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One Mother’s Story: The Importance of HPV Vaccination

This week of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), Aug. 22-28, focuses on the important role vaccines play in protecting preteens and teens against serious diseases.

By Kimberly Graham

With three kids a little too close in age, keeping track of who needs which vaccines and when has never been my strong suit. Fortunately, now that they’re getting older, they need fewer shots, and I need fewer post-doctor visit bribes.

My second grader was seemingly in the clear until at least middle school, but this summer, our family’s health history changed. So did my thinking about HPV vaccines, which can be given to girls and boys as early as age 9 as a way to prevent certain kinds of cancers.

My mom, a 56-year-old bookkeeper, was diagnosed with oral cancer in late May. A biopsy later confirmed that her case—a tumor on the back her tongue that had spread to lymph nodes in her throat—was caused by a strain of HPV. Read more

Why are we still talking about autism and vaccines? (And why is DeNiro asking us to?)

This blog post originally appeared on From the Square – The NYU Press Blog April 27, 2016.

By Jennifer Reich

Actor Robert DeNiro hand-picked the documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe to show at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, which he founded. The film, which has since been removed after widespread criticism, explores well-traveled terrain. At the center (according to promotional materials) are perennial claims that vaccines cause autism. More specifically, the movie focuses on a 2004 study published in the well-respected journal Pediatrics in which researchers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) argue there is no causal link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The filmmakers revisit a controversial claim by one of the authors: data showed that for a subset of African American boys vaccinated before the age of three years, the risk of autism increased with on-time vaccination and the CDC threw those data out.

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Every Child’s Life is Precious

By Felisa Hilbert

During World Immunization Week (April 24-30) organizations around the world raise their voices to educate, promote and increase the rates of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Why? Because every child’s life is precious. Yet in developing countries around the world, a child dies every 20 seconds from diseases that can be easily prevented with a vaccine. When you think that every 20 seconds a child dies (which equals 3 children per minute), 180 will die in an hour and 4,320 children will die in a day. Can you imagine 1,440 children dying during your shift of 8 hours at work? I know for many of us here in United States this seems astonishing and incredible, but this is a reality for many mothers and children in developing countries. Read more

Closing the Immunization Gap: It’s Time to Reach the Fifth Child

By Jordan Savold, communications and research fellow at the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition and United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Champion

World Immunization Week is held each year during the last week of April to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.

UN Foundation photo

Photo: United Nations Foundation, Shot@Life

Did you know that one in five children worldwide lacks access to important, life-saving vaccines?

This means that around the world, every 20 seconds a child will die from a vaccine preventable disease. The number of children dying every year from preventable diseases in developing countries is equivalent to nearly half the children entering kindergarten in the U.S.

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