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The challenge of immunizing a wary public

VANCOUVER, BC -- While national immunization rates remain high, vaccine refusals are troubling. In some parts of the country, pockets of unimmunized children have left communities vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, leading to outbreaks.

Top vaccine researchers will discuss the challenges to improving vaccine coverage during a session on vaccine public policy at 2:45 p.m. PT Saturday, May 1 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The meeting takes place at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Moderated by Stephen Berman, MD, professor and endowed chair of general pediatrics at The Children's Hospital in Denver, the symposium will address three key issues:

  • Should parental rights overrule public health considerations? Infectious disease epidemiologist Saad Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD, of Rollins School of Public Health and Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta, will discuss his studies of personal exemptions and state immunization requirements.
  • Are physicians reluctant to immunize patients because of the high cost of certain vaccines? Walter A. Orenstein, MD, former director of the National Immunization Program for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who now works in global health programs for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will discuss vaccine cost, financing and recommendations for new vaccines, and whether the CDC has the right information, tools and experts to do what is needed.
  • How reassuring is the data regarding autism and vaccines? Paul Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, will discuss the birth of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, legal presumptions of guilt regarding vaccines, and the Omnibus Autism Proceeding.

Finally, Lance E Rodewald, MD, director of the Immunization Services Division at the CDC, will provide an update on these issues from the CDC perspective.

Reporters wanting to interview any of the speakers should call the PAS Press Office at 778-331-7694. Reporters who wish to attend the session must first check in with the PAS Press Office at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre to receive press credentials.


Contact: Susan Martin
American Academy of Pediatrics

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