Posted in disease, flu, Health, news, vaccinations

This Year’s Flu Shot Efficacy Improved Over Last Year

The CDC reports a mid-season efficacy rate of 50% for this year’s flu shot, being 45% effective for adults and 55% effective for children, up from a 47% estimated efficacy last year.

In a good year flu shot efficacy may be 65%.  It’s difficult to reach higher numbers as viral flu strains mutate easily and immune systems of the general public are so varied.  Per the CDC the flu shot during the 2010-2011 flu season was one of the most effective.

 

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This year two waves of flu strains hit the country, Influenza B and H3N2.  But despite the double whammy the flu shot offered fair protection.

They report the following:

The interim VE estimates published today also estimated the benefits provided by vaccination in different age groups. In addition to the VE estimate of 55% reported among children 6 months through 17 years of age, VE was estimated to be 25% among adults 18-49 years old, and 43% among adults 50 years of age and older. The lower VE point estimates observed among adults 18-49 years appear to be associated with a trend suggesting lower VE in age this group against A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses (VE = 5%). CDC will continue to monitor VE in this age group against A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses as more study participants are enrolled throughout the season. This will help CDC determine if VE against A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses in this age group is actually lower than in previous seasons, and if so, to investigate possible causes.

 

This year an estimated 26 million people were affected by the flu with over 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths.

To date, 92 children have died this year from flu related illness, being a more severe season for children.

Flu season peak is still occurring and high flu activity is still being reported in multiple states.

It is not too late to get the flu shot and medical providers are still recommending vaccination.

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician

 

Posted in children, Health, news, Social Media, vaccinations

Over 2/3 of Online Vaccine Information Videos May Contain Misinformation

The number of children who are unvaccinated in the US is rising, and health experts believe misinformation obtained online could be to blame.

A study published in Clinical Pediatrics this month found over 2/3 of online videos to be incorrect when discussing vaccine health risks.

Dr. Daliah Wachs with students and faculty from Touro University Nevada reviewed 200 videos on YouTube that resulted when searching the terms “vaccines,” “vaccine risk,” “vaccine side effects,” and “vaccines and autism,” and found 68% of the videos to contain misinformation.   They additionally found that most of the misinformation occurred within the first 2 minutes of the video.

The most common types of misleading information were:

  • Factually contradicting the CDC or UpToDate, a widely used clinical resource for clinicians and patients
  • Offering anecdotal evidence (based on personal accounts or hearsay)
  • Utilizing unreliable resources or not citing resources

The study authors write: “It is important to recognize that most of the population does not possess a background in medicine or research. The majority of people are susceptible to taking information at face value, and lack the time and energy to delve into the credibility of a video on vaccines as we have in this study.”

The failure by the viewer to fact check the information or sources provided may also come from a misled perception that the online health video was produced by a renowned clinical resource.

If the video is an opinion piece, it many times does not specify.

Wachs states, “when a parent has a child who is unvaccinated, the reasoning can span over a wide range… anywhere from religious preference, to inability to take off work, to fearing a side effect, to distrust of the medical community.

“Parents on the fence about vaccination may feel apprehensive about bringing this up to their medical provider and turn to online education instead.  So this study gives insight to the types and quality of information to which some parents may be exposed.”

Although the majority of children in the US are routinely vaccinated, in 2018 the CDC found the proportion of children “who received no vaccine doses by age 24 months” to be gradually increasing.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, news, vaccinations

Parents May Not Get Their Kids Vaccinated Due to Risk of Losing Their Job

This week the CDC reported their findings of thousands of children being enrolled in school without any waiver for vaccine exemption.

As states aim to limit parental choice to limit vaccination based on religious objections, the country is fighting multiple outbreaks, including Measles, Mumps and Hepatitis A, which are potentially preventable with vaccination.

When the CDC looked at data submitted by 27 states, the majority of unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children in 10 states lacked waivers.

Which brings to question, are other reasons at play when a child is not vaccinated rather than religious or medical objections?

When a family adheres to the vaccination regimen, office visits are need at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, sometimes 15 months of age, and 4 years old –  6 years old, in addition to any other follow ups deemed necessary by the medical provider.

 

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Most medical offices that provide vaccines are only open during the weekday, hence a parent who cannot take off work to bring their child in the doctor may have difficulty adhering to the vaccination schedule.

And then when asked why their child wasn’t vaccinated, it may be less embarrassing to cite “religious reasons” rather than fear of losing income or one’s job when taking off for the doctor’s visit.

I suggest weekend or night “vaccination clinics” at schools to make parents aware of alternative times to vaccinate and increase access to those who may not be able to leave their job during the weekday.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician