This article provides the highlights of the plan to vaccinate young children up to age age five against several respiratory diseases and other vaccine-preventable illnesses. It also addresses why parents are opting out of vaccination and what the Obama administration plans to do about it. The time for talk is over. As the former Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has stated, public health conversations must be dialogical to end this vaccine hesitancy.
President Barack Obama and now Vice President Joe Biden are attempting to restart these dialogues and bring back parents’ trust in vaccines that prevent these potentially debilitating illnesses. The Obama administration’s plan includes:
A) Establishing a national vaccine information hotline to provide answers to many of the questions that parents, health care providers and school administrators all face.
B) Bringing in federal government leadership to marshal all the tools of the government to keep vaccine programs funded and to guarantee continuity and accessibility for vaccines that prevent the five remaining vaccine-preventable illnesses.
C) Allowing health care professionals, particularly those engaged in pregnancy and meningitis, to vaccinate more patients under the new Medicaid and CHIP waiver programs.
D) Developing a reliable, convenient and affordable vaccine delivery system that will allow to vaccines to be rapidly and easily accessed and given throughout the day. This includes training more federal public health workers and the development of a cohesive, publicly-accessible plan to deliver vaccinations more strategically and efficiently.
E) Pursuing more pragmatic approaches, such as the establishment of safe air travel for pregnant women and small children in light of the recent California outbreak of measles
F) Engaging other federal agencies to implement a strategy that allows families to easily learn and receive vital vaccinations.
G) Providing scholarships for school-based vaccinations and embedding vaccination centers at schools.
These initiatives were started during the Obama administration and last summer’s measles outbreak in California, which revealed that many parents are waiting to vaccinate their children, though it is not uncommon to see these families in multiple states at the same time. We now know that public health agencies must act. We have come to a point where this is not theoretical research. This is real world action.
The good news is that with a little money and support, we can do it.
This article was written by CNN’s Raul Gallegos and David O’Brien.