Anne Dachel transcribed Rep Adam Schiff's speech from June 13, 2019, on the dangers of “vaccine hesitancy” and what to do about it. See FB post here.
“I rise today to offer an amendment in support of vaccines and the medical effectiveness. Specifically my amendment would direct $5 million to amplify a public health campaign to promote vaccine usage and combat hesitancy.
These funds would support the work of the national vaccine program within the office of infectious disease policy and HIV aids, which provides a framework for pursuing the prevention of infectious diseases through immunizations. It is the nation’s leading roadmap in articulating a comprehensive strategy to develop new and approved vaccines, enhance the vaccine safety system, and support communications to enhance vaccine decision making.
Each year vaccines are estimated to save two to three million lives worldwide. Due to effective vaccination campaigns, what were once referred to as the usual diseases of childhood, are now considered vaccine preventable diseases.
Unfortunately, vaccines are a victim of their own success. These monumental public health achievements have contributed to a false perception that disease threats are minimal and that routine vaccination is no longer necessary.
This year alone we have witnessed numerous outbreaks of measles across the country—a disease that was once considered eradicated in the United States.
Declining vaccination rates pose an imminent threat to public health. In fact the World Health Organization has identified vaccine hesitancy as a top global health threat for 2019.
There is strong evidence to suggest that at least part of the source of this trend is the degree to which medically inaccurate information about vaccines surfaces on websites where many Americans get their information.
Repetition of information, even if false, can often be mistaken for accuracy. And exposure to anti-vaccine content via social media may negatively sharp user attitudes towards vaccination.
The emergence of vaccine hesitancy as an increasingly common theme in health care settings demands attention. And it is imperative for public health officials to take a necessary and critical step to flip the script from vaccine hesitancy to vaccine confidence to protect and bolster the public health.
The scientific and medical communities are in overwhelming consensus that vaccines are both effective and safe.
There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines cause life-threatening or disabling diseases and the dissemination of unfounded or debunked theories about the dangers of vaccination pose a great risk to the public health.
Support for the national vaccine program in coordinating a national public health campaign to fight vaccine misinformation is imperative.
It is essential now more than ever that we fund vaccine communication research to strengthen the evidence-based for what works in fighting vaccine hesitance, combating misinformation and encouraging responsible vaccine decision-making.