vaccines | Texas Public Radio

vaccines

Manufacturers say the flu vaccine for this season is much more effective than last year’s. However, two new studies suggest flu vaccines in general may not work as well if you take statins.

In this edition of Vital Signs, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the studies aren't definitive, but the results are provocative.

Vaccination rates against human papillomavirus have remained far lower than rates for other routine childhood and teen immunizations. But a big reason for those low rates comes from a surprising source.

It's not hesitant parents refusing the vaccine. Rather, primary care doctors treat the HPV vaccine differently from other routinely recommended immunizations, hesitating to recommend it fully and on time and approaching their discussions with parents differently, a study finds.

Last year's flu vaccine didn't work very well. This year's version should do a much better job protecting people against the flu, federal health officials said Thursday.

An analysis of the most common strains of flu virus that are circulating in the United States and elsewhere found they match the strains included in this year's vaccine, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Nothing like a good measles outbreak to get people thinking more kindly about vaccines.

One third of parents say they think vaccines have more benefit than they did a year ago, according to a poll conducted in May.

That's compared to the 5 percent of parents who said they now think vaccines have fewer benefits and 61 percent who think the benefits are the same.

The California Assembly has joined the state Senate in voting to approve a controversial bill requiring all children attending school to be vaccinated against measles and other common, preventable illnesses — effectively eliminating so-called "personal belief exemptions" that allowed parents to opt out.

It was a beautiful Saturday in the fall of 2005. The leaves in Cincinnati were changing colors, and Lisa Smith had just finished watching her son's soccer game.

She ran some errands, including something she'd been meaning to do for a week — get a flu shot. She stopped by her local pharmacy.

She didn't think about the shot again until a few days later, when she woke up feeling a bit strange. She had an odd tickle in her throat and her leg muscles were sore.

"Almost like I'd been exercising," she says.

California's state Senate has passed a bill to eliminate "personal belief exemptions" that currently allow parents to opt out of having their school-age children vaccinated.

SB 277, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, passed 25 to 10 and now advances to the Assembly.

A measles outbreak linked to Disneyland has exposed gaps in immunization against the highly infectious disease.

All told this year, 169 people in 20 states and the District of Columbia were reported sick with measles through May 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Childhood vaccination remains a potent public health weapon against the spread of many illnesses, including measles. But objections and worries about vaccination remain, too.

Vaccines don't always make it into the people who need them the most. Many require a syringe and a needle to enter the bloodstream and create immunity. And that means a doctor or nurse has to do the job.

But with if a vaccine could be delivered by simply applying a patch? That's Mark Prausnitz's goal: creating a nickel-sized bandage-like device covered with 100 microscopic needles that would puncture the skin, then dissolve to get the vaccine into the body.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Australia has announced plans to halt welfare payments and child care rebates to families that refuse to have their children vaccinated — an aggressive move aimed at clamping down on a rising number of parents who opt out of immunizations.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday that the government was closing a loophole and would stop payments of up to $11,500 per child (15,000 Australian dollars) for parents who don't get their kids immunized by claiming to be "conscientious objectors."

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