Sunday, June 9, 2019

Measles in Hampton Bays: Why the Public Should Wake-Up and not Wake-Field

On Saturday, April 20, 2019, Suffolk County Health Officials confirmed that Hampton Bays residents were exposed to an individual with measles. This case was isolated from the outbreak in Rockland County, NY as the individual was briefly visiting the area from outside of the United States where he was exposed to measles.


The Rockland County Health Department has dealt with an eight-month outbreak leading to a total of 259 confirmed cases. Even more startling than the number of cases is the fact that more than 79% of those infected have not been vaccinated with even one dose of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that from January 1 to May 31, 2019, 981** individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 26 states. The CDC states that this is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994, and since 2000 when measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. The resurgence of measles is no coincidence; the story begins with a fraudulent (and now unlicensed) doctor and ends with the public mistakenly believing that measles is just a “harmless childhood disease.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.


Dr. Bruce Farber, Chief of Infectious Diseases at North Shore University Hospital, delivered an important comment to Newsday regarding this measles case: “There are cases cropping up all over and the solution is vaccination… Measles is extraordinarily contagious. It is one of the most contagious, if not the most contagious infectious disease.”


Dr. Farber thankfully represents the majority of the public’s consensus that vaccinations are safe, effective and necessary against all infectious diseases in their aim to eliminate preventable suffering. While all vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control are necessary to avoid public health outbreaks and global pandemics, MMR vaccination is quite possibly the most important public health initiative.


The measles virus, described since the 9th century, is a highly communicable infection of the nose and throat which spreads through coughing and sneezing and is airborne for up to two hours. The  CDC reports that “measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.” More than 92% of the population must be vaccinated against measles to maintain “herd” immunity against this virus which spreads like wildfire.


The misconception that measles is just a “harmless childhood disease” is dangerous; while measles can be a harmless infection for most, it can cause serious complications and even death. Measles can cause ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, encephalitis, premature births and low-birth-weight.

Measles kills one to two children out of every 1,000 infected. Perhaps the worse complication associated with measles is Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), a rare but fatal central nervous system disease which develops 7 to 10 years after a person has been infected with measles.

So how on earth did this misconception of measles being a “harmless childhood disease” come to be? It all started with the fraudulent activity of a former British Gastroenterologist, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, whose unethical behavior is likely to go down as one of the most serious crimes in medical history.


In 1998, Dr. Andew Wakefield and 12 colleagues published a case report in the British medical journal, the Lancet, which claimed that the MMR vaccine caused autism. The case study was fundamentally flawed, as proper consent was not obtained from the invasive testing that a small group of children underwent outside of medical facilities. Following Wakefield’s Lancet publication, numerous large-scale studies were conducted which profoundly refuted the link between the MMR vaccine and autism.


Shortly after the original publication in the Lancet, 10 of the 12 authors removed themselves from the
case study and the Lancet retracted the article in February 2010, admitting the failure to disclose the financial interests of Dr. Andrew Wakefield who was a paid expert for parents in litigation with manufactures of the MMR vaccine over claims that it caused their children’s autism. What’s more is that Wakefield was submitting a patent for his own version of the MMR vaccine. Based on all of his fraudulent activity, Dr. Andrew Wakefield was stripped of his medical license; he currently resides in
Texas and often contributes commentary for the anti-vaccine movement which has named him their
martyr. Andrew Wakefield just might be Public Health Enemy Number One, as every single measles
outbreak following his retracted publication has been linked to unvaccinated children.


The evidence in support of vaccinations is profound. Vaccines are the most studied medical
intervention, ever, and they have been proven to be safe and effective. There is no doubt that
vaccination programs are the key to preventing global pandemics. The MMR vaccine is safe and effective and families should refer to the CDC’s recommended schedule of vaccines and have a discussion with their provider if they have any concerns. If you are unsure of your vaccination status, please speak to your provider so that titers can be drawn to determine the potential need for additional vaccination.

“Scientists who publish their research have an ethical responsibility to ensure the highest standards of research design, data collection, data analysis, data reporting, and interpretation of findings; there can be no compromises because any error, any deceit, can result in harm to patients as well harm to the cause of science, as the Wakefield saga so aptly reveals. We sincerely hope that researchers will keep this ethical responsibility in mind when they submit their manuscripts...” 
--T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao and Chittaranjan Andrade, of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry


You can stay up-to-date about Rockland County’s measles outbreak here:
http://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/measles-information/

You can read the Newsday article which quoted Dr. Bruce Farber here:
https://www.newsday.com/news/health/measles-suffolk-county-1.30243740

You can read more about Dr. Andrew Wakefield here:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136032/

Angela Daly is a Cardiovascular Research Nurse at Southampton Cardiology. She is also a Board Member for Nurses Who Vaccinate, a Long-Island based Non-Profit which aims to position nurses as strong public health advocates for their families, their patients, their communities and the world.


**Cases as of May 31, 2019. Case count is preliminary and subject to change.

Friday, May 10, 2019

National Nurse Act Soars Since Introduction


Nurses Week 2019 continues with the Nurses Who Vaccinate blog highlighting the progress and sheer determination of the leaders and supporters of the National Nurse Act of 2019, H.R. 1597and S. 696.


As one Congressional staffer noted, “This bill is flying since its introduction on March 7th!” The intent of the National Nurse Act is to strengthen the influence of the Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of the USPHS to address public health initiatives with emphasis on being a leading voice for public health for nurses and to encourage greater involvement of nurses, without any additional economic or time burden on the existing role.



Advocates, including many members of Nurses Who Vaccinate, strongly believe the designation of National Nurse for Public Health will increase awareness among nurses and the public so that it becomes well established this nurse leader already contributes a vital role in public health, particularly focused on health promotion and prevention.


Health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, e-cigarette vaping, opioid addiction, and the measles outbreak pose threats to the health of Americans, young and old, as well as to their economic burden bankrupting our healthcare dollars. Nurses provide key services for the management of these conditions. The public views nurses as the trusted, credible messengers. As the largest sector of the healthcare workforce, our nation’s 4 million nurses are poised to lead in a national movement towards improved public health. The National Nurse for Public Health would provide the uniting voice and leadership necessary to do so.


Currently, the National Nurse Act of 2019 boasts the bipartisan support of 96 House cosponsors, 9 Senate cosponsors, and 100 endorsing nursing and healthcare organizations.


To learn more and how you can get involved to support this important legislation, visit http://nationalnurse.org 

Picture 1- Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE-Ret. (President National Nursing Network Organization); Mia Keeys (Health Policy Advisor-Rep. Robin Kelly IL-2); and Savannah Jensen BSN, RN, PHN, CMSRN (NNNO Advocacy Team)
Picture 2- Pictured: Melody Butler and supporters of the National Nurse Act (HR 1597) visit with the co-lead of this legislation, Congressman Pete King (NY-R-2)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Educating through Art- Importance of Vaccinating

MPH@GW, the online Master of Public Health from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, recently published two articles that focus on the importance of
immunization and vaccinating against measles. 

The graphics in both pieces were created by 2U Inc. on behalf of MPH@GW. In January 2019, Washington state declared a local public health emergency after confirming 26 cases of measles. These resources from MPH@GW were created to spread awareness, illustrate the state of measles in the U.S., and answer questions the public may have about the development of vaccines.



“A History of Measles in the United States” depicts the visual timeline of measles in the U.S., beginning with the first outbreaks reported in 1765, to the elimination of the disease in 2000, to its recent resurgence.

“Producing Prevention: The Complex Development of Vaccines” provides readers with the definitions of useful terms, as well as an easy-to-understand walkthrough of the phases of vaccine development. For anyone that’s ever wondered who, besides scientists, is involved in the production of vaccines, this resource also delves into the various people and the roles they play in bringing vaccines to the public.

Together, these resources reinforce the importance of immunization, particularly as measles outbreaks continue to occur. With this information, readers can gain a better understanding of the power that immunizations have to keep communities safe and healthy.

Nurses Who Vaccinate would like to encourage the sharing of these graphics and messages. Post them to your social media accounts and share with your friends, families and colleagues. Help get the message out about the importance of vaccinating!




We would like to thank the George Washington University's online MPH program for providing the graphics and information. For more information on their Public Health Program, please see- https://publichealthonline.gwu.edu 







Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Important: Measles Outbreak Message- April 2019

The following is a letter from Dr. Melinda Wharton, the Director of Immunization Services Division, part of the National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please share with your colleagues and workplaces. 

As you may know, there have been multiple outbreaks of measles in the U.S. So far this year there have been 465 cases in 19 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.  The majority of measles cases are in New York City and New York state, which are primarily among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities and associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel.

With the upcoming Passover holiday, which begins the evening of Friday April 19 and ends the evening of Saturday, April 27, we anticipate there may be more opportunities for measles to spread.

Please be aware that many people celebrating Passover do not stay at home. Families may travel to resorts, hotels, or take cruises for the holiday.  And there will likely be an influx of international travelers before Passover, including many from Israel where measles is circulating. Popular destinations include New York, New Jersey, Florida, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Washington, D.C.

Measles is highly contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Healthcare professionals should be vigilant about measles—

  • Ensure all patients are up to date on MMR vaccine.
  • Consider measles in patients presenting with febrile rash illness and clinically compatible measles symptoms (cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis). Patients exposed to measles while traveling for Passover could begin to develop symptoms between late April through mid-May.
  • Ask patients about recent travel internationally or to domestic venues frequented by international travelers, as well as a history of measles exposures in their communities.
  • Promptly isolate patients with suspected measles to avoid disease spread and immediately report the suspect measles case to the health department.
  • Obtain specimens for testing from patients with suspected measles, including viral specimens for genotyping, which can help determine the source of the virus. Contact the local health department with questions about submitting specimens for testing.
Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9 of 10 people around them will also become infected if they are not protected. The virus can cause serious health complications, such as pneumonia or encephalitis, and even death.



CDC continues to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated on schedule with the MMR vaccine. People 6 months and older should be protected with the vaccine before leaving on international trips.

We appreciate your help spreading this message. Please share this letter as needed among your public health and community organizations. For additional information and resources on measles please visit the CDC’s measles website (https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html).

Thank you,

Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH
Director, Immunization Services Division
National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Friday, March 15, 2019

Nurses Who Vaccinate at the February 2019 ACIP Meeting

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of 21 individuals permitted to make a public comment to address the committee. Of those commenters, myself and one other - Alison Singer, co-founder of the Autism Science Foundation - were the only voices in support of vaccination. I’d like to share the overall impact that the meeting had for me.

What struck me first was the data presented. To reference one of my favorite 80’s songs, they blinded me with science! Even though I lost sleep stressing over my statistics classes and nursing research classes while in college, it was clear that without an understanding of statistics, study design and medical ethics, much of the scientific data presented may not have made sense or could be easily misinterpreted. Each working group focused on a particular vaccine – Japanese encephalitis, Anthrax, the new Hexavalent vaccine (TDaP, HepB, Polio and HiB combo), meningococcal group B, etc. After the working group presented the data and their suggestions for any revisions to current recommendations based on that data, the remainder of the committee made comments and asked questions.

I also really appreciated the questions and comments as those remarks helped to clarify details in the data and verbiage of proposed changes to recommendations. Watching the process, it was clear that a tremendous amount of work goes into ensuring that the evidence for safety and efficacy is robust before making any changes to current recommendations.

The other major factor that made an impression on me was large contingent of anti-vaccine public speakers. The majority of these people were parents of children who were dealing with a variety of challenges including autism, auto-immune disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and more. It was clear to me that these people were in pain. The day-to-day challenges they faced raising children with special needs created stress and anxiety in their lives. I do not think that they are crazy. I think they are misguided. While the science has repeatedly shown no connection between these conditions and vaccines, they continue to channel their anger with their situation toward the only tangible demon they have – vaccination. While listening to them I heard many misinterpretations of science and the research process. They are angry and in pain and they want there to be a reason for the challenges that they and their children face.

As a mother myself, I can only sympathize with that. When unfortunate events happen we want to know why. What was the most disappointing to me were the four medical professionals among their group (one physician, one nurse practitioner and two registered nurses) who validated their inaccuracies by means of their credentials. 
Because of rogue medical professionals, these parents feel justified in blaming vaccination even though the evidence says otherwise. This brings me to my own statement before the committee.






Lori Boyle, RN, providing a pro-science, evidence based statement at February 2019 ACIP Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

My statement focused on the trust that the people of the United States have bestowed upon the profession of nursing as a whole. As the guardians of that trust, nurses have an obligation to adhere to evidence based practice. Anything short of that is a betrayal of that trust. I urged any nurses listening to remember their role as servants to the public and to adhere to evidence based practice and to join Nurses Who Vaccinate.

While there I had the opportunity to meet and speak with other advocates of evidence-based practice including members of the Immunization Action Coalition, Dr. Paul Offit Director of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Karen Ernst founder of Voices for Vaccines, Dorit Reiss Rubinstein law professor at UC Hastings, Amy Pisani, Director of Vaccinate Your Family and a lovely docent at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum at CDC Headquarters who gave me a tour.

The whole experience was invaluable to me and I hope to be able to attend the meeting again in the future to remind both the ACIP and the public of Nurses Who Vaccinate and our devotion to the health and well being of the public that we serve.
Lori Boyle's Full Statement

My name is Lori. I am a mother of two fully vaccinated successful young adults and a registered nurse of 21 years, the last five of those as an advanced practice nurse. I am here today representing the organization Nurses Who Vaccinate. We are a grassroots organization that works to provide up to date accurate, science based information to the public and to our fellow health care workers regarding vaccination. I first became aware of misinformation regarding vaccination as I entered grad school at Rutgers. There I received a strong foundation in evidence based practice that has stayed with me to this day. It was disheartening to see so many people, including nurses, fall prey to sensationalist headlines and misinformation while I was learning to research and evaluate, evidence based medicine. I found Nurses Who Vaccinate while in grad school and through them found a way to share those critical thinking skills I was acquiring.  
My first job as an APN was with the largest infectious disease practice in the North East. While in that practice the need for sharing evidence based information on vaccines was reinforced. I saw young otherwise healthy college students in the ICU with flu, countless people with pneumococcal disease, people at risk of losing limbs due to meningococcal disease. Imagine my disbelief after caring for those people, then encountering nurses who refused the flu shot, or advised others against vaccinating based on misinformation?  
Nurses are the number one most trusted profession in the United States for 17 years straight. We have a duty and an obligation to adhere to evidence based practice. Anything short of that is a betrayal of the trust granted to us by the people of this country and diminishes the credibility of the profession as a whole. Nursing as a community has the ability to make a difference in this current climate of distrust that many of the public have with the medical establishment. The majority of us know the importance of adhering to evidence based practice. We understand that the vast preponderance of evidence world wide is in favor of vaccines as the safest, most effective means of preventing the diseases which they target. We can provide evidence based education to the public and our fellow healthcare workers to ease their concerns about misinformation that spreads like wildfire across social media.  
I urge my fellow nurses to join me in this endeavor to keep people healthy, reduce the spread of preventable diseases and become Nurses Who Vaccinate. 
I’d like to thank the Committee for their tireless hard work and dedication to the health and well being of people of the United States and for allowing me this moment to speak. Thank you.






 Lori Boyle, RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, WCC, CWS


Lori has been in nursing for more than 20 years. While in graduate school, she became aware of how many people were misunderstanding the science of vaccination and falling for misinformation. Since that time she has made it her mission to help people understand that the value and safety of vaccination as recommended, far outweighs the risks. In addition to Nurses Who Vaccinate she is also a member of Voices for Vaccines and the NJ Immunization Network.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Training the Next Generation of Vaccinators

 There has been a steady increase in the number of individuals affected by the influenza virus.  It has been estimated that 80,000 Americans died and 900,000 people were hospitalized for flu-related complications (National Foundation for Infectious Disease, 2018) this past year. Although older adults carry the heaviest burden for flu-related deaths, all ages can be impacted.
 
In preparation for the 2018 flu season, Clayton State University School of Nursing partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology Health Services for their Flu Campaign. Professors Elicia Collins, Han Dong and Sue Gronka along with Dr. Victoria Foster took 20 second semester nursing students to assist with providing flu shots for the student body.

Over 2 separate visits, 1,120 students were immunized. The nursing students also did patient teaching regarding what to expect after being vaccinated. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated each year for influenza.

 
 
We at Nurses Who Vaccinate are tremendously proud to share the accomplishments of these nursing students and their mentors.

Are you a nursing student yourself looking for more information on influenza and vaccines? Check out what the
American Nursing Association has to offer for education. "There are many elements of immunization that nurses need to know. From the correct anatomical sites for giving injections, to the increasingly complex immunization schedule, to knowing where to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Report, to the way that vaccines work in activating the immune system, there's a lot to learn and remember! Through continuing education courses, fact sheets, videos, and webcasts, this ANA page offers nurses a variety of educational opportunities to increase their immunization knowledge and competency."

Still looking to get your flu vaccine? You can visit http://vaccine.healthmap.org/ to find out where flu shots are available in your area. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions regarding which flu vaccine is best for you and your family.

And when you get your vaccine... send us your selfie! Like past flu seasons, we'll be collecting and sharing your #FluShotSelfie (with your permission) on our social media pages.

Send it to us on our Facebook page, email it to us (NursesWhoVaccinate@gmail.com),
or tag us on Instagram and Twitter at @NursesWhoVax.

We look forward to sharing everyone's efforts to protect themselves and others from influenza. Be safe this season!
 


FLU SEASON HASH TAGS



Thursday, August 16, 2018

Nurses Who Vaccinate Announces Partnership with Shot@Life

 
In honor of National Immunization Awareness Month, Nurses Who Vaccinate, a non-profit organization, announced their official partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign.  This partnership will provide network of nurses and members who are enthusiastic and engaged, and connect them with Shot@life's mission to stand up for children around the world. It will expand the efforts to champion global childhood immunizations through grassroots advocacy and awareness raising activities.


“As a long time supporter of Shot@Life, Nurses Who Vaccinate has worked side by side S@L to raise awareness of the need for children everywhere to receive life-saving vaccinations,” said Melody Butler, BSN, RN, CIC, Executive Director of Nurses Who Vaccinate. “As public health advocates, Nurses Who Vaccinate members encourage patients, colleagues, and communities to learn about, advocate for, and provide access to immunizations.  Becoming an official partner with Shot@Life to build global awareness of the need for childhood immunizations, fits naturally within our mission.”


NWV members meet fellow S@L Champion Jo Frost
Despite great advances, worldwide each year, 1.5 million children still die from vaccine preventable diseases.  Shot@Life and Nurses Who Vaccinate will work together to stand up for childhood and give children everywhere a shot a healthy life. The two organizations believe that no matter where they live, every child deserves a shot at life.






Shot@Life, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation, educates, connects and empowers individuals to champion global vaccines as one of the most effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. The campaign rallies the public to advocate and fundraise for global childhood vaccines. Shot@Life believes that by encouraging people to learn about, advocate for, and donate to  vaccines, we can decrease the 1.5 million annual vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life. Go to www.ShotAtLife.org to learn more.



NWV Members attend Shot@Life's Annual Summit