I heard there is a problem with the rotavirus vaccine?

Rotavirus is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in young children. In 1999, a rotavirus vaccine was taken off the market because it was linked to an increased risk for intussusception, a type of bowel obstruction, in babies. Today, two different rotavirus vaccines called RotaTeq and Rotarix are available and very safe. Some studies suggest that they have a very small increased risk for intussusception, but that problem is rare. These vaccines have been shown to prevent the majority of cases of rotavirus infection and almost all of the severe cases. The vaccine is now on the regular immunization schedule to be given orally to infants as a liquid during standard vaccination visits — RotaTeq at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, and Rotarix at ages 2 months and 4 months. Your doctor will have the most current information.

How does Herd/Community Immunity work?

• Herd/Community immunity works by breaking the chain of infection. If 90% of people are immune to an infection, it is hard for the organism to find a person to infect and thus the spread of infection is broken. n• Many vaccine preventable diseases are highly contagious – for example Measles is so contagious that 90% of people susceptible to the infection who come into contact with someone who has the disease will be infected.

Do immunizations cause SIDS, multiple sclerosis, or other problems?

There are concerns, many of which circulate on the Internet, linking some vaccines to multiple sclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and other problems. To date, studies have failed to show any connection between immunizations and these conditions. The number of SIDS cases has actually fallen by more than 50% in recent years, whereas the number of vaccines administered yearly has continued to rise.

Who is protected by Herd/Community Immunity?

Certain members of communities may be at an increased risk for many vaccine preventable diseases including the very young (too young to be fully immunized), the elderly (variety of reasons), or those whose immune system is too weak to offer protection (cancer patients receiving Chemo).

Why does my son or daughter need to be immunized if the disease has been eliminated?

Diseases that are rare or nonexistent in the United States, like measles and polio, still exist in other parts of the world. Doctors continue to vaccinate against them because it’s easy to come into contact with illnesses through travel — either when Americans travel abroad or when people who aren’t properly immunized come to the United States. If immunization rates fell, a disease introduced by someone visiting from another country or returning home from a foreign country could cause serious damage in an unprotected population. In 2008, an outbreak of measles sickened many in San Diego, California, after a family who had taken a European vacation returned home with their unvaccinated child, who had contracted measles. In 2011, low immunization rates contributed to the largest whooping cough epidemic California had seen in 50 years, when more than 9,000 people contracted the illness and 10 babies died.nIt’s only safe to stop vaccinations for a particular disease when that disease has been eradicated worldwide, as in the case of smallpox.

I hear that some vaccine preventable diseases are no longer around in the U.S. Why do we need to still be vaccinated against them?

• While many vaccine preventable diseases are at very low levels in the United States, only smallpox has been eliminated. Vaccines are why we are seeing lowe levels of infections in the United States. There are numerous examples where populations in the US have stopped or decreased vaccination rates and the disease rate soon rises. As an example, in numerous cases of measles outbreaks, it has been shown that people not vaccinated against measles had a 20 time increased risk of infection compared to people who had been vaccinated In the U.S. there is a Recommended Vaccine Schedule published annually that provides the recommended list of vaccines for children and adults to receive. These diseases are not seen as often anymore because vaccines work!n• We live in a global society. Traveling/relocating around the world happens every day. Many of these vaccine preventable diseases still occur frequently around the world. It is important that those who can be vaccinated, be fully immunized and on time with their immunizations to protect themselves, their families, and their community. n• For example in 2017 there have been outbreaks of Measles and Polio in Africa, Measles and Mumps in the U.S., Polio and Measles in Pakistan, and Whooping Cough and Measles in Southeast Asia. Additionally in 2014 a Measles Outbreak in Ohio was caused by unvaccinated Amish travelers returning from the Philippines.

Are vaccines continuously studied and improved because they’re unsafe?

The FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research is the government agency responsible for regulating vaccines in the United States. Working in conjunction with the CDC and the NIH, they continuously research and monitor vaccine safety and effectiveness. New vaccines are licensed only after thorough laboratory studies and clinical trials, and safety monitoring continues even after a vaccine has been approved. There have been — and will continue to be — improvements (such as those that have already been made to the DTaP and polio vaccines, for example) that will minimize potential side effects and ensure the best possible safety standards.

What is shedding?

This means that when a person is infected with a germ (virus, bacteria or fungus), and the germ is present in your bodily fluids (saliva, mucus, stool, blood), there is potential to spread the illness to others (sneezing, coughing). Essentially, this is what makes a person with an infection (viral, bacterial, fungal) contagious.

Where can I get afforable immunizations for my son or daughter?

Clearly, vaccines are one of the best tools we have to keep kids healthy, but the effectiveness of immunization programs depends on availability. You can receive inexpensive or free vaccines through many local public health clinics and community health centers, and campaigns to vaccinate kids often hold free vaccination days. A program called Vaccines for Children covers Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, Alaskan and Native American populations, and some underinsured kids for routine immunizations up to 18 years of age. The vaccines are provided by the government and administered in a doctor’s office. However, the doctor’s visit itself is not covered (unless the child has insurance, including Medicaid). But some public health clinics may cover both the visit and the immunizations.

What is vaccine shedding?

The same idea as above and may occur with live weakened vaccines only. However, this type of shedding should not cause disease. Live weakened vaccines develop immunity without the risks of natural infection.