The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel alert for Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan because multiple cases of wild polio virus have been reported in these countries as of November 26, 2013:
Although the number of cases is low, it’s been many years since cases of wild-type polio virus were reported in these countries.
When Syrian health officials found 22 children paralyzed in the city of Deir al-Zour last month, they became concerned, and their fears were realized when test results confirmed that 10 children had been infected with polio. As of November 26, seven more cases of polio have been confirmed. Public health officials are now scrambling to contain the first outbreak of wild-type polio in this country since 1999.
It is estimated that more than 22 million children must be vaccinated in Syria and surrounding countries in order to keep the current outbreak from spreading. This vaccination campaign will require at least 50 million doses of polio vaccine and could take as long as 8 months to be completed.
On September 13, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report highlighting the results of the annual National Immunization Survey, which monitors vaccine coverage among children less than 3 years of age in the United States. The 2012 survey found that immunization rates for certain vaccines, such as MMR, hepatitis B, polio and chickenpox are in the range targeted by the Healthy People 2020 goals. However, in some areas of the country, rates of immunizations with specific vaccines are low enough that pockets of susceptible people may lead to outbreaks. Likewise, immunization rates of children living in families below the federal poverty level tended to be lower.
On August 2, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report highlighting a study that investigated MMR and DTaP vaccination coverage rates in kindergarteners. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella, and DTaP vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. The study showed that in 48 states and the District of Columbia, about 95 of 100 kindergarteners received two doses of MMR vaccine and four doses of DTaP vaccine.
Although these rates are at or near the Healthy People 2020 targets, the numbers of children who are not immunized due to religious or philosophical beliefs are a concern to public health officials in the U.S. Of particular concern are pockets of unimmunized individuals in some areas, making those communities particularly vulnerable to outbreaks.
In June 2013, a study published in the journal Pediatrics assessed the best method for preventing infant pertussis by investigating two strategies: 1) immunizing pregnant women with a dose of Tdap vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation or 2) immunizing parents and close contacts with Tdap vaccine after the baby is delivered, commonly referred to as “cocooning.” The results showed that immunizing pregnant women with one dose of Tdap vaccine was more successful in preventing pertussis disease and hospitalizations in infants.
Children 12 months of age and older were recommended to receive one dose of the varicella vaccine when it became available in 1995. In 2006, a second dose recommendation was added for children between 4 and 6 years of age. In May 2013, a study published in the journal, Pediatrics, assessed the long-term effectiveness of the varicella vaccine. Here’s what you should know:
A recent study in the journal, Pediatrics, found that a growing number of U.S. parents are not vaccinating their daughters against human papillomavirus (HPV). Although the HPV vaccine is safe and hasn’t been linked to serious side effects, more than 16 of 100 parents cited safety concerns as the reason behind their decision. Due to misinformation about the HPV vaccine that can be found on the Internet, it can be difficult to tell what’s scientifically accurate and what’s not. Here’s what you should know about HPV vaccine safety and efficacy:
The HPV vaccine is safe:
Studies involving about 30,000 girls and young adults ages 9 to 26 determined that the HPV vaccine is effective in preventing:
Here are some resources to learn more about the HPV vaccine:
Last updated: February 2014
Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.
You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.