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John G. Baresky

Public health experts center on false content online as playing a significant role in scaring parents away from getting their children vaccinated…

Facebook ( NASDAQ: FB ) and Instagram ( owned by Facebook ) will direct users searching for Measles immunization information and other types of vaccine details to the World Health Organization ( WHO ) for credible facts. Content shared on social media has spread inaccurate information about Measles and other vaccines and disrupted immunization safeguards. Decades of research, innovative product development and documented healthcare success have been stunningly challenged via misinformation posted through various social media venues.

WHO is taking action and deploying its own social media strategy to combat misinformation about vaccines and immunizations

This is an interesting turn-of-events as WHO is strategically deploying social media venues to counter this issue generated through the same channels. Immunizations are an integral part of prevention and wellness. Recently, WHO launched a Malaria vaccine trial in Africa and a new vaccine for Small Pox / Monkey Pox was approved by the FDA.

Given the investment in these immunizations and more on the way, the public should be fully and accurately informed as to their benefits and availability. Social media is an effective resource to accomplish this goal.

Measles is on the rise in the United States

The Measles outbreak in the U.S. has risen to over 1,200 confirmed cases across 31 states since January 2019. Public health experts have pointed to anti-vaccination content online as playing a significant role in scaring parents away from getting their children vaccinated.

An additional and serious misconception is Measles is not a dangerous healthcare illness. Measles can result in very significant health issues including fatalities. Globally, it kills more than 100,000 people a year, mostly children under the age of five. One in 1,000 people who catch Measles die of it.

Numerous vaccinations are available with proven effectiveness

The Measles, Mumps, Rubella ( MMR ) vaccine was developed by Maurice Hilleman. It was licensed for use by Merck in 1971. Standalone Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccines had been previously licensed in 1963, 1967 and 1969 respectively. The combination MMR vaccine is a great way to maximize immunization protection for three diseases with two injections spaced at least 28 days apart.

The AAP provides clear guidance for immunization

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides the complete immunization series schedule for children; click here:

Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedules: the United States, 2019

Deep concern from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about Measles and the potential for an outbreak in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been tracking the ongoing Measles issue for months now. The United States has had “disease-free” status for Measles for years and now this standing is at risk. The latest Measles status update from the CDC is here and provides a complete trend report:

CDC Measles Cases and Outbreaks 2019

Looking ahead, the benefits of immunization are proven and should be readily embraced; social media can be a leading influencer to accomplish this

Immunizations have a tremendous impact on global healthcare. The HPV / oncology vaccines developed by Merck and GlaxoSmithKline are prime examples of the preventative care and wellness that immunizations provide to serve as barriers to significant illness. By providing factual information to consumers, they will have an accurate understanding as to the benefits of vaccinations and a higher level of comfort and confidence.

Social media is a prime asset to exchange the right information to large numbers of persons in a short amount of time and reinforce it ( i.e. campaigns) to maintain progress. Quality of care will improve and costs required to treat preventable diseases will be reduced.

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