HOME
ABOUT IAC
CONTACT
A-Z INDEX
DONATE
SHOP
SUBSCRIBE
Immunization Action Coalition
Unprotected People Stories 
General
Chickenpox (varicella)
Diphtheria
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Hib
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Influenza
Measles
Meningococcal
Mumps
Pertussis (whooping cough)
Pneumococcal
Polio
Rabies
Rotavirus
Rubella
Shingles (zoster)
Tetanus
Yellow Fever
Stories by Disease
Stories by Number

Unprotected People Reports: General

Failure to Vaccinate Children: An Unconscionable Twist of Faith

Click here for a fully-formatted PDF version of this report
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) publishes Unprotected People Reports about people who have suffered or died from vaccine-preventable diseases.
IAC thanks Dr. Claire Pomeroy, President, Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, for sharing her powerful editorial in support of immunization. The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and its programs are dedicated to advancing biomedical research to relieve human suffering and improve health and well-being. Learn more at www.laskerfoundation.org.
Dr. Pomeroy shares IAC's commitment to help increase immunization rates and prevent disease by providing educational materials for healthcare professionals and the public, especially information about the safety, efficacy and use of vaccines. This article was first published by "The Huffington Post" on September 19, 2013. It is reprinted with the permission of Dr. Pomeroy.
The Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, promoted National Immunization Awareness Month through tragic irony. Twenty-one children and adults connected to the church contracted measles, a highly contagious, incurable viral infection of the respiratory system that causes death in one to two of 1,000 cases. Ninety percent of people who are not immune or not vaccinated will become infected if exposed. None of the 11 children were vaccinated, and the majority of adults had only one of two shots recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An unconscionable twist of faith contributed to the health tragedy: Church leaders had been advising congregants against vaccination because of a scientifically unfounded belief that vaccinations could cause autism. Unfortunately, the church leaders' views are endorsed by an antivaccination public figure who speaks frequently against immunization and claims to have "cured" her son of questionable autism. While we cannot turn back the hands of time on unvaccinated lives affected by measles outbreaks, all members of society must urgently come together to stop the irresponsible voices that mock medical breakthroughs and place the public at risk of illness, disability, and death.

The U.S. eliminated indigenous sources of measles in 2000. In its first 20 years the vaccine prevented 52 million cases, 5,200 deaths, and 17,400 cases of retardation. The 159 cases reported this year are more than double what they were in 2012 and are on track to pass the 15-year high of 222 in 2011. 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the vaccine's availability in the U.S. The nation should be celebrating the disease's eradication, not its reintroduction.

Five years before the vaccine first became available, I contracted measles along with thousands of other children. I was fortunate. I recovered after suffering from severe fever, rash, cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis. Hundreds of other children perished. As an infectious disease physician, I cannot bear the thought of the country returning to those horrific times of despair. In this day and age it is shameful that measles is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable childhood mortality.

The church crisis also highlights a serious threat to the nation's health security: importing measles into the U.S. The cases link to a man who was exposed to the virus in Asia, brought it back to the church and infected unvaccinated congregants, staff, and children in their daycare center. This most recent outbreak highlighted an alarming trend among 2011 cases in the U.S.: Ninety percent were associated with other countries, including U.S. residents returning from abroad and foreign visitors to the U.S. Most infected persons (86 percent) were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. The CDC warns that "increased numbers of outbreaks and measles importations into the U.S. underscore ongoing risk for measles among unvaccinated persons and the importance of vaccination against measles."

The Texas cases, this year's third major measles outbreak in the U.S., demonstrate how critical it is to avoid health complacency. Together we must diligently protect the nation's public health achievements. We must prevent the acts of a few from defeating hard-won health victories. We must commit to forever honoring the thousands of professional and voluntary medical and public health organizations and individuals who came together to find a measles vaccine and spent decades implementing a profoundly successful nationwide immunization program.

We must learn from the lessons of the measles vaccine experience, and we must extend those lessons to all vaccines. The CDC's Aug. 30 [2013] Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found troubling gaps and varied rates among states in vaccination coverage for adolescents and teens. Only 36 states have achieved Healthy People 2020 targets for Tdap, 12 for meningococcal meningitis, and nine for chickenpox. No state met the national target for human papillomavirus vaccination coverage among girls. Clinicians, public health agencies, parents, educators, and other stakeholders are missing substantial opportunities to assure that all children are fully vaccinated.

Now is the time—and recent outbreaks demonstrate how quickly it can become too late—for all members of society to join forces and voices in leveraging vaccines to help provide health safety to everyone who lives in the U.S. Adults who opt out of vaccination, either for themselves or their children, betray all we stand for as a socially responsible, united nation. Denying children lifesaving vaccinations violates the most fundamental principles of morality, disregards the core tenets of human decency, and breaks the contract of ethical responsibility between generations. Everyone has the chance to do the right thing.

9/19/13 • REPORT #107
Disclaimer: The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) publishes Unprotected People Reports for the purpose of making them available for our readers' review. We have not verified the content of this report.
 
- Guide to immunize.org -
A-Z INDEX
ABOUT IAC
IAC in the News
Staff
IAC History through Film
ACIP
RECOMMENDATIONS
ADOLESCENT VACCINATION
ADULT VACCINATION
ADULT VACCINATION GUIDE
ASK THE EXPERTS
Administering Vaccines
COVID-19
COVID-19 & Routine Vac
Hepatitis B
MMR
Storage and Handling
>> view all
BECKY PAYNE AWARD
BILLING & CODING
BIRTH DOSE GUIDEBOOK
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
CDC INFORMATION
CDC SCHEDULES
CLINIC TOOLS
Administering Vaccines
Adolescent Vaccination
Adult Vaccination
Screening for Contraindications
Storage & Handling
Vaccination and COVID-19
Vaccine Recommendations
>> view all
COALITIONS FOR
IMMUNIZATION
CONTRIBUTE TO IAC
COVID-19 RELATED
Ask the Experts: COVID-19
Ask the Experts: COVID-19
   & Routine Vac
Clinic Tools: Vaccination and
   COVID-19
Repository of Resources
Vaccines: COVID-19
DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTERS
16-year-old Visit
HPV
MenACWY Dose #2
DONATE TO IAC
EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
EMAIL NEWS SERVICES
E-NEWSLETTER: IAC EXPRESS
EXEMPTIONS
FAQs
FAVORITES
FDA PACKAGE INSERTS
FILMS ABOUT IAC
GIVE BIRTH TO THE
END OF HEP B
HANDOUTS FOR
PATIENTS & STAFF
View All Materials
Administering Vaccines
Adolescent Vaccination
Adult Vaccination
Contraindications / Precautions
Documenting Vaccination
Healthcare Personnel
Managing Vaccine Reactions
Parent Handouts
Pregnancy and Vaccines
Q&As: Diseases and Vaccines
Q&As: Easy-to-Read
Schedules for Patients
Screening Checklists
Standing Orders Templates
Storage & Handling
Strategies & Policies
Temperature Logs
Top Handouts
Vaccine Confidence
Vaccine Recommendations
>> view all
HEP B BIRTH DOSE
HONOR ROLLS
Hep B Birth Dose
Mandatory Flu Vaccination for HCP
MenB Vaccination for Colleges
IAC EXPRESS
Subscribe to IAC Express
IMAGE LIBRARY
LAWS AND MANDATES
MANUFACTURERS
MASS VACCINATION
RESOURCES
NATIONAL ADULT &
INFLUENZA
IMMUNIZATION SUMMIT
NEWS & INFORMATION
NEWSLETTER SIGN UP
OFFICIAL RELEASES
ACIP
CDC
FDA
PACKAGE INSERTS
PARTNERS
PHARMACISTS
PHOTOS
POWERPOINT SLIDE SETS
PREGNANCY AND
VACCINES
PRESS ROOM
PROTECT NEWBORNS
FROM HEP B
PUBLICATIONS
IAC Express
Vaccinating Adults:
   A Step-by-Step Guide
Hepatitis B What Hospitals
   Need to Do to
   Protect Newborns
Needle Tips Archive
Vaccinate Adults Archive
Vaccinate Women Archive
REGISTRIES
SCHOOL VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS
SHOP IAC
DVD Immunization Techniques
Laminated Schedules
Patient Record Cards
Flu Vaccine Buttons and Stickers
"Vaccines Save Lives" Pins
SITE MAP
SLIDE SETS
STANDING ORDERS
STATE INFORMATION
Immunization Websites
Laws and Mandates for School Entry
Immunization Program Managers
SUBSCRIBE TO IAC EXPRESS
SUPPORT IAC
TALKING ABOUT VACCINES
Adjuvants & Ingredients
Autism
Importance of Vaccination
MMR Vaccine
Religious Concerns
Vaccine Safety
>> view all
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING
TRANSLATIONS
IAC Handouts
VISs
TRAVEL (INTERNATIONAL)
UNPROTECTED PEOPLE
STORIES
Chickenpox
Hepatitis B
Measles
Whooping Cough
>> view all
VACCINATING ADULTS:
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
VACCINE INFORMATION
STATEMENTS
Translations
VACCINE
MANUFACTURERS
VACCINE POLICY &
LICENSURE
ACIP
FDA
WHO
VACCINE SAFETY
VACCINE TIMELINE
VACCINES
COVID-19
Hepatitis B
HPV (Human papillomavirus)
Influenza
Pertussis
Varicella
>> view all
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
VIDEO LIBRARY
VISs
Translations
WHAT'S NEW OR UPDATED AT IAC
Handouts
VISs and Translations
Web Pages
 
Immunization Action Coalition  •  2550 University Avenue West  •  Suite 415 North  •  Saint Paul, Minnesota  •  55114
tel 651-647-9009  •  fax 651-647-9131
 
 
 
This website is supported in part by a cooperative agreement from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (Grant No. 6NH23IP22550) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. The website content is the sole responsibility of IAC and does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.