Statement by LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO
“As the voice of more than nearly 3,000 local health departments across the United States, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) fully believes that vaccines are the best defense we have against infectious diseases, and they play a vital role in protecting the health of communities. Thanks to the development of safe and effective vaccines, immunization has been one of the most successful and safest public health measures available to populations worldwide, with an unparalleled record of disease reduction and prevention.
“Our nation’s scientifically-based vaccine safety system – which is managed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – carefully studies, evaluates, and monitors vaccine safety and efficacy. Yet, despite the success and strong safety record of vaccines, vaccine hesitancy has been increasing. This threatens local public health by producing an environment where vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and pertussis (whooping cough) can spread quickly from person-to-person simply because vaccination rates are low.
“To prevent such disease outbreaks, we must continue to educate and inform the public on the positive effect vaccines have on public health. In the U.S., vaccines will prevent more than 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths among children born between 1994-2013, saving the nation approximately $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs. The evidence-based benefits of vaccines are real, and are critical to bolstering confidence in the safety of vaccination as a widely-used, effective, and appropriate measure to protect the residents and visitors of our nation.”