiving these grants.
Currently 70.4% of children between the ages of 19 and 35 months are immunized. This rate is low when considering the percentage needed to have herd immunity. Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease. This type of immunity occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune. In highly transmittable diseases, about 90-95% of the population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. This is particularly relevant now in light of the recent measles outbreak.. We should be proactive towards vaccination of our children and to protect them from preventable diseases. Continue following the Vaccinate All Children Act to ensure that the bill gets passed and implemented.
Wenly Ruan, M.D.
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