(U.S.) – The American Academy of Pediatrics is joining several organizations in issuing a statement in favor of the VACCINES Act.
Our organizations, which represent a combined membership of more than 560,000 physician and medical student members, are united in our support of the bipartisan Vaccine Awareness Campaign to Champion Immunization Nationally and Enhance Safety (VACCINES) Act, introduced yesterday by physicians Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), along with Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.).
The science is resoundingly clear: Vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives. Yet, measles outbreaks continue to spread across the country, with 880 cases in 24 states, the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since the measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
Parents want to do what is best for their children. Yet, parents searching for credible information about vaccines are bombarded with misinformation online, where it’s difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. A better understanding of vaccine hesitancy and how to effectively reach our patients is vital to protecting our communities from vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.
The VACCINES Act does just that, by recommending federal funding for vaccine hesitancy surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and by outlining a national public messaging campaign informed by this research to help improve vaccination rates. This bill is a needed step to increase confidence in vaccines, and it could not come at a more critical time.
We are facing a public health epidemic that is impacting all of our patients across different fields of medicine. Our patients who are too young or too sick to be immunized are at even greater risk as more individuals opt out of vaccines. The diseases returning in the absence of sufficient numbers of the population being immunized are devastating and deadly. Vaccine hesitancy is a public health crisis and we support the VACCINES Act as one important step to help address it and as a way to better educate the public and our patients.
American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, and American Psychiatric Association