WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee conducted a hearing on rising rates of vaccine hesitancy causing preventable disease outbreaks across the country – such as the ongoing outbreaks in Washington, Illinois and New York. 

Sabin applauds Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) for providing a forum for public health experts to share their expertise and stories on the importance of vaccination to public health.

“The science is clear - vaccines are proven to work. Their introduction is one of the greatest public health innovations in the 20th century, though millions around the globe are still impacted by vaccine-preventable diseases. We commend the Senate HELP Committee for raising this issue to a national platform and addressing the surge of false information found on social media,” said Bruce Gellin, M.D., M.P.H., Sabin’s president of Global Immunization. 

Background

Recent Measles Outbreaks

  • From January 1 to February 28, 2019, 206 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 11 states. That’s more than half as many as all reported cases in 2018
  • The states that have reported cases to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington

Measles

  • Measles is a serious disease and those who can’t get vaccinated, like young babies and those with compromised immune systems, are counting on the rest of us to make sure they are safe
  • A case of measles anywhere is a threat everywhere. It is one of the most contagious diseases and one person with measles will infect nine out of every 10 unimmunized people with whom they come in contact
  • Someone with measles can cough in a room and leave. If you are unvaccinated and walk into that room hours later, you can still catch the virus
  • Measles can take up to 21 days to present symptoms, which include fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, followed by a rash that spreads over the body
  • There’s no treatment for measles, but it is preventable. The vaccine is very safe and is very effective — immunity lasts for decades 
  • More information on measles and the measles vaccine can be found on the CDC website

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About the Sabin Vaccine Institute

The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a leading advocate for expanding vaccine access and uptake globally, advancing vaccine research and development, and amplifying vaccine knowledge and innovation. Unlocking the potential of vaccines through partnership, Sabin has built a robust ecosystem of funders, innovators, implementers, practitioners, policy makers and public stakeholders to advance its vision of a future free from preventable diseases. As a non-profit with more than two decades of experience, Sabin is committed to finding solutions that last and extending the full benefits of vaccines to all people, regardless of who they are or where they live. At Sabin, we believe in the power of vaccines to change the world. For more information, visit www.sabin.org and follow us on Twitter, @SabinVaccine.

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