CDC Press Release: Report shows 20-year US immunization program spares millions of children from diseasesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent this bulletin at 04/24/2014 01:03 PM EDT
Report shows 20-year US immunization program spares millions of children from diseases
Recent measles outbreaks underscore importance of sustaining high vaccination coverage
The CDC estimates that vaccinations will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years. Despite the U.S. immunization program’s success, according to CDC officials, 129 people in the U.S. have been reported to have measles this year in 13 outbreaks, as of April 18.
In 1994, the Vaccines for Children program (VFC) was launched in direct response to a measles resurgence in the United States that caused tens of thousands of cases and over a hundred deaths, despite the availability of a measles vaccine since 1963. The VFC program provides vaccines to children whose parents or caregivers might otherwise be unable to afford them.
This year’s 20th anniversary of the VFC program’s implementation is occurring during an increase in measles cases in the U.S. In 2013, 189 Americans had measles. In 2011, 220 people in the U.S. were reported as having measles--the highest number of annual cases since 1996.
"Thanks to the VFC program, children in our country are no longer at significant risk from diseases that once killed thousands each year,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Current outbreaks of measles in the U.S. serve as a reminder that these diseases are only a plane ride away. Borders can’t stop measles, but vaccination can.”