Welcome to our new blog! The Immunization Partnership safeguards the health of children and families through education and advocacy programs that focus on increasing immunization rates. The goal of increasing immunization rates is a complex one that must be addressed from many angles. However, whenever people ask me what our ultimate goal is, I can always sum that up with a one word answer – ‘nothing’. What we are really striving for is ‘nothing’. ‘Nothing’ in the context of vaccinations equals success. When we have no more measles, no more polio, no more meningitis–no more vaccine-preventable diseases, we will have achieved our goal of ‘nothing’. We are not satisfied with ‘almost nothing’ or ‘close to nothing’. We won’t settle until we have achieved ‘nothing’. But never has achieving ‘nothing’ taken so much work and diligence.
Two weeks ago, during a pre-Super Bowl event, thousands of unsuspecting people were exposed to measles. That’s right—measles! But wait; wasn’t measles eradicated from the U.S. back in 2000? Yes, it was, but the increasing prevalence of unvaccinated people means that this once-extinct disease is making a come-back. Measles is so contagious that if you aren’t vaccinated against it, you have about a 90% chance of getting it if you are exposed. And if you come down with measles your doctor may not be able to identify it right away. Most doctors nowadays have never seen a real case of the measles because vaccines have done their job so well. But that is changing fast. This past year the U.S. has seen the highest number of measles cases since 2000. Unfortunately right about that time, junk science and fraudulent research spread rampantly through the community and many parents made the decision not to vaccinate their children. One journal article in a British medical journal, called the Lancet, set off a chain reaction resulting in thousands of parents choosing to ignore their doctor’s advice and forgo the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The result brings us to where we are today, with potentially thousands of people exposed to measles.
Even if this current exposure does not result in a significant outbreak, it is still a cautionary tale of what can happen when we listen to the wrong sources for our medical advice and choose to forgo vaccines. Perhaps most importantly, it serves as a reminder to all vaccine advocates that our work is not finished. The most effective way of accomplishing our goal of attaining ‘nothing’ is to shout it from the virtual rooftops by blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking. That is why we have started a Viral Army of people who agree that vaccines are safe and effective and that evidence-based medicine is the only kind of medicine that we will accept. We all have a personal responsibility to ensure that our community is protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Will you join our Viral Army?
After all, it takes an Army to make ‘nothing’ happen. It’s easy and we need YOU!