The Perception of Vaccines: National Immunization Awareness Month

The Perception of Vaccines: National Immunization Awareness Month

08.14.14 | By

“Despite rigorous and extensive testing for safety and efficacy, a single piece of widely circulated false information can have lasting impact on the public’s perception on vaccine safety.” This month is National Immunization Awareness Month, and as children go back to school, this comment by Conversations contributor Roberta DeBiasi of the Children’s National Medical Center is something parents must consider.Subscribe button

While some advocates argue there is a connection between vaccines and autism, research suggests no link exists. The misinformation and subsequent non-adherence can lead to severe health risks such as disease vulnerability and even death. For example, misguided safety concerns in some countries, including the U.S., have led to a decrease in vaccination coverage, causing the re-emergence of pertussis and measles. Domestically, measles cases are at their highest level since 2000 with outbreaks in Ohio and California.

In reality, vaccines have significantly reduced the prevalence of infectious diseases. Immunizing a population benefits society not only because it can save up to $43 billion in direct and indirect costs, but it also saves millions of lives each year. Approximately 2.6 million children under the age of five die from vaccine-preventable diseases worldwide each year, and ensuring access to these lifesaving medicines is critical.

As researchers continue to safely and effectively develop the nearly 300 vaccines in the pipeline for the prevention and treatment of devastating diseases including malaria, measles, pertussis, HIV/AIDS and cancer, there is no better time to learn about the importance of vaccines and schedule your recommended immunizations. You can also help us increase awareness and keep the conversation going using the hashtag #NIAM14 on Facebook and Twitter. It is our hope that we can eliminate misconceptions and save more lives.

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