Explaining that the problem is especially severe in the inner city, Ms Pisani said, 'Rates among African-American children are actually 13 percentage points lower than white and Hispanic children.' She further mentioned that when children miss their immunization schedule, most can't catch up and are vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough, hepatitis, or meningitis and influenza.
Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, announced that, 'Four new vaccines will be available and recommended for use by the end of the year.' Offit explaining that these vaccines now target a wider range of diseases like meningitis, rotavirus, human papilloma virus and shingles, which she said would act together, saving thousands of lives, both young and not-so-young each year.
Dr. Louis Z. Cooper, professor of paediatrics at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a past president of the American Academy of Paediatrics, further mentioned that the advances in the science of vaccines have included fine-tuning the immunization schedule for the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DPT) vaccine and flu vaccine, and considerable changes intended for tackling the continued spread of whooping cough and influenza.
Cooper said, The vaccines are so remarkably safe and so remarkably effective that I, as a parent and a grandparent and a paediatrician, strongly urge parents to get all of them, and get them on time.
Dr Offit said, This is a banner year, I don't think we're going to see another new vaccine for 10 years. I just think this has been an amazing year. He also stated that the new meningitis vaccine, which had been endorsed last year by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, has the precise capability of preventing hundreds of horrific deaths and life-altering illnesses.
Offit while explaining that the Meningococcal disease is caused by Neisseria meningitides a common bacterium that invades the body to infect the lining of the brain or the bloodstream said, This is a vaccine that will prevent a bacteria that creates both bloodstream infections and meningitis in about 3,000 people a year, most of them children, and 300 deaths a year. He further said that even when the disease isn't fatal, it does have the potential to cause a lifetime brain damage, hearing loss, loss of limbs, or kidney failure.
It has been reported that the CDC recommends that all students entering middle school and high school and all college freshmen living in dormitories should receive the new meningococcal vaccine. Offit also explained about the other new vaccines that are being developed for treatment or prevention.
1. Rotavirus, which is a germ that causes severe diarrhoea in children, usually with fever and vomiting. Offit said, 'It's a very common cause of doctor visits and hospital visits in young children, about one of every 50 children in this country will be hospitalised due to dehydration related to rotavirus.'
2. Human papilloma virus that is considered as one of the leading cause of cervical cancer and genital warts. Offit stating that, There are more than 10,000 new cases of cervical cancer each year, he added, this will prevent about 70 percent of the strains that cause cervical cancer.
3. Shingles, which is an outbreak of rash or blisters on the skin caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. Offit said, It's for people over 60 years of age, and it will reduce their chances of getting shingles by at least 50 percent.
It was explained that doctors are also trying to improve the immunization schedules of the already-developed vaccines, in response to the development in certain diseases. It was explained that a booster dose of an improved DPT vaccine is now being recommended for teens and adults every 10 years, for preventing pertussis, or whooping cough, which has been on the rise since the 1980s and can often be fatal to the children.
Cooper said, 'We've recognized that we're seeing a gradual increase of whooping cough in this country, and realized this reflects the gradual waning of vaccinations given years before. He also said that another vaccination schedule advance might involve the expansion of the age range for children receiving influenza immunization. He explained that till recently the flu vaccination had been recommended for children between 6 months old and 2 years old. But now, doctors are recommending that children as old as 5 years of age get vaccinated for the flu, along with their parents and caretakers. This he explained is in recognition that not only do young kids get influenza, but that they are important in its spread.
Offit said about the new vaccination schedule, If we really do follow up on this recommendation, we'll go a long way toward eradicating whooping cough from this country,