By Briana Sprague, Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Coordinator at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
When I found out I was pregnant, my dream of having a child finally came true. There was nothing I wanted more in this life than to be a mother. I had known as long as I could remember that I was destined to become a mom. The birth of my son, Jackson, was singularly the best moment of my life. I knew instantly that I loved him more than anything and that protecting him was my new life mission. The first three days home from the hospital were probably the hardest days of my life but also the most rewarding. Each day that I get to watch my son grow tops the day before.
One thing I learned about myself after becoming pregnant is that I am scared of everything. While I’m not afraid to admit that, I am afraid of not being able to protect Jackson from everything that could potentially harm him. But that just isn’t possible.
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
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.
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