With summer’s impending departure on Saturday and school having begun for millions of students across the nation, it is time to focus on the fall season and the vaccines that preventive medicine physicians will need to help deliver. Ensuring that the most vulnerable amongst us, children, get their requisite vaccines in a timely manner is no small feat, given the ongoing challenges from dedicated anti-vaxxers!ACPM’s Vaccine Confident Campaign, which launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, is designed to leverage the critical voices of preventive medicine physicians to promote the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Recently, the Vaccine Confident Campaign held a Virtual Pediatric Rally, which I hosted, and where Dr. Wendy Lane, MD, MPH, the Preventive Medicine Residency Director at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and a Vaccine Confident Ambassador, led a discussion on the importance of routine vaccinations, especially in children.
COVID-19 had a significant negative effect on the delivery of routine vaccines, especially in children. However, pediatric vaccine hesitancy spread far beyond just COVID-19. As a result, our nation’s children are at increased risk of exposure to diseases previously eliminated in the US, or which were well controlled by vaccines. When we entered the 2023 school year, it was estimated that thousands of kindergartners were left unprotected from preventable diseases like measles.
Moreover, the vaccine landscape is evolving at a rapid pace and below are a few of those changes:
- COVID-19 vaccines and boosters added to CDC routine immunization schedule.
- New CDC guidance on updated recommendations for influenza, pneumococcal, measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B vaccines.
- New RSV vaccine approved.
- New COVID-19 boosters approved.
As preventive medicine specialists, all our voices should be utilized to spread the vaccine confident message. You can get involved. We have created pediatric focused materials within the Vaccine Confident toolkit that contains materials you can use to deliver the message among your peers, patients, and communities. Please consider signing-up to be a Vaccine Confident Ambassador here. You can access the Vaccine Confident Campaighn materials here.
In addition, ACPM will release the recording of the Vaccine Confident Campaign’s Virtual Pediatric Rally that was held on September 18.
This Vaccine Confident Campaign that ACPM continues to enhance, delivers a message that is crucial to pass along. It is vitally important to use your role to teach about the importance of vaccinating our nation’s children and keeping up with routine vaccines for all. Consider sharing a social media post, signing up to get involved in your local community or passing along the Vaccine Confident message to a family member, a friend or a colleague. Together we can make a lasting impression on parents, caregivers, families and our communities.
Thank you so much for all that you do as members of the ACPM to drive America’s Public Health system forward for the greater good, using our collective expertise as preventive medicine physicians to address the unmet needs so that we can make this wonderful country even better.
Mirza I. Rahman
MD, MPH, FAAFP, FACPM