True or false?

  1. Variant-based COVID-19 boosters are not preferentially recommended throughout the world.
  2. A current Ebola outbreak in Uganda cannot be stopped with existing Ebola vaccines because the virus is of a different species.
  3. Declines in vaccination during the pandemic have led to measles and polio outbreaks in some countries.
  4. The spread of monkeypox to more countries highlights the need to put resources toward understanding diseases that occur at low levels in small geographic areas.

 


 

Did you answer true to each of these? Indeed, all are true, and while some of these statements may seem only remotely relevant to one’s day-to-day practice of medicine in the U.S., they are important for the context they provide. First, they remind us that infectious pathogens are opportunistic. Second, they demonstrate that infectious diseases make the world small. Taken together, every provider the world over should realize that their efforts contribute to the larger collective to stop these opportunistic infections as well as be prepared to consider that at any time a patient under their care may be affected. While the CDC provides extraordinary guidance and voluminous data related to the U.S. situation, we would be remiss to ignore what is happening outside of our borders because infectious pathogens do not acknowledge such borders and one does not have to travel outside of the country to become part of a novel outbreak. As recently demonstrated in Rockland County, New York, a disease can be found in any community, in any country, at any time.

Recently, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization for the World Health Organization (WHO), known as SAGE, met to discuss global issues and receive regional updates on vaccine-preventable diseases. During this meeting, SAGE considered each of the topics addressed in the true-false statements above, and while the formal recommendations will not be published until mid-December, you can find the key takeaways, and related information from other sources, in the meantime:

As famously stated by Louis Pasteur, “In the fields of observation, chance favors only the mind which is prepared.”

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.