The world’s worst outbreak of Ebola has killed close to 1,100 people in West Africa and the disease could continue spreading for months, increasing pressure on researchers to accelerate the development of therapeutic interventions.
According to new surveillance statistics released on Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), forty-seven states in the U.S. are now reporting widespread influenza activity . The virus, which first appeared in the Southeast, has reached epidemic levels.
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a new silk-based stabilizer that, in the laboratory, kept some vaccines and antibiotics stable up to temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides a new avenue toward eliminating the need to keep some vaccines and antibiotics refrigerated, which could save billions of dollars every year and increase accessibility to third world populations.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the week of April 21, 2012 to be World Vaccination Week. The purpose of the initiative is to spread information about the importance and safety of vaccines.
The Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition has developed a website called Immunize For Good, which provides parents with useful resources and factual information about vaccinations. Topics addressed on the website include information about vaccine safety, the number of vaccines given and the rationale for each, and vaccine side effects. Of particular importance, the site addresses whether parents should consider spacing out vaccinations in an attempt to reduce side effects or avoid “overloading the immune system.” While vaccinating on an alternative schedule has become popular in recent years, there’s no scientific evidence to support such an approach. From the website:
Vaccines are tested to work together to best protect your child’s health. The CDC vaccine schedule is designed to give your child the greatest protection possible… There is no medical benefit in spreading out vaccines. The alternative or delayed vaccine schedule will not decrease adverse reactions.
By 15 months, children on [a popular] delayed schedule are given 17 shots and visit the doctor’s office 9 times — almost twice as many visits to the doctor as compared to the CDC schedule.
In an effort to encourage parents to vaccinate on the CDC’s recommended schedule — and to make keeping track of vaccinations easier — the coalition has developed a web-based vaccine tracking program.
Parents can access the vaccine tracking program from either a home computer or a mobile device. By logging in and providing information about their child’s age and vaccines the child has received, parents can get a personalized vaccination schedule that will keep their child up to date on all CDC-recommended immunizations.
Remember, vaccines save lives.
Source: Immunize For Good