The Best Protection Against the Spread of Disease

Excerpt from today's ProMED bulletin from the International Society of Infectious Diseases.

Vaccine hesitancy is a global problem: coverage for many of the vaccines recommended for adolescents and adults in the US is low. While vaccine adherence rates for children in developed countries are typically above 90%, data suggest that nearly 12% of parents in the US are refusing and 30% delaying one or more of the recommended childhood vaccines. There appears to be decreasing confidence in immunization worldwide.

In 1988, the WHO launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the goal of ending the disease by the year 2000. In 1996, Nelson Mandela launched “Kick Polio Out of Africa” that aimed to vaccinate 50 million children that year alone. Mass immunization drives included national immunization days, acute flaccid paralysis surveillance, training of local community health workers, and door-to-door campaigns. By 2003, however, a plan to immunize more than 15 million children in west and central Africa against polio was hobbled by a boycott in northern Nigeria that ultimately led to a resurgence of polio, not just in Nigeria, but globally. (You can find contemporaneous reports and links at ProMED Archive Number: 20040630.1742.)