Your Weekly Dose 6.27: All the Vaccine News You Missed

California passes a landmark vaccine mandate, the CDC issues a cautious meningitis recommendation, and pre-cancerous lesions show a steep decline thanks in part to the HPV vaccine. Plus: A father’s moving testimony supports California’s stricter vaccine regulations.

SB277 Passes: The California assembly approved a bill that would end students’ vaccine exemptions for personal or religious beliefs—making it one of the nation’s strictest vaccine regulations. [LA Times]

A Father’s Moving Testimony: Among the many who spoke out in support of SB277? Carl Krewitt, father of a 7-year-old leukemia survivor who could not be vaccinated. “I know what fear is because I was in the hospital with a kid whose odds of survival were pretty low. But what scared me more than the threat of disease was the misinformation” about vaccines. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

CDC Panel Cautious on New Meningitis Vaccine Recommendation: A panel of health experts recommended a limited use of the relatively new meningitis (type b) vaccine. While the recommendation is a step forward, it fell short of a stronger recommendation for routine administration wanted by many of the parents and patients who testified in front of the panel. [NY Times]

Pre-Cancerous Cervical Lesions Decline: Although we won’t have direct proof for years that HPV vaccination can prevent cervical cancers, we’re seeing a drop in the number of young women with pre-cancerous cervical lesions — and that’s a great sign! [Health Day]

5 Trustworthy Vaccine Facebook Accounts to Like Now

Last week we told you about 5 great Twitter accounts to follow for reliable and useful immunization information. Another great place to connect with the immunization community? Facebook. We love these five immunization-related accounts for their important insights, timely news items, and (most importantly) accurate information. Like them now!

Voices For Vaccines: Voices for Vaccines is a group of parents dedicated to providing clear, science-based information on vaccines to help all parents make informed decisions for their children. The Facebook page provides useful, effective strategies for interacting with people who might have questions or concerns about vaccines on social media, plus insight into timely legislation like SB277, the California bill that would require all students to be vaccinated.

Nurses Who Vaccinate: Nurses Who Vaccinate’s goal is to enable healthcare professionals to be reliable, informed vaccine advocates. But the page is a great resource even if you don’t work in healthcare. Check here for updates on global news, such as the MERS outbreak in South Korea, practical information on keeping your vaccine status up to date, and stories showing the life-saving impact of immunizations around the world.

Immunize Colorado: This page is run by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, but it’s a fantastic resource no matter where you live. Immunize Colorado keeps its fans in the loop on a broad range of immunization topics. Like the page to stay up-to-date on immunization legislation and advocacy, learn about your own vaccine status, and find other immunization organizations doing important work globally.

Sabin Vaccine Institute: “We’re advocates for a world free of needless suffering” reads Sabin’s About section, and it sums this organization up pretty well. These scientists know how important vaccines are to improving public health, and they want to educate the public. The group is globally focused, so expect updates on immunization news from around the world.

Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance: Gavi focuses on the many people in developing countries who don’t have access to vaccines at all. The aim: to increase access to immunization in underdeveloped communities around the world.  Their Facebook page gives detailed information about their important work. We especially love their photos and videos, highlighting the people who directly benefit from vaccine access in developing countries.

Looking for more? Check to see if your area’s immunization coalition has a Facebook account for immunization-related news and events in your local community.

5 Vaccines All Young Men Need (Because It’s Men’s Health Month)

mens-health-monthYoung men are half as likely to seek out preventive care services as young women. And because they’re skipping doctors visits, many young men aren’t getting essential details about their vaccination status. It’s important to receive boosters and new vaccinations throughout your life to prevent a wide range of diseases. For Men’s Health Month, here are five you should talk to your medical provider about getting.

Flu: The CDC recommends all adults get a flu vaccine every year of their life. Even so, the vaccination rate for men in the U.S. ages 18 to 64 was only 32.9 percent in 2013, compared to 40.4% for women of the same age, and 58.6% for children aged 6 months to 17. If you’re young and healthy, influenza can still cause fever, fatigue, headaches, sore throat and body aches. Most importantly: You also might pass it on to someone in a high-risk category, like children, pregnant women and the elderly, where it can prove fatal.

HPV: It’s not just for women. Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancer of the anus, throat, and penis in men, yet only 5.9 percent of men ages 19-26 receive at least one dose of the 3-dose series. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the vaccine up to age 26, but it’s best to get vaccinated at age 11-12 before you’re sexually active. Even if you are already sexually active, the shot can still protect you against strains of HPV you haven’t been exposed to.

Tdap: The shot protects against three diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Even if you received a similar vaccine as a kid, you still need a booster shot as an adult. Tetanus can cause muscle stiffening, and diphtheria can affect breathing. Pertussis (known as whooping cough) is extremely contagious, and can cause violent coughing episodes, often lasting for weeks. A lot of adults with whooping cough don’t even realize they’re sick and can unknowingly spread the disease to small kids. All men should get the Tdap vaccine, along with a booster dose every 10 years of the Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccine.

MMR: This shot protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, three diseases with varying degrees of fever, coughing, and rashes. Measles was almost wiped out in the U.S., but falling vaccination rates in some communities have made it more common in recent years (remember that Disneyland outbreak?). If you missed the MMR vaccine as a kid, it’s not too late. Talk to a healthcare professional about how many doses you need as an adult.

Hep A and B: Both of these liver infections can cause long-term problems, including cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. If you’re planning to travel to South or Central America, Africa, the Middle East, or India, you should get the Hep A vaccine, since the disease is more common in those areas. Get Hep B if you’ve lived with an infected person, have sex with multiple partners, or have sex with other men, since these behaviors put you at greater risk for the disease.

Your Weekly Dose 6.19: All the Vaccine News You Missed

Measles hits a 16-year high in Australia, a tragic death inspires a lasting legacy, and mountaineers are the unsung vaccine heroes of Nicaragua.

One Infant’s Legacy: Australian newborn Riley Hughes died at 32 days from complications due to pertussis, but his parents have used the heartbreaking story to launch a free vaccination program for pregnant women — more than 3,000 women have received the vaccine since the program began in March. []

Measles Spikes in Australia: At least 340 cases of measles were recorded in Australia this year, marking a 16-year-high in the country. Compare that to 2008, when only 10 people came down with the vaccine-preventable disease. [mamamia]

Get Vaccinated, Chicago: At least three cases of meningitis have been recorded in Chicago, which means one thing—get vaccinated. Particularly at-risk groups include men who have sex with men, and men with HIV. [Washington Blade]

Nicaragua’s Unsung Vaccine HeroesMountaineers are true heroes in Nicaragua, where temperature-sensitive vaccines are delivered to remote villages by horseback (or whatever means necessary). [devex]

The Essential Vaccine Pregnant Women Aren’t GettingA staggering 86 percent of pregnant women aren’t getting their Tdap vaccines, a dose that prevents tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, and is essential to get when a woman is between 27 and 36 weeks pregnant. []

5 Reliable (and Interesting!) Vaccine News Twitter Accounts to Follow Now

Twitter can be a great resource for accurate vaccine information. But with so many people talking about the issue, it’s hard to cut through the noise and know which accounts are reliable. A good place to start (besides us)? These five twitter accounts, which we love for their important insights, lively debates, and (crucially) trustworthy information. Follow them now!

@NFIDVaccines: This is a great one-stop shop for both vaccine news and practical information on keeping your vaccination status up to date. The best part: NFID posts plenty of retweet-worthy info graphics, perfect for keeping your own account fresh.

@Voices4Vaccines: Voices for Vaccines is a group of parents who provide clear, science-based information on immunizations to other parents to combat misinformation. Follow for reliable information about vaccine safety and effectiveness, as well as personal accounts of why vaccination matters.  

@shotofprev: This is the Twitter account for Shot of Prevention, a blog that provides perspectives, personal stories and analysis on vaccination-related news and topics. Watch them for updates on what’s going on in the immunization community and info into timely legislation, such as SB277, the California bill that would require all public and private school students to be vaccinated.

@gavi: Gavi’s Twitter account provides a more global perspective on immunizations and focuses on the many people in developing countries who don’t have access to vaccines at all. The aim: To increase access to immunizations in communities around the world. Follow for news on their work, plus updates on vaccine access in developing nations.

@sabinvaccine: The Sabin Vaccine Institute is working to combat vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases around the globe by promoting existing vaccines and developing new ones. Follow this account for the latest news and research on vaccines and vaccine development.

Looking for more? Check to see if your area’s immunization coalition has a Twitter account for immunization-related news and events in your local community.

Your Weekly Dose: All the Vaccine News You Missed

Astronaut fixing space ship.

This guy needs his flu shot, too. CC0 Public Domain / FAQ

California legislators vote in favor of a major vaccine bill, the HPV vaccine becomes even more of a no-brainer, and astronauts need the flu shot, too.

California Passes Vaccine Bill: Following five hours of debate, legislators in California’s Assembly Health Committee voted 12-6 in favor of a bill that will get rid of the state’s personal-belief exemption and require unvaccinated children to be homeschooled. Bill SB277 is a response to an early 2015 outbreak at Disneyland. Thanks, Mickey? [KSBY]

Astronauts Not Invincible, Need Flu Shots, Too: Think everything’s spic and span and sterile aboard the International Space Station? Not so much: “Bacteria and viruses adore the environment of a spacecraft: it’s warm, it’s sealed, it’s climate-controlled, and best of all it’s full of people who have nowhere to go and no way to avoid sharing any stray germs they might have brought with them.” Yep, that includes the flu. [Time]

All You Need Is One: Perhaps the best news of the week? A major new study found that just one dose of the 2vHPV vaccine (commonly known as Cervarix) could be enough to protect against two strains of the virus associated with several types of cancer, including cervical cancer. This is encouraging, but don’t go skipping your doses —more research is required before any conclusions can be made. [Huffington Post]

Measles Come to Alaska: The first case of measles in more than a decade was confirmed in Fairbanks, Alaska, this week. [Outbreak News Today]

Diptheria Arrives in Spain: Another bummer, from Spain: A six-year-old boy came down with the country’s first case of diphtheria in nearly 30 years. Eight children who came in contact with him are being kept in isolation. [Daily Beast]

HPV Vaccine Even More Effective: On the bright side, the newest version of 9vHPV offers as much as 11.1% more protection against cervical cancer than its predecessors. Hooray for preventing cancer! [Chicago Tribune]

AMA Backs End to Non-Medical Exemptions: The AMA sided with California legislators and backed an end to all non-medical exemptions. Though the AMA can’t make the laws, they can lobby for them. [Newsweek}