Jan 13, 2017

Repeat After Us: Vaccines Are Safe. Vaccines Are Effective. Vaccines Save Lives.

News reports continue to suggest that president-elect Donald Trump is possibly considering forming a new federal commission on immunizations after meeting with anti-vaccine advocate RFK Jr. earlier this week. We join with our partners in local, state and national organizations, healthcare, public health, scientists, and researchers in reiterating that vaccines work. They save lives, and the science has confirmed that time and again. Vaccines have significantly reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago; saved billions of dollars and millions of lives; and are one of the top ten public health achievements of all time.

A new, and unnecessary, commission would divert much needed dollars from other, more pressing healthcare and public health issues. Such a commission would waste taxpayer dollars and resources. Data show that the current U.S. vaccine supply is the safest in history, and that supply is continually monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP.) Both continue to ensure the safety, effectiveness, and availability of vaccines for the United States. We support these entities’ excellent and evidence-based work.

The continued fake news of an alleged link between vaccines and autism has been thoroughly debunked, time and time again, for over 17 years. As Autism Science Foundation President, Alison Singer, states, “Withholding vaccines will do nothing to reduce the chance that a child is diagnosed with autism, but will absolutely increase the chance that a child could contract and die from a vaccine-preventable disease. Vaccines save lives, period.”

We asked Andy Pasternak, MD, founder of Silver Sage Center for Family Medicine, for his perspective. He’s been a family practice physician for more than twenty years, is currently serving as Advocacy Chair for Immunize Nevada, is the incoming President of the Washoe County Medical Society, and chairs the Nevada State Medical Association Commission on Medical Practice. Here’s his response:
“I am somewhat perplexed by Mr. Trump’s need to develop this commission as there are so many other pressing issues in medicine that we need to address first,” states Dr. Andy Pasternak, MD.  “Within medicine, we always continue to review safety of our treatments and monitor what we are doing actually benefits our patients. In the case of vaccines, physicians and scientists have consistently shown that vaccines are safe and effective. We now have a generation of people that have forgotten the devastating effects of polio, measles, meningitis and many of the other diseases we have greatly reduced because of vaccines.”

An important part of Immunize Nevada’s mission is to be a trusted resource, and to promote credible sources of information about vaccines and health. Read statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Autism Science Foundation and Shot of Prevention in response to this recent news. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to get current immunization and health news delivered to your inbox, and stay connected to Immunize Nevada on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest.

Heidi Parker, MA

As executive director of Immunize Nevada, Heidi Parker, MA leads and engages a diverse coalition of staff, volunteers, member organizations and funders so they are passionate about vaccines and access to preventive health care across Nevada’s rural, urban and frontier communities. Bringing over two decades of experience in nonprofit program management, fundraising and marketing, she has dedicated her career to being able to affect her community in a positive way, whether working with Head Start families, victims of violence, college students or Nevadans needing immunizations.

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