Vaccines are the safest and most cost-effective way of protecting young children and adults in Texas from preventable and potentially fatal diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper childhood vaccinations can prevent more than 14 million cases of disease and 33,500 deaths in the United States and save $43 billion in costs, including $10 billion in indirect medical costs.
The H1N1 pandemic in 2009-10 underscored the need for an adult immunization registry. Texas patients didn’t know their vaccination history. An immunization registry that tracked this data would have proven beneficial.
Proper vaccinations also alleviate seasonal illnesses. CDC estimates thousands of people die and many more will be hospitalized each year in the United States because of seasonal flu. Health care workers particularly are vulnerable to the flu because of their constant contact with infected patients. Less than 50 percent of health care workers get a flu shot. The state does not require it nor do many health care facilities. Studies show proper vaccination of health care workers reduces absenteeism related to respiratory infections by up to 28 percent.
Medicine’s 2011 Agenda
- Support a statewide initiative to promote vaccination of health care workers, early-childcare providers, and others who care for patients.
- Support efforts to make the state’s immunization registry more accessible for adults and to make it an opt-out system.
- Expand Texas’ ability to share immunization registry data with other states for disasters and other public health priorities.
- Immunizations are important, effective, and safe. Proper vaccinations improve the health of the 400,000 Texas children born each year.
- A properly immunized community saves money. According to the CDC, every dollar spent on immunization saves $18.40 in direct medical and indirect costs, such as losses due to missed work, disability, and death.
- We must remain vigilant. Deaths from 13 vaccine-preventable diseases have decreased nearly 100 percent in Texas. Yet, in 2009, more than 8,500 cases of infectious diseases were reported, primarily chicken pox and whooping cough — all of which are preventable by vaccine. Eleven people in the United States died from whooping cough this year alone.
Be Wise - Immunize is a service mark of Texas Medical Association.