vaccinations

Back in mid-December, three children were hospitalized with measles after passing through the Denver airport and the emergency department of Children’s Hospital Colorado. The concern was that others might have picked up the disease at those locations. 

Three children are being treated at a Denver-area hospital for measles, adding to the more than 1,200 cases of the disease reported this year nationwide. Some Mountain West states have already seen measles cases this year, including Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada.

Measles is very contagious, so when a case is identified, it kicks local health officials into high gear, rapidly searching for anyone the patients may have come into contact with. 

This post was updated at 8:30 p.m. with additional information.

About 60 people gathered at the Colorado Capitol Monday for the third and final day of a summit on vaccination. It featured a series of presentations full of reasons why people should not get their children immunized.

Michele Ames says that's a problem.

"The world consensus is that vaccines are safe and effective and they save lives. Period," said Ames, a spokesperson for Colorado Vaccinates, a coalition of groups including Children's Hospital Colorado and the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics aimed at increasing vaccination rates in the state.

After decades of progress against one of the most contagious human viruses, the world is seeing measles stage a slow, steady comeback.

The World Health Organization and the CDC say in a new report that there were nearly 10 million cases of measles last year, with outbreaks on every continent.

An estimated 140,000 people died from measles in 2018, WHO says, up from an all-time low of 90,000 in 2016.

And so far 2019 has been even worse.

Researchers writing in the journal Science found that when kids get measles, it can cause “amnesia” in the immune system. 

In much of the Mountain West, measles vaccination rates are below the recommended 95% level.

This year saw the largest outbreak of measles in the U.S. since 1994, with 1,250 cases reported as of Oct. 3, largely driven by families choosing not to vaccinate their kids. Worldwide, the disease has resurfaced in areas that had been declared measles-free.

The share of Oklahoma kindergartners up to date on all their vaccines rose slightly last year, but the percentage who were granted exemptions from at least one vaccine also increased, according to the latest survey’s preliminary results.

Large and small cities in Texas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to measles outbreaks as more parents exempt their children from required vaccinations, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

TOPEKA — Kansas schools will require two new vaccines come August, including one against a virus that’s hospitalized 13,000 people and killed 200 across the country since 2016.

COFFEYVILLE — More than one in 10 kindergartners in Kansas in the 2017-2018 school year lacked at least some of the shots that the state requires to shield students against outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and more.

The state’s most recent annual report pegged the figure at 15%.

Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado.

The national measles outbreak — numbering more than 1,000 cases so far — hasn't hit Kansas yet, but it has crept awfully close to home.

Published 8:30 a.m. | Updated 11:40 a.m.

Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Thursday to outline policies he hopes will increase Colorado’s kindergarten vaccination rate while at the same time, as he describes it, “honor the rights of parents.”

Gov. Jared Polis has signed an executive order aiming to increase vaccination rates in the state.

“We all know why we are here and what the problem is,” Polis said Thursday during a press conference at an urgent care center for children in downtown Denver. 

Texas Vaccine Exemption Rates Have Reached An All-Time High. Did Texas Make It Too Easy?

Jun 13, 2019

As measles cases hit a 25-year high in the United States, Texas medical experts fear the state could see the next outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease. Texas has reported 15 confirmed cases of measles so far in 2019, six more than in all of 2018.

Measles and mumps have shown up in Texas, and both are preventable if children get the MMR vaccine. But some doctors are concerned that people may be not be aware of the third illness included in the MMR vaccine acronym. The R stands for rubella, also known as German measles.

Kindergarten and seventh-grade students in Texas have slightly lower vaccination rates this school year, according to a new report from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

This story was updated May 3, 2019 at 3:40 p.m.

Measles cases have reached a 19-year high in the U.S., but a bill in Colorado aimed at improving childhood vaccination rates didn’t succeed. It didn’t really fail, either. It just got mired in super-long hearings, pushback from the governor and, ultimately, a legislative schedule that ran out of time before the bill could reach the Senate.

“I’m still today trying to figure out exactly what happened,” says Rep. Kyle Mullica, who sponsored the bill.

Measles is on the rise again, all around the globe.

Though the number of people affected in the U.S. is still relatively low compared with the countries hardest hit, there are a record number of U.S. measles cases — more than 700, so far, in 2019, according to the CDC — the highest since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. back in 2000.

Update, April 16, 2019: Lawmakers on a House committee advanced a bill to tighten the state's school immunization rules.  The bill passed 7-4 along party lines and now goes to the full House.  The vote came at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning after a marathon session of testimony.  Hundreds turned out to share their views, filling the halls and listening in from overflow rooms.

Updated at 1:55 p.m., Feb. 26, 2019:

As a measles outbreak continues in Washington state, a congressional hearing Wednesday will discuss the preventable disease, now considered to be a “growing public health threat.”

Several states are considering legislation to encourage higher rates of childhood vaccines. The response in our region is mixed.

Thousands of Kansas children and teens go without vaccines that could save their lives.

A series of policy changes, though, could protect more Kansans against everything from cervical cancer to swift-acting meningococcal disease.

The Department of State Health Services and the Texas Medical Association both called for Texans to get their flu shots as soon as possible. Texas Health Commissioner John Hellerstedt said Monday he would like to see everyone immunized by the end of October.

The flu epidemic was especially deadly last year. And our region was no exception. Tens of thousands of people are estimated to have died in the U.S. from the flu virus last season, including a record high of 180 children.  

From Texas Standard.

Nonmedical exemptions for vaccines have been on the rise over the past few years. They allow parents to bypass vaccination requirements for their children, based on religious or philosophical beliefs. These exemptions are often referred to as NMEs. A recent report published by the Public Library of Science Journal of Medicine, or PLOS Medicine, analyzed trends in the 18 states that permitted NMEs, from 2009 to 2017. Texas is one of them.

Only about a third of kids in Texas are getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is linked to several cancers. The state ranks 47th in the country for its vaccination rate, according to the Texas Medical Association.

health.mil

Texans are letting sexual taboos get in the way of preventing cancer, according to a recent editorial in The Dallas Morning News.

When it comes to vaccinating kids against the human papillomavirus, better known as HPV, Texas ranks near the bottom. The shot has been around for a decade now, and it prevents a virus that 90% of men and 85% of women will otherwise contract in their lifetimes. In a small percentage of cases, HPV can lead to cancer.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

The Texas House of Representatives has passed a measure that would prevent doctors from vaccinating foster children—even when those vaccinations would prevent them from later getting cervical cancer.

Sanofi Pasteur / KUT

Texas has seen 221 cases of mumps this year. That’s more cases than at any time in the past 20 years, reports KUT.

56 mumps cases being reported in Kansas

Mar 12, 2017
Centers for Disease Control / Wikimedia Commons

56 cases of mumps have been reported in Kansas, prompting the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to urge Kansans to take precautions. 

As The Wichita Eagle reports, 56 mumps cases have been reported in Kansas since March 4.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the cases were reported in Atchison, Barton, Crawford, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Franklin, Johnson, Marshall, Riley, Rooks and Thomas Counties.

CC0 Public Domain

As childhood immunization rates rise in Colorado, a lawmaker wants to strip funding from the state’s Immunization Information System.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado ranks 14th in the country in childhood immunization rates, according to a study released Friday.

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