Public health department vaccination awareness campaign

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Bryan Bradley | Staff Writer


Since the beginning of 2015 this country has seen an increase in measles cases nationwide. There was an outbreak in West Jordan, Utah. The Public Health Department has been running a public awareness campaign to encourage vaccination participation in order to limit the spread of these outbreaks. This campaign has been visiting schools, city government offices, and other public locations to get the word out. There have also been multiple social media campaigns as well, aimed at local communities.

UVU has an enrollment of over 30,000, students that are in close proximity to each other on a daily basis, increasing exposure and an increased risk of contracting a dangerous disease or virus. Dr. Joseph Miner of the Utah County Public Health office recommended that college students find out what vaccinations they have received and get the ones that they don’t have. By not being vaccinated, a person puts their own health at risk, which also carries over to the entire community.

“The number one threat to vaccinations today is the success of vaccinations,” said Miner. Many times people do not comprehend the threat of these diseases because of the success of vaccinations. They see themselves as protected, but with modern day travel our world is a much smaller place than realized.

Vaccinations are among one of the most controversial issues being discussed throughout social media and public forums today. There are countless blogs and testimonials about the dangers of vaccinations. The problem is, much of the information being exchanged is biased and goes unchecked. This is absolutely the case with vaccinations.

Much of the misinformation about the dangers stems from a study published in The Lancet, a medical journal, by Andrew Wakefield in 1998. His research has since been disproved multiple times and his medical license revoked. This article claimed direct links to MMR vaccinations and autism in children. It has created an almost religious fear of vaccinations and has become a serious problem. The following created by this article has come under intense criticism with the recent measles outbreaks.

The truth is, 100 years ago the child mortality rate within the first year, was 30 percent, and today that rate is around .06 percent. This is due in large part to vaccinations. Measles, typhoid, meningitis, tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A/B, haemophilus influenza B, polio, and varicella are just a few examples of preventable diseases. These diseases have killed hundreds of thousands of people throughout history. In the United States the CDC tracks these cases and the numbers are so low due to vaccinations, that you can count them on one hand. Vaccinations are constantly scrutinized and improved for safety of the community.

“The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination has an average protection rate of about 95 percent. This means that one in twenty people could still contract measles. But that is only with the first dose that we receive at 1 years old. We receive a booster MMR before we start public school, which boosts the protection to 99 percent.  Even if after both vaccines, you somehow contract measles your immune system has built up a strong immunity making the disease much less severe. Vaccinations are something that impact an entire community and awareness is the first step,” said Miner.

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